Sacred Marriage: What If God Designed Marriage to Make Us Holy More Than to Make Us Happy? By Gary Thomas

     As a , I recommend 4 books to couples regarding marriage.  1) Bible;  2) ;  3); and 4) (and the – I start assigning these on session one), so when one of the publishers I read for offered this revised edition, I was eager to jump on it!

     What is the book about?  I have never said this in a review, but I think this one warrants it.  Please read the title/subtitle one more time.  There is no hidden meaning nor 12-step program in this work by Gary Thomas and the revised edition of Sacred Marriage takes into account the ways men’s and women’s roles have expanded since the book was first written. It has been streamlined to be a faster read without losing the depth that so many readers have valued.  On he describes his work:

-Turn marital struggles into spiritual and personal appreciation.
-Love your spouse with a stronger sense of purpose.
-Partner in the spiritual growth and character formation of your spouse.
-Transform a “tired” marriage into a relationship filled with awe and respect.

Why is this Biblical Counselor’s ‘go-to’ book on marriage?  Because we live in a world of 10-steps to a better marriage, seminars, what’s happening next, 140-Characters and LGBT.  Traditional marriage is under attack and has been for many years.  If you are not aware of this, even my habit of not being up on the news and living under a rock makes it obvious, something is amiss with marriage in our society.  As I reflect on my 18-year anniversary with Connie, I agree that it has not been easy and more often than not, I was dragging Connie along in our life for my selfishness and self-righteousness, but looking back, and as I wrote on her FB page yesterday, “thank you that our marriage points to becoming the people God created us to be, and doing the work God has given us to do. I love you!”  It is because of books/teaching like this that Connie and I are celebrating 18 years of marriage especially in a world where celebrating traditional marriage is no longer celebrated.  As I write this, I checked Facebook and over 90 folks wished us a Happy Anniversary… (wrong again – lol).

     As I mentioned, this book was interesting, and having the electronic copy for preview allowed me to share quotes on social media the entire time I was readying.  I generated a lot of ‘likes’ and ‘shares’ because of the content and as usual, Gary does not disappoint in this revision.   Re-reading this revision challenged, inspired, and enlightened me all over again regarding my marriage.  I was reminded that I don’t listen well, serve well, nor love well in many areas and still have much to work on.  Not that Connie and I were/are having problems, but as I prescribe to counselees, doing something for your marriage once a year (this book was my personal one) and this review was refreshing and a blessing. 

    If you are not familiar with Gary’s writing, he is a thinker (check out ) and the accompanying for Sacred Marriage helps with such questions as: 

“I have discovered . . .that my satisfaction or dissatisfaction with my marriage has far
more to do with my relationship to God than it does with my relationship to [my wife]?”  Do you agree with Gary and how so?

The information was presented in a cohesive, yet appealing manner and each chapter was streamlined and the topics were organized for further revisiting and quick access.  As usual, Gary successfully conveys Biblical truth and the work  (as is all of his works) are saturated with scripture and historical quotes from pinnacle Christians.  If you are looking for a reboot that does not disappoint (some of you already told me – yeah I already read that), I would enthusiastically recommend you pick up a copy (use the links above for quick access to them) of this revised work and start reading AGAIN.  Connie and I agree that most of the marriages we know could benefit from re-reading this (if you have already read it first time around) or reading it the first time.  It is guaranteed to remind you, as the title suggests, that God designed marriage to make you Holy and how this is true happiness.

Thank you Connie Iannelli-Smith for being the gift God provided and for continuing to remind me of His grace through our walk together in this life.  I am thankful for you and love you dearly.  You are my best friend.


Disclosure of Material Connection: I received this book free from the publisher through the   book review bloggers program. I was not required to write a positive review. The opinions I have expressed are my own. I am disclosing this in accordance with the Federal Trade Commission’s 16 CFR, Part 255: “Guides Concerning the Use of Endorsements and Testimonials in Advertising.”