Marriage is an adventure. It begins with “I Do!” and intensifies with the passing of each year. But early in every couple’s story, hearts become exposed and the turf war begins. Problems emerge, tempers erupt, communication declines and conflict moves into the house. Identifying the real reason why these difficulties exist is the beginning of hope and change. In his new book, WHEN SINNERS SAY “I DO”: Discovering the Power of the Gospel for Marriage, author and pastor Dave Harvey looks squarely into the reality of marriage --- that it is two sinners uniting and the result is a clash of desires. He encourages couples to do what they don’t want to do so they can enjoy what they long to experience.
Many marriage books have great tips on how to rekindle romance or simple steps to happier marriage. However, these often tend to address the symptoms of marital trouble while neglecting the real problem. “The cause of our marriage battles is neither our marriage nor our spouse,” Harvey says. “It’s the sin in our hearts --- entirely, totally, exclusively, without exception. This is taught clearly and consistently in Scripture, from the first sin to the final judgment.” WHEN SINNERS SAY “I DO”, however, does not bemoan the problem but clearly exults in the solution --- the gospel! Harvey quickly points out that the gospel is greater than our sin and applying it inspires hope and begins the exciting process of change.
Harvey believes that a right understanding of our own sin is the necessary first step to happiness in marriage. Avoiding the psychological discussions that fill the pages of popular needs based resources, he instead encourages readers to understand how the cross can transform our conflicts, our weakness, yes, even our sex lives. “God wants Christians to delight in marriage. And He has made provision in the gospel to do so. But we can’t truly understand the gospel, or even the basic problems of every marriage, until we come to terms with the undeniable reality of sin. Men and women (and me!) find real hope and help when we realize that God uses marriage to reveal the heart and change the soul. This discovery process is an adventure that lasts until death do us part.”
According to Harvey, God’s grace can revolutionize Christian marriages. In this book readers discover that grace is sufficient to train us and transform us. “Grace excavates all the way down to our core desires and re-directs them to God,” he writes. “What we want in life actually changes. Grace renovates us and never quits.” WHEN SINNERS SAY “I DO” highlights the stubborn grace available for couples to bring help and change.
As a graduate of the doctoral program at Westminster Theological Seminary, Harvey’s combination of biblical truth and humorous vignettes from his own 25-year marriage produces a book that is as enjoyable as it is provoking. His treatment of this complicated topic leads to a hopeful conclusion. “Until we understand the problem, we will not be able to delight in the solution. When the sin we bring to marriage becomes real to us, then the gospel becomes vital and marriage becomes sweet.”
When Sinners Say “I Do”: Discovering the Power of the Gospel for Marriage © Copyright 2011 by Dave Harvey. Reprinted with permission by Shepherd Press. All rights reserved.
When Sinners Say “i Do”: Discovering the Power of the Gospel for Marriage