Rick and I received the book, “When Sinners Say “I do,” by Dave Harvey at a marriage retreat a few months ago. The title alone gives me confidence this book will be very valuable to us as it acknowledges that marriage is the union of two equally flawed individuals, unable to successfully charter marriage on their own. Since then, it has been collecting dust in our kitchen…or was until last week when we decided to spend some quality time together after dinner reading it. Reading through the first chapter got me thinking I could do a once a week blog post on what we’ve read so far. Not only for my benefit but for the benefit of any interested person whether married, desiring marriage in the future or in the midst of seeing a loved one encountering marital difficulties, etc.
This week, I thought I’d simply summarize the preface of the book. There Harvey seeks to show how marriage is the true magnifier of our individual sins…how after 25 years of marriage, he has realized time and time again that he is (as we all are) the chief of sinners. He even admits, “But I can vouch that the more you get to know me, the more you’ll admire my wife.”
He then reminds the reader that acknowledging our sinfulness within marriage should not be a depressing thought. It should rather be the means to more fully appreciate the gospel- Christ’s saving work for us on the cross to redeem us while we were yet sinners- and a pathway to freedom from pursuing self-reliance. Quoting a great pastor’s words, Harvey writes, “Till sin be bitter, Christ will not be sweet.”
I can’t wait to see what Rick and I will glean from this book. Already we have been convicted we must always first see our own sinful nature before being tempted to continually point out that of the other…so easy to do. On one hand, reading a marriage book scares me a little as it is acknowledging that our marriage is not perfect and we need guidance from outside ourselves. But then, as I read what Harvey has to say, I realize this just makes sense and the earlier Rick and I realize we both bring much sin to the table and do not have it all together, the better. No matter what our stage or place in life, God wants us to always be seeking his help with a continual thirst for more. Within marriage, this is no less vital a practice!
“Your marriage can be built or rebuilt upon a solid and enduring foundation. But we must start where the gospel starts; there lies the hope for sinners who say “I do.”