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The Meaning of Marriage: Facing the…

The Meaning of Marriage: Facing the Complexities of Commitment with the… (2011)

by Timothy Keller

Other authors: Kathy Keller (Author)

Other authors: See the other authors section.

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1,495138,024 (4.47)7
There has never been a marriage book like The Meaning of Marriage. Based on the acclaimed sermon series by New York Times bestselling author Timothy Keller, this book shows everyone -- Christians, skeptics, singles, long-time married couples, and those about to be engaged -- the vision of what marriage should be according to the Bible. Modern culture would make you believe that everyone has a soul-mate; that romance is the most important part of a successful marriage; that your spouse is there to help you realize your potential; that marriage does not mean forever, but merely for now; that starting over after a divorce is the best solution to seemingly intractable marriage issues. All those modern-day assumptions are, in a word, wrong. Using the Bible as his guide, coupled with insightful commentary from his wife of thirty-six years, Kathy, Timothy Keller shows that God created marriage to bring us closer to him and to bring us more joy in our lives. It is a glorious relationship that is also the most misunderstood and mysterious. With a clear-eyed understanding of the Bible, and meaningful instruction on how to have a successful marriage, The Meaning of Marriage is essential reading for anyone who wants to know God and love more deeply in this life. - Publisher.… (more)



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LT The Meaning of Marriage, Tim Keller, 2016, Penguin
Recommended by Jim Berg (for Jesse and Emily) (12/15-16/17)

Theme: meaning of marriage
Type: teaching, inspirational
Value: 1-
Age: college+
Interest: 1-
Objectionable: “assumes low standards of Christianity”
Synopsis/Noteworthy: very good on only God can satisfy certain desires, purpose of marriage, wrong expectations, singlehood, finding a mate

