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Sacred Marriage: What If God Designed Marriage to Make Us Holy More Than to Make Us Happy Paperback – February 4, 2002

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Sacred Marriage: What If God Designed Marriage to Make Us Holy More Than to Make Us Happy + Sacred Marriage Participant's Guide: What If God Designed Marriage to Make Us Holy More Than to Make Us Happy? + Devotions for a Sacred Marriage: A Year of Weekly Devotions for Couples
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Product Details

  • Paperback: 304 pages
  • Publisher: Zondervan; Reprint edition (February 4, 2002)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0310242827
  • ISBN-13: 978-0310242826
  • Product Dimensions: 5.4 x 0.8 x 8.4 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 9.6 ounces (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.7 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (509 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #2,804 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Editorial Reviews

From Publishers Weekly

This is no ordinary self-help book on the Christian family; it focuses far less on how to improve one's marriage than how one's marriage can improve one's Christian faith. Author Thomas even goes so far as to suggest that "God designed marriage to make us holy more than to make us happy," an idea that may shock romantically inclined Americans. Marriage, writes Thomas, is a spiritual discipline because it forces us to confront our own selfishness and sinfulness. Daily sacrifices can teach service, while a demanding, lifelong commitment teaches perseverance. Problems arise when couples expect each other to fill roles (such as unconditional lover) that only God can play in their lives. The book is a refreshing addition to the evangelical canon; it draws not only on the extensive marital analogies found in Scripture but also on Church history and tradition. This makes for a thoughtful and challenging message that is not susceptible to the evangelical mode du jour. Thomas is honest about his own marital ups and downs. Although the book is sometimes hampered by its overwhelmingly male perspective (most of Thomas's examples are taken from men's stories), the various personal anecdotes crystallize the idea of marriage as a context for spiritual growth. (Feb.)
Copyright 2000 Reed Business Information, Inc. --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.

From the Back Cover

Your marriage is more than a sacred covenant with another person. It is a spiritual discipline designed to help you know God better, trust him more fully, and love him more deeply.

Scores of books have been written that offer guidance for building the marriage of your dreams. But what if God’s primary intent for your marriage isn’t to make you happy . . . but holy? And what if your relationship isn’t as much about you and your spouse as it is about you and God?

Everything about your marriage--everything--is filled with prophetic potential, with the capacity for discovering and revealing Christ’s character. The respect you accord your partner; the forgiveness you humbly seek and graciously extend; the ecstasy, awe, and sheer fun of lovemaking; the history you and your spouse build with one another--in these and other facets of your marriage, Sacred Marriage uncovers the mystery of God’s overarching purpose.

This book may very well alter profoundly the contours of your marriage. It will most certainly change you. Because whether it is delightful or difficult, your marriage can become a doorway to a closer walk with God, and to a spiritual integrity that, like salt, seasons the world around you with the savor of Christ.

Customer Reviews

This book will transform your perspective on marriage.
Bryan Geary
Great book. a lot of really understandable, practical, biblical things to apply to marriage.
J. Higgs
I highly recommend this married couples and singles who desire marriage.

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

239 of 245 people found the following review helpful By Chad Oberholtzer on March 24, 2006
Format: Paperback
Admittedly, I haven't read every marriage book ever written, so the title of this review is probably overstating the case. However, I have read a number of marriage books (including some more popular ones like "The Five Love Languages" and "Fit To Be Tied," which are also solid and worth reading), and this is the cream of the crop.

The overarching theme of the book is explicated clearly in its subtitle, that marriage is primarily a means of God drawing us to holiness rather than an instrument used to bring about our own happiness. This concept seems to cast a somewhat melancholy vision for marriage as a medium for unhappy relationships, and many of the other folks with whom we read the book were initially disheartened by that premise. However, after giving Thomas some time to flesh out this idea, they came around to appreciate the heart of his message.

