The Meaning of Marriage

I think it’d be intimidating to write a book on marriage.

There, I said it.

Take “write book on marriage” off my list of things to do.

Maybe once I’ve been married for like … I don’t know … five decades. Maybe. I might have it figured out by then.

There are a lot of marriage books out there — I’ve read a lot of them — and many claim to have the keys to a happy, biblical, and gospel-centered marriage. With some — these claims ring true. With others — not so much.

If you’re currently engaged and preparing for marriage, I doubt you have the time (or the $$) to tackle all of the titles weighing down the shelves at your local Barnes and Noble.

So — how do we work through them all? Which ones should you read?

This one. You need to read this one.

Even if you’re not married or preparing for marriage — this book is for you too. Tim Keller’s church is predominantly singles, and he focuses a significant portion of this book on being single and on pursuing marriage.

There is one feature to this book that distinguishes it from any other marriage book I’ve read. Gospel-centeredness. Tim and Kathy Keller lead me deep into the gospel of Jesus Christ, and showed me how the gospel extends to every part of marriage.

The book is written primarily by Tim, but his wife, to whom he has been married for almost four decades, contributes in several ways. They speak from the powerful combination of Scriptural grounding and real-world experience.

“As theological students, Kathy and I studied the Biblical teachings on sex, gender, and marriage. Over the next fifteen years, we worked them out in our own marriage. Then, over the last twenty-two years, we have used what we learned from both Scripture and experience to guide, encourage, counsel, and instruct young urban adults with regard to sex and marriage.”

Today, marriage is for the fulfillment of the individual. We live in a world that says you can’t marry someone until you find the perfect soul mate — happy, healthy, interesting, content with life.

A marriage based not on self-denial but on self-fulfillment will require a low-or no-maintenance partner who meets your needs while making almost no claims on you. Simply put—today people are asking far too much in the marriage partner.

In a world where we know how to fall in love but are rather clueless on how to stay in love, Tim’s words give us wisdom.

Erick and I have only been married 28 months — 28 months today, actually. So we rely on the words of those older and wiser than us to tell us what’s up. We will not claim that we’ve got this whole marriage thing figured out. Cause we don’t. We work at it daily.

However, I can say with confidence that we have a good marriage. A marriage centered around Christ, and based on respect, love, friendship, truth, and a heck of a lot of grace.

I tweeted this the other day, but I’m gonna say it again because it’s one of my favorite quotes from this book: “Truth without love ruins the oneness, and love without truth gives the illusion of unity but actually stops the journey and the growth. The solution is grace.”

If I had to say one thing I’ve learned about marriage, it’s that it’s a never-ending growth process. Marriage shows you a realistic, unflattering picture of who you are, and then forces you to pay attention to it.

When I’m me on my worst day, Erick could be thinking “there’s gotta be someone better than her.” The gift of marriage is that the “someone better” really is me, just a future version. It’s Erick’s desire to be with me when I get there.

The Meaning of Marriage — read the book my friend. I couldn’t recommend it more.

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