14-15 current stats
20 purpose 232
22ff wrong expectations (purpose): not self-actualization 28, 30, 32, 36, 38, 232
32-33 no two people are compatible, change begins immediately
34-35 person becomes more ideal as you live together and submit
35 …a good marriage is more painfully hard to achieve that athletic or artistic prowess.
39 importance of marriage universally recognized
41 mystery has idea of secret and also that can only be understood with God’s Spirit’s help
40-51, 53, 185, 188, 232 the great secret of marriage is a giving (rather than taking) mindset; more fully, that the gospel and marriage explain one another (43); mutual fulfillment through mutual sacrifice; the gospel gives both the power and the pattern for marriage
50 …[joy-filled] Christians have learned that the worship of God with the whole heart in the assurance of his love through the work of Jesus Christ is the thing their souls were meant to “run on.” That is what gets all the heart’s cylinders on fire. If this is not understood, then we will not have the resources to be good spouses, If we look to our spouses to full up our tanks in a way that only God can do, we are demanding an impossibility.
53 And what is that gospel? It is that you are so lost and flawed, so sinful, that Jesus had to die for you, but you are also so loved and valued that Jesus was glad to die for you.
58 …marriage is “instituted of God.” It was established by the God for whom self-giving love is an essential attribute, and therefore it reflects his nature…
59 You must be willing to give something up before it can be truly yours. Fulfillment is on the far side of sustained unselfish service…
62 [The essence of sin is] living for ourselves, rather than for God and the people around us.
64, 66 You should stop making excuses for selfishness, and you should do so regardless of what your spouse is doing.
74 He came down and emptied himself of his glory and served us, even to the point of dying for us. Let the Holy Spirit bring this [BEAUTY] home to your heart until you love and sing and wonder. Then, out of this “fear,” this fullness of the Spirit, we can turn to our spouses and begin to do what we should do for them.
76 This does not happen overnight, of course. It takes years of reflection. It requires disciplined prayer, Bible study and reading, innumerable conversations with friends, and dynamic congregational worship.
79 THE ESSENCE OF MARRIAGE is that marriage is covenant-based versus consumer-based.
84 In consumer relationships, it could be said that the individual’s needs are more important than the relationship.
90 Real love, instinctively desires permanence.
94 “Like everything which is not the involuntary result of fleeting emotion but the creation of time and will, any marriage, happy or unhappy, is infinitely more interesting than any romance, however passionate.” W. H. Auden
97 My wife has lived with at least five different men since we were wed—and each of the five has been me.” Lewis Smedes, Christian ethicist
98 In promising, you limit options now, in order to have wonderful, fuller options later.
100 Aragorn understood that romantic flings are so intoxicating largely because the person is actually in love with a fantasy rather than a real human being. … There is an emotional “high” that comes to us when someone thinks we are so wonderful and beautiful… but it’s nothing like the profound satisfaction of being known and loved.
102 Kierkegaard writes of three possible outlooks on life—what he calls the aesthetic, the ethical, and the religious. He says that all of us are born aesthetes, and we only can become ethical or religious through our choices. … An aesthete often claims to be a free individual. Life should be thrilling, full of “beauty and sparkle,” he says… The aesthete does not really love the person; he or she loves the feelings, thrills, ego rush, and experiences that the other person brings.
119 THE MISSION OF MARRIAGE has a lot to do with companionship.
127 Proverbs 2:17 speaks of one’s spouse as your ’allup, a unique word that the lexicons define as your “special confidant” or “best friend.”
135, 145, 189 What keeps the marriage going is your commitment to your spouse’s holiness.
141 Maybe your family’s way of operating was wise in a particular regard, but you should only carry it into your new family if it makes sense to your spouse, too.
147 LOVING THE STRANGER, the power of truth—facing the worst, and the power of love—renewing the heart!
152-3 Others have seen these flaws in you. Your parents certainly have… …your spouse becomes more keenly aware of what is wrong with you than anyone else ever has been.
154 …it isn’t ultimately your spouse who is exposing the sinfulness of your heart—it’s marriage itself
159, 189 …think of the future version of the person to whom you are already married. The someone better is the spouse you already have. God has indeed given us a desire for the perfect spouse, but you should seek it in the one to whom you’re married.
164 …to know that the Lord of the universe loves you is the strongest foundation that any human can have. A growing awareness of God’s love in Christ is the greatest reward. … The power of healing love is a miniature version of the same power that Jesus has with us.
206 It is not simply that the other gender is different; it’s that his or her differences make no sense.
207 Christ embraced the ultimate “Other”—sinful humanity.
223 Christians who remained single, then, were making the statement that our future is not guaranteed by the family but by God.
224 Single adult Christians were bearing testimony that God, not family, was their hope. God would guarantee their future, first by giving them their truest family—the church—so they never lacked for brothers and sisters, fathers and mothers, in Christ…
226 But this high view of marriage tells us that marriage therefore, is penultimate. It points to the Real Marriage that our souls need and the Real Family our hearts were made for. Married couples will do a bad job of conducting their marriage if they don’t see this penultimate status. … But singles, too, must see the penultimate status of marriage.
