~ I recieved this book for the purpose of writing this review. All opinions of A Lifelong Love by Gary Thomas, are my own!
What if God created marriage to make us holy more than to make us happy?
This is the question Gary Thomas posed Sacred Marriage, which was the first of his books I ever read. I started reading Sacred Marriage before my divorce, and it changed a lot of the ways I looked at marriage. After the divorce I read it again, and realized so many of the attitudes I had about our marriage needed to be addressed. When I got the opportunity to review his newest book A Lifelong Love, after re-marrying my ex-husband, I was pretty excited. The question Gary poses with this book really touched me on a personal level.
What if marriage is about more than just staying together?
While my husband and I didn't re-marry "just to stay together", I could tell that this book would dig deeper into some of the issues married couples face in regards to being happy together. Thankfully, John and I are happier than we have ever been, but the last thing I want to do, is slip back into the old habits and attitudes that plagued our marriage the first time around.
I could honestly do an entire series of blog posts on this book because there are so many things I would like to share, but for the sake of this review, I'm going to touch on a few of my favorite "ah ha" moments of A Lifelong Love by Gary Thomas.
* My heavenly Father-In-Law: In chapter 2 Gary writes about how God is our Father, which I am well aware of, but then he goes on to talk about God as our heavenly father-in-law, which is a way I have never seen God before. It is such a good illustration though, and it reminds me that God is also my husband's Father, and at the end of my life I am going to have to stand before him and consider all of the ways I spoke to, loved, and treated, his son! That was an eye opening thought for me. I am thankful for the grace of God through Jesus, but this is a good reminder that God does care deeply about how I cared for his son!
*Living for another world: I just want to take a snippet from the book because I can't do this justice on my own.
Do we, as we are called to do, live this life preparing for the new heavens, and the new earth (Rev. 21:1)? Or do we insist, in marriage and in all relationships, that God make everything right, this week, this month, or at least this year? If we are kind in our marriages, we expect to eat the fruit of our kindness withing minutes. We have little sense of patient endurance, loving without earthly reward while waiting for God to set all things right in the end. We want a "new husband" this weekend! We want a "new wife" in one sermon! We've put in the effort - shouldn't those efforts be rewarded?
Well, yes - but not necessarily on this earth.
Yep, that hit me where it hurts. I want a soft answer to turn away wrath immediately, but what if it takes many soft answers and I don't see my reward until Heaven? Would it still be worth it?
So those are just two things from the book that really impacted me. I pray that I will continue to grow into a more godly wife with every passing season, and books like A Lifelong Love are resources that I enjoy investing my time and money into.
You can be happy in your marriage, but your happiness and joy may not come the way you expect, or even when you will expect. The one thing I know, is that we hope in what is unseen, and God promises to be faithful. If our goal in marriage is focused on loving and serving God, the one who created marriage, we will be rewarded!
You can learn more about A Lifelong Love by Gary Thomas here: