Book Review: The Mystery of Marriage

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“Love convinces a couple that they are the greatest romance that has ever been, that no two people have ever loved as they do, and that they will sacrifice absolutely anything in order to be together. And then marriage asks them to prove it.” p.45

I can’t remember anymore where I hear of certain books whether it be through a friend or a blog or the back of a book I’ve been reading but either way I have read some incredible books by following through with some recommendations. This is one of them and I was so blessed to find it at our thrift store for $1 !!! This book is really amazing! Mike Mason says on his website that he doesn’t write books he writes sentences and those sentences turn into books. This is so true. Each sentence packs such a powerful message much like the best writers from back in the day (C.S. Lewis, A.W. Tozer, etc., etc.). The way Mason describes marriage from God’s point of view really changed my view of it and helped me see how special marriage is and the sanctity of it. It was as though I was sitting down with God Himself and He was trying to convince me of what an incredible miracle marriage is and why He created it and what His heart and hopes are for those of us involved in marriage. It is so powerful and moving the words Mason uses. Mason also has an incredible way of describing the mystery of people itself. Sure he describes a lot in the context of marriage but it really woke up my perspective of how people interact with each other in other relationships. He really got me thinking about these relationships in such a different way and in more of a Godly way and I am so thankful he wrote this.

Here are some great examples but really truly I would encourage any of you who are married or engaged to just go ahead and read it… you’ll never regret it.

“That is the vulnerable place, of course, in all human relationships. What is on the line, always, with every person we meet is our capacity to love and to be loved. But whereas in most other relationships our vulnerability in this respect can be hidden… in the relationship of marriage it is this very quality of vulnerability that is exposed, exalted, exploited.” p. 15-16

“…that is what love does: it brings people out into the light, no matter how painful that transition might prove to be. Love aims at revelation, at a clarifying and defining of our true natures. It is a sort of sharpening process, a paring away of dull and lifeless exteriors so that the keen new edge of a person’s true self can begin to flash and gleam in the light of day.” p.18

“How else can true love be truly known except when it is separated from everything that is like it, from all forms of natural attraction? A marriage lives, paradoxically, upon those almost impossible times when it is perfectly clear to the two partners that nothing else but pure sacrificial love can hold them together.” p.28

“…that is [marriage] very purpose: to get us our beyond our depth, out of the shallows of our own secure egocentricity and into the dangerous and unpredictable depths of a real interpersonal encounter. And that, incidentally, is also what true religion is supposed to do… To know the Lord is to be brought into a personal relationship so dramatic and overwhelming that marriage is only a pale image of it.” p. 35

“We live in a heavily screened, body-guarded reality. Not much gets through the barbed wire, not much gets by the great bulldog of the ego. For truly to open our hearts to another person is to invite them into our own throne room and to sit them down on our very own throne, on the seat normally warmed by no one but ourselves.” p.37

“… people are the consciousness of God in the world, the closest thing to Him in the physical realm, and a more vivid reminder than anything else in creation of His existence, His mystery, and His creative power… to be in the presence of even the meanest, lowest, most repulsive specimen of humanity in the world is still to be closer to God than when looking up into a starry sky or at a beautiful sunset.” p.38

“Other people, let us face it, confront us directly with the reality of love or hate that is in our hearts in a way that all the beautiful sunsets in the world cannot do… We resent one another for revealing so accurately and so openly and so painfully the depth of our own lovelessness.” p.39

“The very next step in human closeness, beyond marriage, would be just to scrap the original man and woman and create one new human being out of the two. But this is exactly what happens… in the birth of a child! Eventually the parents die, leaving the child a living sign of the unthinkable extremity of union which took place between two distinct lives. The two became one.” p.73

“The closer we are drawn into the brilliant and mysterious circle of another person, the more must we ourselves be revealed in the other’s light, revealed for what we are. Others are mirrors in which we are constrained to see ourselves, not as we would like to be, but as we are. Whenever we pull away, searching in one mirror after another for a more pleasing image, what we are really doing is avoiding the truth about ourselves.” p.83

“One thing that is very important to know in marriage is that there is always a way out. And the way out is not divorce! No, the way out in marriage… is simply to put everything we have back on the line, our whole hearts and lives, just as we did the moment we took our vows.” p.95

“…we may be called upon to repeat in marriage our original acts of love and abandonment, but this time without much help from the emotions, and without any help at all from romantic love. We may be called upon to act all alone, out of pure faith and trust, perhaps without even the perceived help of our partner. For it is often God’s way that what He Himself has taught us to do in the light, we must repeat on our own in the darkness.” p.96

“…for two to become one flesh does not mean for the hand to become a foot. It means, rather, for the foot and the hand to become coordinated, to start doing the same thing, heading in the same direction.” p.128

“It is in the very nature of love, in fact, to bear the sins of others – not merely to sympathize or empathize or to share the heaviness, but actually to shoulder the blame.” p.162

“To love is… to see all their weakness, their falseness and shoddiness, to have all their very worst habits exposed – and then to be enabled, by the pure grace of God, no only to accept them, but to accept them in a deeper way than was ever before possible.” p.163

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