Do you ever think about what makes your marriage a “Christian” marriage? Is it the fact that we go to church, pray, or read our Bible together with our spouse? Is it because of the couples retreats we’ve been to or that, as husbands, we’re trying to lead our families, or, as wives, you’re trying to submit to your husband’s leadership? Could a couple still do all of those things and yet fail to have a truly “Christian” marriage?
A theme that resounds through Dave Harvey’s new book on marriage, When Sinner Say “I Do”, is that the heart of a truly “Christian” marriage is found in its commitment to the Gospel. A marriage built on the foundation of the Gospel of Jesus Christ will be a “Christian” marriage. A relationship in which the Gospel is worked out and worked through is a relationship that manifests and embraces Christ. A marriage like that is a marriage that is truly “Christ-ian,” one that reveals and glorifies Him.
But what does it look like to have a marriage saturated with the Gospel? Does that mean you exchange tracts instead of greeting cards on Valentines Day? Does it mean romantic evenings at Billy Graham Crusades or taking your wife out for a leisurely evening of door-to-door witnessing?
As enticing as that all sounds, Harvey’s book paints a far different (and more powerful) picture of a Gospel saturated marriage. A marriage that clings to the Gospel is a relationship in which sin is acknowledged, mercy and forgiveness are embraced, and Christ’s work on the Cross becomes the defining center for all of a couple’s actions and attitudes. And this beautiful picture is unfolded and dissected in the pages of When Sinners Say “I Do”.
In its opening salvo, this book veers off the course traveled by so many marriage books you might find at the Christian book store and it really dives into the heart of the issue. Harvey lays his foundation with this phrase: “What we believe about God determines the quality of our marriage.” When you really think about it, that statement is as profound as it is simple. Too many of us think that the key to a great marriage is having our needs met or clearly understanding our roles. When Sinners Say “I Do” explains that what really unlocks things between a husband and wife is a right view of God, one that confesses that “I am the worst sinner I know,” understands that I daily experience overwhelming grace from God, and embraces my marriage relationship as a wonderful opportunity for me to show to another the mercy and forgiveness that God has shown to me.
Let me give you an example of what this looks like. Read the rest of this entry »