Look, a romantic wishlist is a nice thought, but it’s also creepy and unfair. It’s setting up an impossible monstrosity of expectations and you’ll be disappointed for no other reason than you played yourself.
I don’t mean lowering your standards. I mean setting real ones, for actual people who exist. For people who are just people and not a customized Frankenstein creature.
The person you’ll end up with is going to be their own personwith their own hopes, dreams, goals, anxieties, and weird little habits. They’re not a checklist trophy that will meet your every size or quota.
They’re going to be way different and in fact way more interesting than the stitched up hologram made from half-baked movie cliches and choir-preaching memes.
Relationships are about compromise. Not compromising yourself, no. But about two weird people making it work. It’s a wild mix of chemistry, compatibility, non-negotiables, history and trauma, highs and lows, disagreements and pushback and feedback, augmenting goals, and lifelong change.
“Get you a guy/girl who” only works if you see yourself as a main character-savior-hero and you see others as a secondary prop to fulfill your romantic comedy narrative. In that case, you have other issues and you can wait.
And waiting in the meantime is a really good time for growth, for self-discovery, and for becoming the kind of person you never knew you were looking for. Singleness, really, isn’t waiting. It’s being.
Photo from Unsplash
A short video of our wedding at the Rusty Pelican in Tampa, FL. Wedding photos here and engagement photos here. We just had our one year anniversary. I also proposed two years ago on Valentine’s Day. Quite an adventure, it’s been.
Sharing love for a lifetime is going to be difficult: it’s full of a million misunderstandings, shrill melt-downs, crazy eyeballs, and totally ugly cry-face. But that’s the point. It’s only a matter of who you choose to share the worst of you with. I’ve chosen. I’ll keep choosing. So has she.
Perhaps the absolute seminal work on biblical marriage, Gary Thomas’ classic Sacred Marriage is worth a revisit considering both Tim Keller’s The Meaning of Marriage and Mark Driscoll’s Real Marriage have topped the charts. Written before the escalating attacks on marriage today, Gary Thomas’ work is more needed now than he could’ve imagined.
Revisiting this work with my faded highlights and old foodstains, I remember why it had struck such a chord before: because Gary Thomas is a writer. He does not mince words, does not skirt the issue, does not go for the easy answer. Using vivid illustrations with personal stories and sound theology, Thomas writes like a tough mentor but a comforting friend. He’s the coach you can expect to whip you in shape but also have a heart-to-heart with after the game.
Gary Thomas’ grand central thesis is, What if God designed marriage to make us holy more than to make us happy? It’s an incisive, convicting theme that is both biblical and practical. I believe almost all marriage books since (including Tim Keller’s and Mark Driscoll’s) have quoted this in one form or another.
Since marriage is but a shadow of our relationship with God, then marriage itself is our earthly picture of the Gospel for both joy and sanctification. Nothing else like marriage will give us such a clear view of God Himself. And nothing else like knowing God will lead to a fulfilling, lasting, joyful marriage.
Continue reading “Book Review: Sacred Marriage”