Today is Don’s and my 37th anniversary. Don likes to say we’ve been happily married for 20 years, and that’s not bad out of 37. <grin> While he’s being funny, he’s also being honest. Ours has not been an easy marriage. We’ve been through many years of counseling with pastors, friends, and professional counselors. To say we’ve learned a lot is a major understatement. And quite a bit of it has helped us. But you know what helped us most?
Yup, a book on marriage. Sacred Marriage, by Gary L. Thomas, to be exact. But while the title is strong, it was the front sales copy, which I read through the store window as I was walking by, that grabbed me so powerfully that I stopped in my tracks and went into the store to buy the book: “What if marriage is more about making you holy than making you happy?” Oh, how I needed that truth!
Friends, we all know there are a gajillion books out there. And we all know that many of them are on the same topic we happen to be writing on. I’ve heard people say things like the title of this blog time and time again. Who needs another ______?” Go ahead, fill in the blank with whatever kind of book you’re writing. Because I’m here to tell you, someone needs it. I shudder to think of Gary L. Thomas filling in the blank with “marriage book,” taking it to heart, and never writing or pursuing the publication of Sacred Marriage. Because I needed that book. Don needed it, too. I can’t even imagine where he and I would be without the truths we read in “another book on marriage.”
If God has given you a truth to share, then share it. Write it. Pursue His purpose for it. Maybe it’s publication. Maybe it’s not. But I promise you, if God has asked you to share a truth, there is someone out there who needs it. And when they read that truth and it speaks to their spirit and heart, they will thank you. Just as I’m going to thank the man who shared the truths my husband and I so desperately needed.
Thank you, Gary Thomas, from the bottom of my heart, for sharing the truths God asked you to share about marriage. You changed my life and my marriage. I’m more grateful than I can ever say.
Now, last but not least, just for your Christmas pleasure, here’s a song video to inspire and uplift you as you prepare to celebrate the birthday of the King:
Happy Anniversary, Karen and Don! That’s a wonderfully long time, whether all the memories are happy. I’ve been with my wife 23 + years and I’ve learned to appreciate every one of them when I almost lost her to cancer this year. Blessings!
Happy Anniversary and Merry Christmas!
John Desaulniers, Jr
I jokingly tell people that I think Ecclesiastes 12:12 is a precious promise, that the writing of books is endless. But it is exactly for the reason you describe in this post. A slightly different nuance, different perspective, an added consideration, all of those can take a message that we have heard before and make it profound and pointed and positive in a way that transforms our lives. Thanks, Karen, for the reminder.
I had the amazing opportunity to meet Gary Thomas last month, and sit under his teaching for a weekend. I LOVE that his teachings are all grounded in scripture!
My husband and I had a very challenging marriage as well, and the same truth is what saved us; it’s not about our happiness as much as our journey towards holiness. I am thankful for those teachings in a few different books.
Also, John, your auto correct on Ecclesiastes has me laughing myself out of my seat at work! It’s hilarious! 😀
Don and Karen, happy anniversary! I’ve had my life changed by a book someone felt the urge to write, and I’ve also had the wonderful, humbling experience of a reader calling me to tell me something I wrote saved her marriage. It’s a thrill to know God has used you. I’m glad you gave the author credit, although we don’t really need that. But it does give us new zeal.
Sheri Dean Parmelee
Happy anniversary, Karen! Thanks for all the wisdom you impact to us in each blog. and for being intelligent enough to know when you and your hubby needed help! Merry Christmas!
We just celebrated our 40th on the 18th of this month and my husband (who is NOT a romantic) walked in carrying a breathtaking arrangement of 40 roses. They were artistically arranged by color from pale pinks to reds to reflect the changing of time. We looked at on another and thought the same thing, “Should we take out three?” I asked the question. He said no. To take out three from the middle would have ruined the beauty of the arrangement. To have taken the three broken years of our marriage would have reduced the depth of caring, the value of our relationship we now have.
Our daughter later that day brought us a beautiful box full of notes she had been collecting from friends we have known over the past forty years. Many, many mentioned those three broken years…how the power of God was shown in the rebuilding of our relationship. I blubbered through the letters from our children. Each one thanked us for the example set in working through hard times. Yes, even working through adultery and unfaithfulness.
It made us find our album of pictures taken during our renewel. We thanked our God with humble hearts. We never knew so many were touched by one marriage held together by God’s grace.
We too found books which helped us. “His Needs, Her Needs” was a practical book of solid principles. Gary Smalley’s books were dog-eared by use. Joe Beam’s ‘Seeing the Unseen” has been been read and recommended by us for years.
I have a first draft of a book I have written on simple theology. A manuscript of practical ways to live out Jesus’ teachings when life hits you in the face. Much of the references come from those three broken years. I have been discouraged to pick the work back up and edit and revise, for WHO needs another book on simple theology. Who needs to hear another story of a broken childhood and marriage which God made victorious.
Thank you Karen. Maybe just one person needs to hear it. Maybe just one.
Wendy L Macdonald
Happy anniversary to you both, dear Karen. I got goosebumps as I read this post because I bought that book for a relative when he got married years ago. He’s a pastor, and he thanked me and told me it’s an excellent book (I suspect he’s told many couples about it.).
The game-changer marriage book my husband and I read was: Love & Respect by Emerson Eggerichs. I can’t recommend this book highly enough. I’ve bought it for friends too; they’ve gone on to buy it for others. It grew our marriage from good some-of-the-time to great most-of-the-time—seriously I should work for them. 🙂 I’ve even blogged about this book. I love to write about marriage because I know miracles of the heart happen when God’s invited into a relationship.
Christmas Blessings ~ Wendy
Thanks for the wishes, everyone. And for sharing your own life-changing books. It proves my point that God uses different voices to reach people. Wonderful!
Have a blessed Christmas.
Hi, Karen! How I wish I had known about that book before my daughter’s divorce. Thanks for the video, but I would love one of you and your dad singing. I’m sure you must still have some. You were so wonderful together.
Thank you for that, Karen.
And Haooy Anniversary.
I concur!! My husband and I have been married for 7 1/2 years all of which has been great because we adore each other, but terribly difficult. We just finished reading this book in a small group through our church, and it has been exactly what we needed – a game changer for sure! I believe everyone should read it whether they are married or single. Another great one that has pulled us through some challenging times is Love and War by John and Stasi Eldredge. We read it twice and will read it again soon. Currently we are being moved by Unlocking the Power of Family by Daniel Brown (no, not Dan Brown). It is equally helpful. Thanks for sharing!
Congratulations on your anniversary, and on being wise enough and teachable enough to go for help when you and your husband needed it.
Happy Anniversary, and Merry Christmas!
Damon J. Gray
Gary is a good man. He lives just a few miles from me in Bellingham, WA.
I commonly give two copies of Sacred Marriage as wedding gifts to young couples, along with two differently colored highlighters. Each person reads and highlights their own copy of the book, and when they are done, they trade books and read it a second time, noting what the other highlighted as striking, or important.
Another good one from Gary for marriage is Sacred Influence – How God Uses Wives to Shape the Souls of Their Husbands.
And just from a general spiritual growth perspective, his book Sacred Pathways is a near-inspired work.