I’ve read a lot of dating books. Marriage books. Venus vs Mars kind of books. My Bible College days were filled with feelings of preparation and ‘make myself ready’ kind of ideals. In my early 20’s, a friend’s boyfriend was sitting in my livingroom and happened to notice a book called “Knight in Shining Armour” on my bookshelf. To my chagrin, he teased me for having a book about quitting dating to just date Jesus. He meant well, and so did I. But nothing has put marriage in quite the perspective as the two books I’m mentioning now: The Sacred Marriage by Gary Thomas and For Women Only by Shaunti Feldhahn. Let me tell you why …
The Sacred Marriage (not to be confused or misspelled as The Scared Marriage 😉 )
My mentor recommended this book to me as she had met the author years back and found him to be such an amazing guy. Gary has written other ‘The Sacred…” kind of books, but this is my first steps upon his sacred writings. The premise is that marriage is not designed by God to make us happy, but to make us holy. To learn more about Him, learn His ways and how He really designed us to be in selfless relationship. It is filled with chapter titles such as “Sacred Presence: How marriage can make us more aware of God’s presence” and “Falling Forward: Marriage teaches us to forgive”. The book doesn’t paint some rosy picture of marriage, but places within the reader’s hand a manual of how God has designed marriage and how amazing it can truly be when Christ is the centre of both individuals within the marriage. Here’s one quote that stood out to me from the chapter, Falling Forward:
“This call to fall forward puts the focus on initiating intimacy. We cheapen marriage if we reduce it to nothing more than a negative ‘I agree to never have sex with anyone else.’ Marriage points to a gift of self that goes well beyond sexual fidelity. marry Anne Oliver calls it an ‘interpretation of being’. I like that phrase. Getting married is agreeing to grow together, into each other, to virtually commingle our souls so that we share a unique and rare bond. When we stop doing that, we have committed fraud against our partner; we made a commitment that we’re not willing to live up to.”
Needless to say, it made me even more excited for a future marriage! You can order it here.
For Women Only (also accompanied by a For Men Only, written by her husband Jeff Feldhahn)
This book should be mandatory reading for all 16-year-olds. Just sayin’. It would surely have helped get into the male psyche earlier on and understand why some things do, and don’t, happen the way us girls expect. After thousands of interviews and focus groups conducted with 100% male crowd, even Shaunti herself was taken aback by what she found. What? The #1 thing most men wished their wife or significant other wished they knew was HOW MUCH THEY LOVE HER! Or the way men and women argue differently – women want to get it all out, while men need time to think and process before coming to conclusions. And often because they don’t want to say or do something that would hurt their lady. Or the way men are actually wired to be fed emotionally through sex because it makes them feel like you desire them. Trust me, pre-marriage reading at its best!! Men are created strong and with an inner strength that women don’t have, but they also are formed and strengthened by said woman more than we realize! God truly created us for each other. Here’s a blurb from For Women Only:
“Playing Together is Very Romantic… Men want to go out and do things together with their wives, and they view that as incredibly romantic. Playing with their wives makes them feel close and loving and intimate; it offers an escape from the ordinary, a time to focus on each other – all things that women also want from romance. Here’s a great insight from one husband: ‘Most married men don’t want to abandon their wife to do guy things. They want to do guy things with their wife. They want her to be their playmate. It’s no different from when they were dating. For a guy, a big part of the thrill was doing fun things together. The woman who is having fun with her husband is incredibly attractive. If you see a woman out playing golf with her husband, I guarantee that all the other guys are jealous. Getting out and having fun together falls off in marriage because of various responsibilities, but men still want to play with their wives.’ … Talking to all these men opened m eyes to all the times I didn’t full realize that some activity Jeff suggested would have been romantic to him. In his mind, the activity wasn’t just a fun day of hiking or a chance to relax and walk around a quaint little town nearby – it was his version of a candlelight dinner.”
~ Happy reading!