Friday, March 14, 2014

real talk // the secret of marriage

this is my first installment of my series on The Meaning of Marriage by Tim Keller.

growing up, i wasn't the girl that wanted to be a Disney princess. i wasn't the girl obsessing over getting married one day. i wasn't the girl dreaming of a fairy tale. i played sports, collected toy cars, and loved adventure. but even if we don't expect a fairy tale wedding & happily ever after life... i think we all have some sort of expectations about what marriage is going to be like.

one of the driving points right at the beginning of this book is that marriage is still life. and life is hard. yes, marriage is amazing, awesome, rewarding.... but just like everything else in life, you have to work at it. just like everything else.... sometimes you will feel lost, you'll cry, you'll feel defeated & exhausted.

& even though all of that is true.... it is still the most important relationship you will enter. it is the relationship that will show you Christ like none other. it is the relationship that will shape your heart the most. it is the relationship that will show you what grace means, what selflessness looks like. it is, as Tim states, "the most painful, the most wonderful."

"Therefore a man shall leave his father and mother and hold fast to his wife, and the two shall become one flesh. This mystery is profound..."
Ephesians 5:31-32

if you've been married for a day, you know that marriage is the greatest accountability relationship you will ever have. your spouse sees (most) everything that you do. if you were living by yourself, you could spend $600 and no one would know. however, your spouse will hold you accountable to spending money wisely. Tim states, "nothing can mature character like marriage" and he is so right! marriage pushes you to mature because you are now considering another person besides yourself. (even when you don't want to)

society may have you think marriage is about bringing you happiness. your spouse is meant to meet your needs. marriage is meant to bring you fulfillment. but that is unrealistic and that's not Biblical marriage. marriage isn't about "me" it's about "us". your spouse is meant to complement you & you are meant to complement your spouse, but only Jesus will complete both of you. marriage is meant to teach you more about God, teach you how to give grace freely, teach you how to be a servant, push you towards Jesus.

you won't marry the "right" person.

i think this is the biggest expectation we have - we meet someone & fall in love & are convinced that this is the right person! then, a few years down the road either we are different, they are different, or we're both different. and we don't seem to fit together quite as well anymore. are they no longer the right person? no one on earth is going to be 100% the "right" person for us all the time. simply because we live in a broken world, we are broken, sinful, self centered people. marriage is more about making us holy than making us happy or comfortable.

think of yourself when you were 7 years old. think of your dreams, your desires, your interests. now think of yourself today. any chance those dreams, desires, interests are different? that's because we continue to change, every day. so to say we want to marry the "right" person - well we can never know if the "right" person today will still be the "right" fit for us in the future after both of us change.

Tim says it best when he says "Marriage brings you into more intense proximity to another human being than any other relationship can. Therefore, the moment you marry someone, you and your spouse begin to change in profound ways, and you can't know ahead of time what those changes will be. so you don't know, you can't know, who your spouse will actually be in the future until you get there. . . Over the years you will go through seasons in which you have to learn to love a person who you didn't marry, who is something of a stranger. You will have to make changes that you don't want to make, and so will your spouse."

so what is the secret of marriage?

Paul tells us by how he finishes Ephesians 5:32 "This mystery is profound, and I am saying that it refers to Christ and the church."

husbands should do for their wives what Christ did for the church. Jesus gave himself up and became a servant. "He died to his own interests and looked to our needs and interests instead. . . This is one of God's great purposes in marriage: to picture the relationship between Christ and His redeemed people forever."

marriage works when we both willingly demonstrate God's selfless love through Christ towards each other.

"You need to know the secret, the gospel, and how it gives you both the power and pattern for your marriage. . . The reason that marriage is so painful and yet wonderful is because it is a reflection of the gospel, which is painful and wonderful at once. . . The gospel can fill our hearts with God's love so that you can handle it when your spouse fails to love you as he or she should."


  1. The Meaning of Marriage was my favorite marriage book that we read. I love the part about the "perfect person"!

  2. I love this post!!!! I really need to read this book - I keep hearing about it!

  3. Right now I'm reading "Sacred Marriage", and it sounds like these two books share some big themes. I think the idea of marriage as a means of sanctification, or as a character-builder, is so eye-opening, it's definitely been an idea that I feel like I wan to share with everyone!

  4. This is so good! I've heard a lot about this book, I definitely need to check it out.

  5. We had to read Sacred Marriage for our premarital counseling - and it does sound a lot like The Meaning of Marriage. The idea that the purpose of marriage is not to make us happy, but to make us more like Christ has been life-changing in our relationship.

  6. Thanks for this reminder, Robyn! Daniel has never really believed in "the one" - and that was really hard for me at the beginning of our relationship, but as I read books like Sacred Marriage, I realized that he's right. There's not a Mr. "Right" because we're all broken and sinful and at some point or another our brokenness is going to clash. I'm definitely glad I figured that out before I got married, or I would be up for some disappointment!

  7. Your marriage posts are amazing!

  8. oh yes! that was something i definitely needed to read! :) i loved this book when i read it pre-marriage & reading it on the other side is just so, so good!

  9. so funny! i have that book on my list to read!! :) i just love books like these because it makes me really think about why marriage was created in the first place - for our holiness and not necessarily/solely for our happiness!

  10. thank you friend! :) it is such a great read - you should definitely get it! :)

  11. it is a really great book & i think i may go through it every few years as a reminder!

  12. i have Sacred Marriage on my list of books to read! i've heard so many good things about it! i just love books like these because they really just challenge me over & over again and help my perspective to be an eternal one! i had similar struggles with "the one" - i guess as girls growing up with fairytales & Disney movies it's kinda conditioned!

  13. thanks!! this book is really good & challenging! :)

  14. Absolutely beautiful and there's so much truth here! Thanks for linkin up to Sunday FUNday! Featuring you this weekend! XO