*** i really loved this book on relationships – esp for young adults – some very challenging passages and chapters! 


Matthew 6:33 doesn’t have an escape clause.  eg:  seek first the kingdom of God and His righteousness, except when you’re choosing someone to marry.  in that case, you should follow your emotions, insist on a thrilling romantic attraction and overall relational compatibility that makes the relationship fun, and then all these things will be added to you.

let me ask you: do you trust Jesus?  do you believe that He truly has your best interests at heart, that He would never mislead you – that if you follow His advice, you’re setting yourself up for the best, most meaningful, and most fulfilling life imaginable?  can you count of Him knowing what He’s talking about?  Do you think its possible that the second most important decision you’ll ever make – who you marry – should be based on Jesus’ fundamental agenda for our lives: seeking first the Kingdom of God and His righteousness?  do you believe every significant decision we make should be run through this grid?

i want to make a promise to you: if you will seek first God’s kingdom and His righteousness and let that agenda drive your decision regarding whom you choose to marry and refuse to compromise on that, you will set yourself up for a much more fulfilling, spiritually enriching and overall more satisfying marriage.  The degree on which you compromise on this verse is the degree to which you put your future satisfaction in jeopardy and open with the door to great frustration and even regret.

Gary Thomas // The Sacred Search page 22




most people marry on the basis of perceived happiness, but few remain very happy for very long.  and yet, every year, hundreds of thousands of couples think they can be different, so they base their decision on the same premise: we “feel” something special, we seem to be happy together, we’re generally compatible, so lets get married.

Gary Thomas // The Sacred Search page 24


Why do you think the same women who, as girlfriends, often defended their boyfriends, now, as wives, often complain about the same men who have bcome their husbands?  what’s going on here? 

is it realistic to ask people to consider a person’s character above intense romantic feelings?  how does one lern to do this?

compare and contrast what the world typically values in romantic relationships and what the bible suggests makes up true and lasting love.

// page 53


if someone truly believes that God is calling them to marry a particular person, what are some reasonable tests of that calling?

Gary Thomas // The Sacred Search // page 76


once you become “serious” about someone to marry, you and your potential spouse need to get vulnerable and be as honest as you can be as you explore this.  the temptation will be to say what you think the other person wants to hear, but that’s setting up both of you for considerable disappointment and even lifelong frustration.  lying about what you want out of marriage going in because you’re afraid you’ll lose the relationship if you are honest is one of the worst kinds of fraud you could ever commit.  you’re asking someone to give his or her life over to a lie.  and you’ll eventually be found out.  you cant sustain a life for 50 years.  you may worry about hurting someone’s feelings if you begin to sense that the two of you aren’t cut out for each other, but be more concerned about hurting that persons life.  don’t serve your feelings by covering up the truth: make your feelings serve you. 

Gary Thomas // The Sacred Search page 93



describe with detailed scenarios what sounds most exciting and rewarding to you: how will you spend your evenings?  how close will the two of you be?  will you try to spend every hour outside of work together, or will you sometimes pursue separate hobbies?  how central will church involvement be in your life?  will you take vacations with the kids, without the kids or even perhaps individually?  when you’ve daydreamed about the most satisfying moments of marriage, are you and your loved one walking on a beach, scoring antique stores, working on a mission field, taking your kids the park or doing something else?

Gary Thomas // The Sacred Search page 111



remember, your goal is to build a life together.  if two builders are trying to build two different houses on the same foundation, that building is going to callapse.  if your dreams and  your partners dreams do not fit together, in an area that wont change, with an issue that really does matter to you, admit it.  be honest with yourself, be honest with each other.  what do you envision your marriage looking like?  will you ever be able to have it with your current partner?  if not, take the courageous step of ending the relationship and giving God a chance of leading you toward someone who might be a better fit. 

Gary Thomas // The Sacred Search page 113



if you believe the bible, you are going to stumble many times throughout your marriage (james 3:2).  you will break your spouse’s heart.  you will disappoint her.  you will embarrass him.  your sin will inconvenience her.  a couple i was pastorally counselling needed to work on building some relational intimacy.  the guy confessed that he didn’t want to fully open up to his fiancée about the stress in his life because he didn’t want to be a burden to her. i told him that if his goal is to never be a burden to his future wife, he shouldn’t marry her; he might as well break up with her now.  there was, quiet understandably, visible shock on his face until i explained, “what if you get laid off and cant find another job and she has to do double her hours?  what if you get a stroke and she has to hand feed you?  what if you make a really stupid investment or a dumb mistake and get fired or have your portfolio tank?  one or all of those things will happen over the course of your marriage.  you are going to hurt and disappoint this woman very deeply, so you might as well learn how to do it productively.”

Gary Thomas // The Sacred Search page 136