The Meaning of Marriage: Facing the Complexities of Commitment with the Wisdom of God

by Timothy Keller

Other authorsKathy Keller (Contributor)
Paperback, 2013



Call number



Riverhead Books (2013), Edition: Reprint, Paperback, 352 pages


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)

User reviews

LibraryThing member thornton37814
The Kellers take a look at marriage. It is one of the most-balanced treatments of Christian marriage that I've ever read. The authors take a hard look at marriage in the context of contemporary culture while staying true to its Biblical ideal. Marriage is a commitment in a culture where individualism seems to be taking priority; however, it is also a beautiful picture of our relationship with God. The book would work great as a study guide for couples who are looking to be married, for couples who are already married who may be experiencing a rough time in the relationship, and even for those who are not married and never intend to be. Many Christian books on marriage are pure "fluff," but this is not one of them.… (more)
LibraryThing member lauranav
What a wonderful and useful book. This month marks 19 years married to a wonderful man. And I was encouraged to find that much of the wisdom in this book is something I have already learned. But boy would it have been helpful to have it explained to me instead of having to learn so much of it the hard way.
I recommend this to anyone who is currently married (happily or not so happily), and certainly anyone considering getting married (with someone you know or someone you hope to meet), and even anyone who hopes to never marry (because they (men/women pick the one that fits) are impossible).
The book is well written, easy to understand, engaging, wise, and gentle while still being convicting.
It explains the meaning of marriage and does a good job of showing why the Christian meaning of marriage works well.
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LibraryThing member Dangerboy
We are self-centered and selfish. This is the cause of marriage problems. Through the power of God we need to learn to commit (even when we don't feel like it) and love the other (who is in a certain way a stranger).
The last part of the book deals with some specific issues: singleness, marriage roles, sex.… (more)
LibraryThing member aevaughn
Better than expected, overall I think Keller has some good points.
LibraryThing member kaitanya64
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.… (more)
LibraryThing member StephenBarkley
The subtitle says it all. This book is about "facing the complexities of commitment with the wisdom of God." In our day marriage is something that's fought over, argued about, and defended. In the midst of all the polemic battles, can we really hear the wisdom of God?

Timothy Keller brings four roles to the table in this book:

1. Theologian: Timothy Keller's understanding of theology is deep. To be sure, there are elements of his Reformed theology that I would take issue with, but not here. His view of marriage is deeply rooted in biblical theology.
2. Pastor: Keller is the long-term founding pastor of Redeemer Presbyterian Church in Manhattan. His years of pastoral work have given him an insight into human nature and the needs of both married and single people. This book is the product of his care for people's relationships.
3. Communicator: Pastors have to communicate—it's part of who we are. Keller excels at this, as his New York Times bestseller status indicates. This book is easy to read and to understand. Keller makes profound subjects comprehensible with good case studies and analogies.
4. Husband: Timothy's wife, Kathy, co-wrote this book. This co-authorship adds to the balanced feel of the book, especially on the topic of gender roles.

The Meaning of Marriage is a good resource for pastors looking for counseling material and a great resource for anyone who wants to get beyond the cultural battles to understand the mystery of marriage with the wisdom of God.
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LibraryThing member homeschoolmimzi
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.


Original publication date


Physical description

352 p.; 5.25 inches


1594631875 / 9781594631870
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