227 Christian hope turns the church into something far more profound than a club or interest organization.
228-230 This means, in short, that I am a Christian first and I’m European or Latin American or Asian second. I’m a Christian first and I’m a Keller, or Smith, or Jones second. … I propose that within each Christian community you watch for and appreciate the inevitable differences that will appear between male and female in your particular generation, culture, people, and place. Wait for them to appear, and know them. Talk about them among yourselves. Notice the distinct idols women have and men have in your generation, culture, and place… In settings where brothers and sisters are doing this kind of mutual “one-another’ ministry, a kind of cross-gender enrichment happens naturally.
230 The Christian perspective on singleness is almost unique. Unlike traditional societies, Christianity sees singleness as good because the kingdom of God provides the most lasting possible legacy and heirs. … Adults in Western society are deeply shaped by individualism, a fear and even hatred of limiting options for the sake of others. Many people are living single lives today not in the conscious, only misery of wanting marriage too much but rather in the largely unconscious, lonely misery of wanting marriage too little, out of fear of it. While traditional societies tend to make an idol out of marriage (because they make an idol out of the family and tribe), contemporary societies tend to make an idol out of independence (because they make an idol out of individual choice and happiness).
233 “Let’s face it: singleness is not an inherently inferior state of affairs. …But I want to be married. I pray to that end every day. I may meet someone and walk down the aisle in the next couple of years because God is so good to me. I may never have another date…because God is so good to me.”
233 The History of Dating
237 Understand the “gift of singleness.”
241 [Understand I Corinthians 7:9—better to marry than burn.] He was saying that if you find yourself having passionate attraction to someone, by all means you should marry that person. He is also saying that it is okay to “marry for love.” … So Paul teaches that attraction is an important factor in choosing to be married.
242 Ultimately, your marriage partner should be part of what could be called your “mythos [soul wavelength, heart throb].”
247 … If she ever chanced to question this, he might protest: “I never said we were more than friends!” But this is unfair…
262 Most of all, singles who want romantic involvement without mandatory sexual intercourse will need a sufficiently large community of single people who are all pursuing the same goal.
263-5 Jane Eyre, how story was written originally [integrity resisting immorality]
271 [Sex] is the most ecstatic, breathtaking, daring scarcely-to-be-imagined look at the glory that is our future.
279 …a head can only overrule his spouse if he is sure that her choice would be destructive to her or to the family. ( )
  keithhamblen | Dec 16, 2017 |
The best book I've read on the subject hands down. ( )
  gcornett | Sep 22, 2017 |
This book was a great encouragement to me. Keller discusses not only the problems with the current cultural paradigm of marriage as based solely on human feelings and self-fulfillment, but also some of the errors in contemporary Christian views of marriage. Keller uses statistical evidence on the benefits of remaining married and the level of personal satisfaction, mental health etc. that can be attained through working at a mediocre marriage rather than searching for fulfillment through divorce and remarriage. He does note cases where a spouse who is a victim of unfaithfulness or physical or mental cruelty needs to take steps to protect herself/himself. He is not suggesting that people become martyrs to their spouses. He also emphasizes the biblical support for remaining single. I am often troubled by the romanticized view of marriage and motherhood that popular culture and also popular Christian culture seem to feed young women. Keller and his co-author (his wife) are, as always, straightforward and rational. ( )
  kaitanya64 | Jan 3, 2017 |
Probably one of the best Christian books on marriage I've ever read. I like Keller's writing style. He is clear, smart and careful about making any blanket statements. I learned a lot from this book and appreciated his candor about his own marriage. The only part I wasn't too convinced of was his section on singleness. ( )
  homeschoolmimzi | Nov 28, 2016 |
"Christ's love is the great foundation for building a marriage that sings." What a wonderful book. Marriage is so important and this book is a great reminder of marriage as God intends. Mankind has so perverted and altered marriage that it has been weakened and has caused confusion and abuse and mistreatment. This is a great reminder.
I have never read a Timothy Keller book that wasn't outstanding. However, the footnotes are very valuable, but are in the back of the book and can make it awkward to go back and forth. It would be more handy to have them on the bottom of each page. A scriptural index would also be helpful. Otherwise, a tremendous resource! ( )
  Luke_Brown | Sep 10, 2016 |
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Author nameRoleType of authorWork?Status
Keller, TimothyAuthorprimary authorall editionsconfirmed
Keller, KathyAuthorsecondary authorall editionsconfirmed
Gavin, MargueriteNarratorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
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To Our Friends for Four Decades

Our journeys have taken us to different places
but never away from one another,
or from each other,
or from our First love

Adele and Doug Calhoun
Jane and Wayne Frazier
Louise and David Midwood
Gayle and Gary Somers
Cindy and Jim Widmer
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