I received an offer to do a book review on a new book about Christian marriage by Dr. Tim and Darcy Kimmel called “Grace Filled Marriage.” What a wonderful opportunity!
There are a number of marriage books I recommend. Here is a post about them, “My Favorite Marriage Books”
I have to say – this one is definitely going on that list!
This book is not at all about biblical roles or the structure of a biblical marriage. He doesn’t touch on any of the famous sections of scripture about marriage. The whole book is about how a disciple of Christ can apply grace in practical ways in his/her marriage.
This book would be a blessing for both husbands and wives. It is written from an angle that is non-gender specific – but VERY POWERFUL.
Kimmel calls grace, “The missing piece. The place to start.”
And, I have to say – what he teaches goes completely with what I teach for wives. I seek to be extremely careful to seek to weigh anything that a human author says against God’s Word. This book was a pleasure for me to read. Kimmel upholds God’s Word throughout the book and exalts Christ. LOVE IT!
A FEW OF MY FAVORITE QUOTES
- Grace is much more than trying harder. It’s about Jesus. He’s the God of grace. He’s the wellspring of grace. He’s the beginning, the delivery system, and the follow-through program of grace. There is no “grace-filled” without the Author of grace. Without Him, all you end up with is “nice.” Nice is nice, but it won’t carry you through the deep waters of marriage. Only a heart connection with the Savior can give us the inclination and the power to reject our broken systems that work against healthy relationships… When He is playing, on an ongoing basis, the central role He died on the cross to play, then a grace-filled marriage actually makes sense and works.
- You can get all the biblical principles of marriage right and still miss the greater point of marriage by light-years. That’s because the biblical principles of marriage assume a context of God’s overarching grace.
- Grace-filled intimacy is about giving with enthusiasm and receiving with joy.
- God meant for people to be able to see Him when they look at us as couples…. Our marriage is not merely an image bearer of God but an image bearer of the unity of God within the Trinity… One of the highest representations of the image of God is a husband and wife serving each other… When people see a husband and wife relating to each other in the context of God’s grace, when they see us go to the foot of the cross when we’ve lost our way, when they see us still caring for each other when life has given us many reasons to walk out, the gospel is validated.
- We measure our level of inner strength by how quickly we default to calm and confidence in the Lord’s power to lead, sustain and protect us in any given situation.
- God doesn’t want us to live a safe life, He wants us to live a strong one.
THE LENS OF GRACE
Kimmel talks about the different “lenses” we use to look at people in our lives.
- The “Me” lens – looking at every event, person and circumstance through a selfish perspective that “insults the very nature of God’s heart”
- the “Love If” lens – “I’ll love you if you do these things…” this is conditional love, not the unconditional love of God.
- the “Pious” lens – this is self-righteouesness, me looking down on others as if I am morally/spiritually superior, totally lacking in humility
All of these lenses distort our view and are unreliable.
The Grace lens is what we as believers in Christ need to pick up and use to look at the world, at our husbands, at our children, at our circumstances. This is God’s perspective and it is the way God looks at us!
God’s grace is sufficient for us, not just because He chose to make grace the delivery system of His forgiveness, but also because He chose to make grace the foundation of His own marriage to you and me. Of course! Grace-filled marriages come from the grace-filled union we have with the God of the universe.
SOME OF THE TOPICS KIMMEL ADDRESSES – WHAT DOES GRACE LOOK LIKE IN MARRIAGE?
- Grace gives you a secure love
- Grace gives you a significant purpose
- Grace gives you a strong hope
- Grace frees you to be different and vulnerable
- Grace frees you to be candid and make mistakes
- The character of grace
- The heart qualities of grace
KIMMEL’S DEFINITION OF LOVE IN MARRIAGE:
“Love is the commitment of my will to your needs
and best interests, regardless of the cost.”
- I love that Dr. Kimmel gives real life stories and examples of marriages without grace and marriages with grace.
- I appreciate that Kimmel uses examples from his own marriage.
- I love that he uses the Word of God as his source of truth and the foundation of every point he makes.
- I love that he offers practical examples and ideas about how to extend grace.
- I also appreciate that he explains why we are lacking in grace many times and how to grasp grace in our own lives and marriages.
- Kimmel explains in great detail how to bring out the best in our spouses and how to bless them God’s way.
This man had married a woman who believed in a divine grace that was bigger than human disgrace. She knew that neither she nor her husband could ever exhaust God’s love. She chose to fill her marriage with that grace and love throughout the emotional explosions… the physical rejection… the canyons of depression. And she chose to take this grace-filled path for years. That’s how long it took for his shame and regrets (from his accidentally shooting a fellow police officer weeks before their wedding) to work their way out enough that they could finally be dealt with. A wife chose not to give up on her husband by tapping into the same grace God extended when He chose not to give up on us. God’s grace sustained her through the lonely years, and God’s grace helped fill the void in her husband’s inner need for a sense of strength.