Friday, May 23, 2014

real talk // the essence of marriage

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

catch up on past posts here:

love is a verb. it is an action more than an emotion. 

in those dark and uncertain times. in those later years when struggles abound. it is not emotion that will get you through. it is commitment. the essence of marriage is the covenant. because with a covenant, the good of the whole takes importance over the needs of each part individually. 

but the marriage covenant isn't just made to each other, it is also made to God. meaning that there are two parts to the covenant - a horizontal part and a vertical part. my dad always explained it to me like a triangle.
the closer the husband & the wife grow to God, the closer they will grow to each other.

the commitment of marriage provides a space where we can feel secure and be vulnerable. this commitment is made on the wedding day, but it is a commitment of future love. a commitment to be faithful and true regardless of the way we feel. 

the reason God designed marriage this way is because He knows that relationships need time to dig deep roots. it is the covenant that gives the relationship stability and time to be able to grow. because emotions are not the only thing at play, the relationship is given a chance to grow strong and deep. 

culture would tell us otherwise, but there is freedom in covenant. it may seem like you have less freedom at first, but in deep relationship there is freedom to be yourself with that person you trust more than anything.

i love how Tim discusses passion and promise. passion drives you to relationship and the wedding promise. but the promise over the years is what makes the passion deep. there is satisfaction in being both known and loved. 

"when over the years someone has seen you at your worst, and knows you with all your strengths and flaws, yet commits him- or herself to you wholly, it is a consummate experience."

when we first feel like we love someone, it is really the feelings and experiences they gives us that we love. we can't truly love someone until we truly know them. it takes years to fully know someone and that is why the covenant is important. "only with time do we really learn who the other person is and come to love the person for him- or herself. . .only with time do we learn the particular needs of our spouse and how to meet them."

the reason we need a covenant rather than just emotions is because emotions are inconsistent. just because we don't feel love doesn't mean that we can't give it. in fact, acting in love especially when we don't feel loving, helps us to change our feelings through our actions over time. i love how C.S. Lewis states it "do not waste time bothering whether you 'love' your neighbor; act as if you did." 

because that is how Christ loves us. He doesn't love us because we're lovely, but rather, we are lovely because He loves us. 


  1. That's a good C.S. Lewis quote about acting in love! =)

  2. it's one of my favorite quotes of all time! that man is so brilliant! :)