Book Review: Meaning of Marriage

I read Tim and Kathy Keller’s The Meaning of Marriage over the last couple of weeks and would like to give you my thoughts. One of our pre-engagement couples gave it to us as a gift and it’s a book I have wanted to read since it came out. So, here it goes.

When you get married, your books are not just your own…

First, I really enjoyed the vast majority of the book. I found it to be well rounded, biblically based, and very applicable.  I took a lot of notes while reading the book for pre-engagement/pre-marital counseling and for potential wedding ceremonies in the future. I have found that Keller has a way with words sometimes and it makes the point I’m trying to make a little clearer than I sometimes can.

As always, I enjoyed Keller’s look into culture and how culture can be missing the point, especially in the case of marriage. He takes a biblical stance against culture’s view of marriage and tries to promote the biblical view of marriage. I feel like he has done this very well.

However, Keller calls his marriage book a book about the Bible. It’s about the Bible in the sense that he leads with a passage from Ephesians at the start of each chapter and then goes on from there. This is the same way that Keller structures most of his preaching. I’m not saying the book is anti-biblical, it just doesn’t seem to be as exegetical as Keller states it will be at the start.

I thoroughly enjoyed his thoughts on serving one another and their thoughts and on submission and responsibility. Through my marriage and my counseling I have seen these to be some of the hot spots. Tim and Kathy handle these subjects very thoughtfully and very well. I was impressed and edified by reading them.

One of the more thought provoking points for me was on the friendship aspect of marriage. As a man who likes to play golf and softball and hunt and what not who is married to a woman who does not want to do those things I have always struggled with the thoughts of how we can do leisure activities together that we both like. Should I give up golf and the other things and us decide on the lowest common denominator of fun (I feel like this is the argument in His Needs, Her Needs)? Or should I see us as co-missioning together on this journey of marriage and in journeying together to advance the Kingdom continue to grow closer as friends. Of course we will have the “You, too?” moments where we realize we both like the same things and this is a crucial piece of the marriage friendship puzzle.

Also, I found the book to drag along towards the end. I know it was from a collection of sermons, but felt like it really got drug out at the end. The last two chapters or so felt never ending…

Finally, the question remains as to if I would recommend the book to other readers. I would. Wholeheartedly. I think it’s a great look at marriage and culture and the Bible.

The other question I have is if I would recommend it to pre-engagement or pre-marital couples. I say no and yes. I wouldn’t necessarily recommend it to pre-engagement couples because they talk about sex pretty early in the book and there’s a whole chapter on sex at the end of the book. I’ve never seen it to be a good idea for pre-engagement couples to read about sex and how great it can be. So, I would recommend they wait until they are at least in the pre-marital period.


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