Can I be honest? I've been a Christian for, well, as long as I can remember. And I've been actively pursuing God and His word for a long time now. But other than the Bible and some Christian biographies, I don't tend to read a lot of Christian-ese books, especially self-help books. So usually, I have no idea who popular authors are, and what they've written, and whether they are scripturally sound or not.
So I honestly had no idea who Gary Thomas, the author of A Lifelong Love, was. I can be totally shallow and say part of me was intrigued by the fact that he was the Second Baptist Church in Houston. See, my friends and I have often talked about how you never see "Second" Baptist churches. They usually take some other name. But there Mr. Thomas was, from the Second Baptist Church of Houston. Love it.
But it was more than that. I felt like God was saying, "You need this book." See, the subtitle is, "What if Marriage is About More Than Just Staying Together?" Because my husband and I, we are committed to our marriage, to staying together, but lately...we've been going through one of those times. Those times that leave you feeling like there MUST be more. Like you've lost something in the translation of kids, and bills, and jobs, and sleepless nights, and the worries of this life. And I really, really want it to be different. And then this review came along...
About the book (Hardcover, 316 pages):
Discover how to live out a sacred marriage. You believe your marriage has eternal purposes. you long for it to reach beyond your home and encourage others. But what does it look like to have a spiritually intentional relationship in the midst of dirty dishes, work deadlines, and car pools? In Sacred Marriage, Gary Thomas showed us that God designed marriage to make us holy more than to make us happy. Now, in A Lifelong Love, Thomas gives us the practical tools to craft our marriages into inspiring relationships that breathe spiritual life to others. Whatever season of marriage you are in, A Lifelong Love gives your the practical help you need to infuse your marriage with a spiritual passion that will not only change you but will change the world around you.
OBM says: I loved this books from the moment I opened it. There is so much wisdom to glean here, and not just for me, but for me to try to communicate to my children as they mature and will one day be looking to marry. Because the book talks about (very appropriate, Godly, within marriage) sex, I wouldn't just hand it to a teen to read, but there are ideas I want to communicate to them like this one:
Divorce rates testify that spouses who were once enthralled with each other--gripped by an infatuation so intense they could scarcely stand to be apart--eventually get bored with each other and now can't bear to live in the same house. Such shifts testify to the reality that none of us is so enthralling that we can keep someone enchanted for five of six decades. No one. Five or six dates? No problem. Five or six years? That's a challenge. Five of six decades? Good luck with that.His premise is that we must individually have a singular focus, and that that focus must be God, our "magnificent obsession." If we are focused on God and loving Him, then as that love deepens, it will deepen our love for our spouse because we will love the presence of God in them. But that's just the first chapter. He provides practical application throughout the rest of the book to make that a reality.
I LOVED this description of God as your Father-in-Law in the book, which also appears as a blog post on the author's blog and I liked this quote.
It's a challenging read whether you are the husband or the wife, because he takes both to task, and as often as I found myself thinking, "I wish my husband was reading this" I also though, "Ouch!" But as convicting as it is, I think it's vital. If you are committed to marriage for the long haul, you are (God willing) going to have decades together. Just co-existing isn't going to cut it, and it isn't the relationship God talks about when He speaks of marriage in the Bible. Marriages take work, and sacrifice, and they take three, with God in the center. And if you want practical advice on how that works, A Lifelong Love is the book you need.
(By the way, I haven't read Sacred Marriage, and I don't think that was a hindrance at all.)
You can read more about the book on A Lifelong Love's website or Gary Thomas's Facebook page.
Want to win a copy of the book? Just enter below! Open to U.S. and Canada residents only.
a Rafflecopter giveaway