Friday, August 10, 2012

The Meaning of Marriage

The Meaning of Marriage: Facing the Complexities of Commitment with the Wisdom of God, by Timothy and Kathy Keller

A good book.
The Kellers really nail the number one problem in marriage.  We are selfish.  We care more about ourselves then we do about spouses.
In Western culture today, you decide to get married because you feel an attraction to the other person.  You think he or she is wonderful.  But a year or two later - or, just as often, a month or two - three things usually happen.  First, you begin to find out how selfish this wonderful person is.  Second, you discover that the wonderful person has been going through a similar experience and he or she begins to tell you how selfish you are.  And third, though you acknowledge it in part, you conclude that your spouse's selfishness is more problematic than your own.  (page 64)
The solution that they offer is the gospel:
The gospel is this: We are more sinful and flawed in ourselves than we ever dared to believe, yet at the very same time we are more loved and accepted in Jesus Christ than we ever dared hope.  (page 48)
Out of this acceptance and love found in Jesus we are able to move to love our spouses through action, even if we don't feel like it, or we feel they don't deserve it.
In any relationship, there will be frightening spells in which your feelings of love seem to dry up. And when that happens you must remember that the essence of marriage is that it is a covenant, a commitment, a promise of future love.  So what do you do?  You do the acts of love, despite your lack of feeling.  You may not feel tender, sympathetic, and eager to please, but in your actions you must be tender, understanding, forgiving, and helpful.  And, if you do that, as time goes on you will not only get through the dry spells, but they will become less frequent and deep, and you will become more constant in your feelings.  This is what can happen if you decide to love.  (page 104)
If we all live like this, gaining our worth and significance from Yahweh and from there deciding to be loving to our spouses, then our marriages will be awesome!

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