This post on Sacred Marriage: Building Perseverance was written by Jeffrey Chen, who is pursuing a Masters degree in Marriage and Family Therapy at Fuller Theological Seminary. Jeffrey has a passion for sharing God’s love with those around him. He blogs at The Wayvy Life.
Welcome to Week 8 of our series on “Sacred Marriage” by Gary Thomas. This week’s chapter (chapter eight) is titled “Sacred History: Building the Spiritual Discipline of Perseverance.” As I have talked about in previous posts, infatuation fades away in relationships. In this chapter, Thomas focuses on building what he calls a “sacred history” with your spouse, by which he means you have the opportunity to create a relationship that mirrors God’s love for His people. Mainly, through years of marriage, we can learn to persevere in our commitment to our husband or wife just as God perseveres in His love for us.
While in an ideal world, marriages and relationships would be easy and filled with constant joy, that is obviously not the case. As with pretty much anything in life, marriage is filled with highs, but also lows. There will be many great times and memories full of excitement and laughter, but there will also be times of boredom and dullness. There will be times when we become tired of routines, cold towards our partners, and angry or upset at each other and ourselves. These seasons will not be fun, but Thomas believes it is during these moments that we can grow in our understanding of God’s love for us. Because God never stops loving us or choosing us no matter how many times we yell at Him, become silent towards Him, or turn our back on Him.
We have one of two choices in marriage. We can run away when it gets hard, or we can choose to stay through the good times and the bad times over and over again. Thomas believes that in order to develop intimacy with our partner and model the character of God, we must do the latter. He points to research that says it can take from nine to fourteen years for a couple to “create and form its being.”
This is because it takes time for a fancy term called neuroplasticity to happen, which is basically the idea that our brain adjusts to our experiences, choices, and actions. In the context of marriage, it takes time for our brain to shift away from identity as a single individual to a half of a couple – to go from “me” to “we.” It is through this process that a deep intimacy develops between a couple, as two become…