This was just one of those books where I had my toes danced on... on almost every page. But what should I have expected from a book whose subtitle is: "What if God designed marriage to make us holy more than to make us happy?"
Rich in challenge and exhortation, it is not an easy read, but certainly worth the effort. Here are just a few quotes from the book that have either challenged, convicted, or encouraged (or done all three at the same time) me in some way.
"The key question is this: Will we approach marriage from a God-centered view or a man-centered view, as we will maintain our marriage as long as our earthly comforts, desires and expectations are met. In a God-centered view, we preserve our marriage because it brings glory to God and points a sinful world to a reconciling Creator." ~ CJ Mahaney (p. 32) "The first purpose in marriage... is to please God. The challenge, of course, is that it is utterly selfless living; rather than asking 'What will make me happy?' we are told that we must ask, 'What will make God happy?' And just in case we don't grasp it immediately, Paul underscores it...: 'Those who live should no longer live for themselves but for him who died for them and was raised again.'" (Gary Thomas, p. 33) "Honor not expressed is not honor." (Betsy and Gary Ricucci, p. 63) "When my respect slips into contempt, it is because I'm weak, not because my [spouse] is failing. If I were really mature, I would have the same compassion for his/her weaknesses as Christ does. Respect is a spiritual discipline, an obligation I owe my [spouse.] (Gary Thomas, p. 65) "...reining in of my ambition is so very valuable spiritually. The truth is, God's kingdom can move forward without a single one of us. Our perceptions of indispensability are usually based more on our arrogance than on our desire to be faithful. Faithful participation in God's kingdom invites and encourages others as we serve; it doesn't diminish them. Biblical truth finds its basis in community and in serving the community -- and this community starts with teh marital relationship." (Gary Thomas, p. 77) "The tongue can be cruel in two ways: by speaking evil, or by refraining from speaking good. We need to recognize the offensiveness of pervasive silence within marriage." (Gary Thomas, p. 233) "It is spiritual fraud to enter marriage and then to live like a single man or woman." (Gary Thomas, p. 250) "'God does not regard his servants according to the dignity of the office they exercise,'(Francis de Sales) but according to the faithfulness with which they exercise it." (Gary Thomas, p.250) "...the multiplicity of these [daily] concerns actually feeds rather than empties our spiritual growth when we approach them with an attitude of continually dying to ourselves and rising to inner growth." (Gary Thomas, p. 251) "If we view the marriage as an opportunity to excel in love, it doesn't matter how difficult the person is whom we are called to love; it doesn't matter even whether that love is ever returned. We can still excel at love. We can say 'Like it or not, I'm going to love you like nobody ever has.' This mirrors Christ's own love, a love without compare, a love that is infinitely deeper than any human love we could ever know. It is a love pregnant with the opportunity for spirtual birth and rebirth." (Gary Thomas, p. 266)