“What we believe about God determines the quality of our marriage.”
Most couples, after three months of dating, are still getting to know one another. Jim and I, in contrast, said “I do.” A brief engagement meant a condensed version of pre-marital counseling, but what was instilled in us at that time was a perspective of sanctification–of continuing to grow in our understanding of what marriage is supposed to look like and how God wants the gospel to permeate every aspect of how we relate as husband and wife. I don’t think I really understood the importance of that perspective and what it meant until sin made an attempt at pushing Jim and I apart.
What I appreciate about this book is that it focuses on the fact that we are sinners, plain and simple. It’s not about love languages or meeting each others needs; it’s about loving each other by combating sin together. I’m not a perfect being, placed in this marriage for the sake of fixing all the things that are wrong with my husband. I’m a sinner, and unless I recognize the impact my sin has on our relationship and take responsibility for it, I will end up being my husband’s enemy instead of the helper God designed me to be (Gen 2:18). Likewise, if I’m not willing to offer grace and forgiveness when my man messes up, we’ll grow stagnant and bitter instead of moving forward and deeper in our relationship.
Recently, I’ve come to realize that I was leaving the gospel out of our marriage almost entirely. I was operating out of fear instead of love and basing my value in works, thinking that if I did everything right, I would earn my husband’s love. The flip side of that is if I did anything wrong, I felt I forfeited my right to my husband’s love. If that sounds pretty jacked up to you, it’s because it is!
The author, Dave Harvey, does a great job of relating Christ’s work on the cross back to marriage. He talks about sin, grace, forbearance, forgiveness, and the like, weaving together the gospel and sound theology in with helpful stories, examples, and profound excerpts from other Christian scholars. I don’t know about you, but I have to preach the gospel to myself every day, and I STILL forget how repentance, grace, and forgiveness can impact my marriage. If you have similar struggles, than this book is well worth the time and money (it’s about 1/2 price on Kindle).