The Marriage You Want

The Marriage You Want

If you’ve been reading this blog, you’ve heard me talking a lot lately about cherishing our spouse.

What does cherish mean?

How is cherish different from love?

I recently came across a brilliant description of cherishing your spouse that was written hundreds of years ago by a surprising source. I say “surprising” because John Wesley taught about marriage better than he lived it. This quote shows he surely understood how husbands (and wives) are supposed to act, even if he found it difficult to live it out:

“The wife is to have the highest place in the husband’s heart, and he in her’s. No neighbor, no friend, no parent, no child should be so near and dear to either as the other… They must do more, and suffer more, for each other than any other in all the world…the husband must do or leave undone, anything he can, that he may please his wife…in diet, attire, choice of company and all things else, each must fulfill the other’s desire as absolutely as can be done, without transgressing the law of God… Helpful fidelity consists in their mutual care to abstain from and prevent whatever might grieve or hurt either.”

Does anyone not want a marriage like this? Two people so closely aligned, so dedicated to the other’s welfare, that nothing else will come in between them save the presence and will of God. I think all of us would, in an ideal world, desire a marriage like this; we just don’t think it’s possible. At least, not in the marriage we’re in.

But it is. We can learn to cherish each other.

The call to cherish lifts our marriage to a new level because it sets the bar higher. We’re not just sacrificing for each other or persevering through difficult times (important as these may be), but we’re intent on shaping our hearts and minds and habits to look at, think about and even adore our spouses in a special way.

Love and cherish are like two interchangeable gears, pushing each other forward. Love pushes cherish forward by providing the strength, the will and the endurance to continue. Absent love, cherish will quickly fade, like a momentary infatuation. But love without cherish quickly slips into duty instead of delight. If we focus only on doing the right things without thinking the right things and shaping our hearts, marriage can feel like a burden instead of a blessing.

When we learn how to cherish, it’s easier to love, just as when we love, it’s easier to cherish. The two are interlocking gears that push our marriage forward in the right direction.

My new book’s official release date is Monday, January 9, but somebody has already stopped me and asked me to sign one, so stores must be getting them in already.

There’s still a few days left for you to take advantage of the pre-release special that gives you two books for the price of one as well as an audio download. You can find that at

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Gary Thomas is writer-in-residence (and serves on the teaching team) at Second Baptist Church, Houston, Texas and author of 18 books that have sold over a million copies worldwide and have been translated into a dozen languages. He and his wife Lisa have been married for 30 years. Please visit his amazon link.