Monday, February 15, 2010
A Self Centered Marriage
I started reading this book a few weeks back called Sacred Marriage by Gary Thomas. It's different than any marriage book I've ever read. Most of them have been formulaic or prescriptive and dealt more with the "5 Ways to be a good husband" or "Here are the 3 things that every good couple should do".
I have an amazing wife, who teaches me constantly about serving others and unconditional love and patience. She's the kind of wife who makes me want to be a better husband, to love her more and serve her more every day. My selfishness tends to get in the way.
This book looks at marriage very differently than the other books I've read, and for some reason, it's connecting with me at a much deeper level. . When I'm honest with myself, there are a lot of times that I look at marriage in terms of my happiness. I can be a pretty self-centered person, focusing a lot on my happiness and what I deserve. There are times where I try and serve my wife out of just pure love, but there are at least as many times that it's about me, and a balance of trade. I'm sure this is a real surprise to those who know me.
This book looks at the concept of marriage as God has laid it out in the bible. It goes from the 'What if marriage is less about my happiness, and more about my redemption and transformation?" It looks at marriage as a spiritual discipline, designed to help you know God and love God and others more. I gotta admit, reading those words, this doesn't sound that compelling. Frankly, it sounds pretty counter-intuitive. It makes marriage seem like a drab institution, almost like a work-out that we should resign to being difficult and painful, but something you have to suck it up for if you want to get in shape. The author does a good job making the discipline seem inviting instead of dry, dull and painful.
I'm surprised that this book is connecting with me. There's something refreshing and challenging in this book, I sense the potential for a real core, paradigm shift for me instead of just applying a new formula, or 3 new tips and techniques. I see the fundamental potential to shift how my world out of a self-centered orbit and into one that looks at my marriage differently, in a way that I look at other spiritual disciplines and even look at my running. I'm still fleshing these ideas out in my own head, so this probably seems like a lot of rambling.