I started thinking more about the concept of a sacred marriage today as I was reading an article in this week’s Newsweek by Lisa Miller:
No one denies that conservative Christians have a marriage problem, a dizzying gap between their articulated ideals and their success in achieving them. According to the Pew Forum, evangelicals are more likely to be divorced than Roman Catholics, Mormons, the Eastern Orthodox, Muslims, Jews, Hindus, and atheists. Of course, every person who utters “till death do us part” and then separates is, in a sense, conceding defeat. But when evangelicals are leading the charge in the marriage movement (and now, the anti-gay-marriage movement) arguing that sacred unions between one man and one woman are good for society because they’re good for children, one would hope that they’d have worked out the kinks a little better than the rest of us.
I’m embarrassed by the spiritual cancer in my faith community and the damage it does to the reputation of our Savior and the power of the Gospel. Maybe more of us who identify ourselves as Christians need a tectonic shift in the way we look at marriage. Maybe we need to reclaim the sacredness of our own marriages. Among my favorite authors is Gary Thomas. I have found his writing to be both clear and direct. He frequently draws his readers into new territory by challenging them to view various aspects of life – like marriage – through different lenses. In his classic book on marriage titled “Sacred Marriage” he introduces a new a startling new standard for measuring marital success and satisfaction. The subtitle to his book asks: “What if God designed marriage not so much for our happiness as for our holiness?” So how about it? What if we measured marital satisfaction on a scale of how much being married contributes to our walking closer to Jesus than by how happy my husband or wife makes me? I mean, isn’t that pretty selfish of us? To expect our spouses to make us happy? Can they really deliver on that demand? Can you?