This week I had the privilege of interviewing Gary Thomas, the author of several books, including, Sacred Marriage, Sacred Parenting, and others. My wife and I have been personally blessed by Gary’s work and we have used them in our ministry.
I asked Gary about communicating a biblical model of marriage in a culture that has largely rejected it:
How can church leaders communicate that model of marriage in a winsome way?
First, of course, we need to “communicate it” through our lives. The consequences of pastoral failure in marriage can be severe; I’ve seen entire youth groups turn away from or at least grown significantly colder toward God as a result of a pastor’s fall.
Second, we have to show the joys of spiritual partnership. Selfishness gets boring, so trying to build marriages on self-centered ends wont work; its a short-term fix.Creating a sense of spiritual purpose, partnership, and connecting marriage more closely to worship should become a part of who we are and what we do before its something we say and talk about. But once we are living it out, let’s be bold. I tell young people, “How does Hugh Heffner know that sleeping with hundreds of women is more fulfilling than sleeping with one woman thousands of times? He’s never done it Gods way and doesn’t know what he’s talking about! Instead, he gets in a pathetic, selfish relationship with a woman who could be his great-granddaughter, and I’m so supposed to listen to him about the pleasures of eros? No thank you!”
I think young people respect it when we push back and say that, in the end, Gods way is the best way. We don’t have to be ashamed, because Gods way really IS the best way! Sadly, many Christians DO punt on their long-term sexual intimacy in marriage, and it shows. We need to cultivate relationships of worship and delight so that we can speak boldly out of worship and delight.