The Meaning of Marriage was recommended to me and my husband by someone older and wiser than either of us. Timothy Keller endeavors to show the reader a picture of what marriage could and should be according to the Bible. I believe I will hang on to this book and the wisdom Tim Keller shares, as I grow and learn in love for my spouse.
With the help of Kathy, his wife of thirty-years, Tim presents biblical arguments and foundations for a healthy marriage, comparing and contrasting his own views with the views of the popular modern culture of the Western world. The Meaning of Marriage is a powerful argument for longevity and commitment; for love and covenant; for Christ-like community in an individualistic world.
I think my favourite chapter was the one titled "Loving the Stranger". Keller started the chapter off with this quote:
"We never know whom we marry; we just think we do. Or even if we first marry the right person, just give it a while and he or she will change. For marriage, being [the enormous thing that it is] means we are not the same person after we have entered it. The primary problem is ... learning how to love and care for the stranger to whom you find yourself married."
--Stanley HauerwasIt's not the first piece I've read on the topic of how the honeymoon phase of marriage lasts a couple months to a couple years and then fades, confronting the married couple with this reality. Someone else might refer to it as "transferring from in love, to love".
Each section in "Loving the Stranger" from The Meaning of Marriage unpacked these topics and gave a lot of insight and things to think about in the grand scheme of marriage--in the "for worse" of life, and in the moments when the flaws of your spouse seem to outweigh everything else. Keller puts it this way: "When you got married you saw the gold in your spouse, but as time goes on you see all the impurities" (p.158). The chapter "Loving the Stranger" leads the reader beyond that, and ends with "The Power of Grace--Reconciling" and "The Ultimate Power". Keller talks about grace, forgiveness, and the ultimate forgiveness in Christ as the most foundational, crucial power in the context of marriage.
"I don't know of anything more necessary in marriage than the ability to forgive fully, freely, unpunishingly, from the heart" (p.188).I don't trust my faulty human mind to remember everything that I need to from this book, so The Meaning of Marriage is one I will be keeping on my shelf at home for a long time to come.
For more information on The Meaning of Marriage, by Timothy Keller, visit our website here.