What I love most about "Sacred Marriage" is the concept of marriage as a spiritual discipline. Just like Richard Foster in "Celebration of Discipline" is able to turn the most traditional spiritual disciplines like fasting and study into something desirable and appealing, Thomas casts a vision of marriage that just draws me to an almost feverish pitch of anticipation. From Thomas' perspective, God can and will (if I am open to His work) use my marriage as one of the primary means of drawing me to Himself. And that has nothing to do with the circumstances of my marriage at any given time or the particular ways that my wife treats me. When we open ourselves to this new perspective, our marriages have the opportunity to be totally transformational. What an exciting prospect!!!
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131 of 139 people found the following review helpful By Lisa W on June 26, 2003
Format: Paperback
This book changed my life and literally saved my marriage. I had divorce papers on my desk filled out and ready to take to the courthouse, then this book fell in my lap. Gary is truly a God send. Honestly, I thought at first that his wife must have written the book and signed his name to it because I have NEVER read a book by a man that had such insight about women. There is not enough space in this little box to describe how this book has changed my life and the way I view marriage completely. It should be REQUIRED READING for any man who dares to utter the words "Will you marry me?" Incredible, Awesome, Fantastic book. For me it was sent straight from from the throne of God. I knew this when I opened to the 3rd page and cried my eyes out. It said "For Lisa" I can't rave enough about this book. Get it! Get copies for all of your family and friends. Hand it out on street corners. The divorce rate in this country will be cut in half!! It's AWESOME!! A "must read" for all married Christians. Thank you Gary and thank you God for making Gary.
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108 of 115 people found the following review helpful By Robert W. Kellemen on November 7, 2005
Format: Paperback
God made marriage to make us holy, not to make us happy. In his compelling style, Gary Thomas consistently communicates that one marriage-altering message.

As a marriage counselor, seminary professor, and writer of books on the spiritual life, I find far too many Christian books on marriage shallow, surface, and simple. Their solution-focused answers to self-centered questions often do more harm than good as they create more self-sufficient, self-centered sinners.

"Sacred Marriage" does a 180, putting the sacredness back in marriage. God intended marital love to mirror the love relationship between Christ and the Church. Further, God intends our marriages to be a spiritual discipline of spiritual friendship encouraging one another toward communion with Christ and conformity to Christ.

In the able hands and from the artful pen of Thomas, couples learn the most fulfilling message about marriage--together you have the capacity for sacredness, for a God-honoring, other-empowering, self-sacrificing purpose that brings joy now and impact forever.

Reviewer: Bob Kellemen, Ph.D., is the author of "Soul Physicians," "Spiritual Friends," and "Beyond the Suffering: Embracing the Legacy of African American Soul Care and Spiritual Direction."
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49 of 53 people found the following review helpful By Monty Rainey VINE VOICE on August 26, 2006
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
I cannot begin to praise this book by Gary Thomas enough. As a minister, I officiate a lot of weddings and I can say without hesitation that I will strongly recommend this book to every couple I have contact with. SACRED MARRIEGE poses the question, "What if God designed marriage to make us Holy more than to make us happy?" Thomas then goes on to deftly and succinctly illustrate how marriage is intended to take us to levels of spirituality most people will never conceive of.

Thomas breaks down many of the societal enigmas placed upon marriage. For example, throughout history, various religious doctrines have driven a massive and impenetrable wedge between spirituality and sexuality. Abstinence is believed by many, still today, to be the only true way to achieve maximum spirituality with God. Thomas accurately and completely destroys such apostasy by illustrating how marital sexuality can and should in fact, draw both partners deeper into their relationship with God.

This book is also laden with practical examples that will make all husbands and wives ask simple questions that will immediately influence how they treat or react to their spouses. For example, in a section on cultivating gratitude, Thomas states, "I never eat at somebody's house without thanking them for providing a meal; why should I not give my wife the same thanks I'd give someone else?" A simple question which should provide a profound and immediate self-examination.

There is also an adequate Notes section and also a very interesting section of questions for discussion and reflection. I believe this section, in and of itself, would make this a fantastic guide for young couples to help set the direction of their marriage and help initiate a habitual and constant inclusion of God in the marriage.
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More About the Author

Gary Thomas is a bestselling author and international speaker whose ministry brings people closer to Christ and closer to others. He unites the study of Scripture, church history, and the Christian classics to foster spiritual growth and deeper relationships. Gary's unique message will help you:

* Embrace the unique way that you interact with God.
* Partner in the spiritual growth and character formation of your spouse.
* Build a closer, grace-based family.
* Enjoy God with a new sense of freedom and delight.

Find out more at: