When Sinners Say I Do

My daughter and I watched a movie this week that ended with those famous fairy tale words “and they lived happily ever after.” I felt compelled to ask her, “Do you think they really lived happily ever after? Do you think they ever fought with each other? Do you think the princess ever sinned?” Cinderella-type stories always end at the wedding. We are not given the opportunity to find out how the princess and the prince relate when it comes to toothpaste tubes and dirty socks. Recently I finished reading a book that starts where Cinderella left off. When Sinners Say I Do: Discovering the Power of the Gospel for Marriage is an excellent new marriage resource by Dave Harvey, pastor of Covenant Fellowship Church in Glen Mills, PA. In this book, the author exposes the root problem in most marital conflict–that each spouse is still a sinner. In reality, this book is not simply about marriage; it’s about relationships between any two fundamentally flawed people. In marriage, as in any earthly relationship, it is the realization of the horrific and deadly nature of our sin that allows us to experience the glory God’s grace and power to change. Dave Harvey spends the first half of this book unpacking the baggage that we carry into marriage, usually revealed quickly, often even on the honeymoon. Contrary to what many current marriage books propose, the “baggage” that we carry into marriage is not love tank needing to be filled, but a sinful nature unable to see beyond our own selves, much less capable of meeting an other’s emotional “needs”. He teaches spouses to inspect themselves, suspect themselves, and recognize the self-righteousness that allows us to act as prosecutor, judge, and jury. Most of us, as marriage partners are incredibly good at justifying our actions and attitudes, but this focus on sin is the most important part of the book because, as Harvey notes, “when sin becomes bitter, marriage becomes sweet.” The second half of the book is God’s refreshing answer to our dilemma. Sweet marriage is possible because of the gospel, because of mercy, because of forgiveness. When Sinners Say I Do is chock-full of great quotes and illustrations. I’ll share a few here in the next few days.
– Amy Hatfield

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