I don’t want to hesitate to tell you that The Meaning Of Marriage: Facing the Complexities of Commitment with the Wisdom of God by Timothy and Kathy Keller is an excellent book and a great resource to encourage growth in marriage. I decided to review this book in parts in correlation to the chapters, that way you can follow along with me and see how this book impacts my marriage!
Timothy and Kathy have been married over 37 years. Much of their marriage experience, along with Timothy’s experience as a Pastor are the major contributing components to the awesome content in this book. Timothy is the main author of The Meaning Of Marriage, while Kathy adds splashes of her insight.
In the brief introduction Timothy invites both married and unmarried (singles) to give this book a try. He also mentions how the material in the book is a good source for foundational teachings on marriage from the Bible. He says, “It is hard to get a good perspective on marriage. We all see it through inevitably distorted lenses of our own experience.” As true as this is, we can adjust our perspectives as we learn what God says about marriage through the Old and New Testaments, and resources that teach on them such as this book.
Chapter 1 – The Secret Of Marriage
As I jumped into Chapter 1, The Secret Of Marriage, there were quite a few things that captured my attention, including marriage statistics on our current culture compared to the past, the shift of mentality that has the vast majority of people self-focused, and the secret of marriage found in scripture. Keller touches on a large quantity of information, but he writes in a way that is easy to understand. It seemed as though every time I went to turn the page, I also wanted to see if anyone was around to share what I was learning.
Timothy stated on page 21, “I believe all this, and yet there’s no relationship between human beings that is greater or more important than marriage.” I agree with this statement, but I realized as I read it that I had never thought of it that intensely before. It stirred my heart and made me realize I need to give my marriage relationship more weight, or importance. Not that I don’t, but that it needs to be intentional. If I think of my marriage like this on a daily basis, I will more likely respond to my husband with a deeper respect and love.
One factoid that I loved reading was on page 24, “Studies show that spouses hold one another to greater levels of personal responsibility and self-discipline than friends or other family members can.” Interesting. The marriage relationship matures character!
Another fact mentioned was that two-thirds of unhappy marriages will become happy within five years if people choose to stay married over getting divorced. We were in that category! The first four years of our marriage were painful, yet we chose to stay together and our fifth year of marriage has been amazing! This chapter gives hope to those who are going through a difficult time.
Timothy also writes on the human nature and how many people are self-focused.
“Marriage used to be about us, but now it is about me.”
We carry around extremely unrealistic expectations for our spouses who are just as imperfect as we are. We are determined to get more than we deserve, and our understanding of the purpose of marriage is flawed.
One point that was made that convicted me about my flawed views on marriage was on page 42:
“It is the illusion that if we find our one true soul mate, everything wrong with us will be healed; but that makes the lover into God, and no human being can live up to that.”
This is something that I realize I do… thankfully I have begun to grow out of. I saw my husband on a pedestal. I had expectations that being with him was the perfect romance and that any imperfections would dissipate. On the contrary our imperfections were amplified, usually resulting in a fight. I had to learn and I am still learning, that God comes first, and then my marriage. Also, that my husband is human, is sinful, and will fail me at times… and likewise I am the same.
Timothy dives deep into scripture, helping us to discover what the secret of marriage is. One of God’s great purposes for marriage is simply to remind us of Christ’s relationship with His redeemed people forever! He suggests on page 47 that we start with this, “Do for your spouse what God did for you in Jesus, and the rest will follow.” It should be our goal to be a servant-lover to our spouse, meaning that we learn how to delay gratification or even deny self to serve each other. Christ gave himself up for us and we should follow his example in our marriage. He also encourages that a greater understanding of the gospel will help create a deeper union between spouses as time goes on.
There was much more information stuffed into this first chapter that blessed me greatly. It inspired me to not only want to grow in my marriage, but also in my relationship with Jesus. I was reminded that marriage is a reflection of the gospel, a way in which we gain a deeper understanding of God’s love story.
GET The Meaning Of Marriage: Facing The Complexities Of Commitment With The Wisdom Of God HERE
Check out each Chapter Review below!