The Mystery of Marriage

I just finished reading Mike Mason's book called The Mystery of Marriage. Several friends of mine spoke very highly of this book. Packer speaks of his own giddiness about it in the foreword, and Elisabeth Elliot said she doesn't need to read another book on the subject. Obviously my expectations were high. It was a good book. It is very sobering. I really appreciate Mason's honesty. He is very real. He speaks of the wonders of marriage, but he doesn't hold back from speaking of the pains of marriage. I would really recommend it to those who think that marriage will be all warm fuzzies with no work. Let me share some quotes from him concerning this:

"there is nothing in the world worse than a bad marriage, and atthe same time nothing better than a good one." (34)

"It can be a very great shock for a couple to discover how quicklyromantic love is exhausted, how little they really know or understand one another, how deeply estranged it is possible to become from the person youthought you were closest to." (38)

"What was most glamorous and exciting seems to insist, now, on beingthe most ordinary thing in the world." (65)

"No one has ever been married without being shocked at the enormity ofthis price and at the monstrous inconvenience of this thing called intimacywhich suddenly invades one's life. (89)

"A marriage is not a joining of two worlds, but an abandoning of twoworlds in order that one new one might be formed....It is a vocation oftotal abandonment." (113)

"For marriage is intended to be an environment in which he will belovingly yet persistently confronted with the plainest and ugliest evidence ofhis sinfulness, and thus encouraged on a daily basis to repent and tochange.....It is a radical step and is not intended for anyone who is notprepared, indeed eager , to surrender his own will and to be wholeheartedlysubmissive to the will of another." ( 166)

"Is it not a bitter and ironic truth that the very person we love mostin the world may appear to us, from time to time, to be the only thingstanding between ourselves and our happiness?" (170)

So you can see that he is painfully real, but that is what we need. He also addresses 1 Corinthians 7 in a different manner than I had ever heard. He says that in this instance we should not focus so much on what Paul was trying to say, but rather what the effect of his words will have on the reader (132). Therefore people will pray, think, and examine themselves to be sure they are ready for marriage.
On sex he says:

"Sex is a powerful outward symbol of the inner temper of a maritalrelationship. It is an arresting and self-evident truth that the qualityof a marriage in all of it facets depends upon a wholesome and mutuallysatisfying sex life. And the corollary is also true, that the partners'feelings about the marriage as a whole will almost always be reflected inthe quality of their sexual relations." (151)

It was a thought-provoking and sobering book. I recommend it.