Because it’s Valentine’s Day tomorrow, I wanted to review a good book on marriage this week. I browsed Amazon and Barnes and Noble for a couple of weeks before I found The Meaning of Marriage: Facing the Complexities of Commitment with the Wisdom of God at Barnes and Noble. I had heard good things about author Timothy Keller, and I liked the premise of the book, so I bought it. And read it. And now I’m going to tell you all about it!
If you don’t want to read the full review, I’ll summarize my feelings really quickly. If you’re a Christian, you need to read this book. It doesn’t matter if you’re newly married, you’ve been married for years, or if you’re currently single. You need to read this book. It’s the single best book on marriage I’ve ever read. And I’ve read a lot.
Interested in the full review? Read on!
About The Meaning of Marriage
In The Meaning of Marriage, Timothy Keller takes a look at Ephesians 5:18-33 to explore what God has to say about marriage. In fact, The Meaning of Marriage is based on a series of sermons Keller preached in 1991 to Redeemer Presbyterian Church in New York City.
In the first half of the book, Keller explores what Biblical marriage is. Chapters like The Secret of Marriage, The Power for Marriage, The Essence of Marriage, and The Mission of Marriage provide the reader with a solid understanding of Biblical marriage.
Later chapters, like Loving the Stranger, Embracing the Other, Singleness and Marriage, and Sex and Marriage provide readers with more practical tips on marriage, while still maintaining the theological basis of the first half of the book.
Kathy Keller wrote the chapter on Embracing the Other, which tackles the sometimes difficult subject of servant leadership and Biblical submission.
Finally, an appendix at the end of the book contains a little bit more about the subject of submission and how it might play out in real life.
The Meaning of Marriage Review
One of the things I loved about this book is that it focused so much on the Bible. Rather than a bunch of traditional tips, like “look nice for your man when he comes home from work,” The Meaning of Marriage directs the reader straight back to the Word of God. We are reminded that marriage is to be a picture of the relationship between Christ and His people.
While reading The Meaning of Marriage, I was inspired to work on improving my own marriage, not for the sake of having a better marriage or for the sake of feeling more content in my marriage, but for the sake of pleasing God and spurring my husband to be the best man he can be in Christ. I want to serve Christ and serve my husband.
Lest you think that The Meaning of Marriage presents an old-fashioned view of submission where a wife obeys the husband, no questions asked, that’s not at all what The Meaning of Marriage does. The authors point out that submission by the wife is important, but so is servant leadership by the husband. In fact, the husband and wife are made to complement each other, discussing ideas until they reach agreement. It is only when they cannot reach agreement that the husband makes the final decision…based on what is in the best interest of his wife and family.
Surprisingly, The Meaning of Marriage is also a great book for singles to read. I love how Keller points out that singleness should neither be exalted as better than marriage, nor treated as lesser than marriage. He gives singles a lot to think about while they are in a state of singleness, and he does it without talking down to singles or making them feel inferior for not being married.
I could go on and on about how much I loved this book. The bottom line is that after reading it, I have a much better understanding of what God intended marriage to be. Every couple should read this book. Especially couples who are not yet married.
I’m sure my now underlined, highlighted, and note-ridden copy will be read again and again. I don’t often give five star reviews, but this is a book that deserves one!
Do you have a favorite book on marriage? What is it?