Gary Thomas is the author of 18 books about relationships which have sold over 1 million copies and been translated into more than a dozen languages and he has helped thousands of couples through his Sacred Marriage seminars.
Gary says millions of couples have pledged “to love and to cherish” their spouses in their wedding vows Most people understand the love part, but many don’t know what it means to cherish their spouse. Gary believes by exploring what it means to cherish our spouse, we will enrich and spiritually strengthen our marriages. He says love is the backbone, but cherish puts a polish on the relationship. “I felt convicted by God that I was loving and not cherishing my wife,” says Gary. Once he decided to cherish Lisa, their relationship changed. “Marriage is a lot more pleasant when you cherish the person you’re married to,” Gary explained.
Cherishing isn’t easy to do. Gary reminds us of the scripture in Romans 12:2 “…be transformed by the renewing of your mind.” “It’s a new mindset,” he says. “It’s vital to look at our spouses as if he or she is the only man or woman in the world. Let her be, in your mind, the only woman in the world. That eliminates comparisons. Start showcasing your spouse. Our job is to showcase our spouse’s best sides so they can become and do more than they ever could do on their own.”
Gary stated the opposite of love is apathy. He believes the opposite of cherish is contempt. “We are either ascending towards cherish or descending towards contempt,” says Gary. “There is no status quo in relationships; we cannot remain the same. Contempt is the default position if we don’t consciously cherish our spouse. Practice cherishing your spouse.”
If you cherish a car, you wax it to protect it. In social circumtances, protect your spouse. Once, Gary says one of his friends and spouse were running late. That husband was quick to point out it was his wife who made them late. Gary reminded his friend that this behavior was wrong. The key to cherishing is in James 3:2. “We all stumble in many ways.” Gary says we are asked to cherish someone who messes up a lot. “Preach the gospel to yourself every day. When you receive God’s favor, you can pass it on to your spouse. Otherwise, we have a tendency to draw what we need from our spouses instead of God. I need to receive from God every day,” explains Gary. “That way I know God still delights in me no matter what I’ve done. If I can do that for myself, I can do that for others.”
“ The more you cherish you mate, the easier and more natural it becomes,” he added. “The more you do it, the more it happens.”