Thursday, February 16, 2012

The Meaning of Marriage

Recently, Luke & I bought Tim Keller's new book, The Meaning of Marriage. And let me tell's probably the best marriage book i've read so far. so encouraging, convicting, easy to read, Gospel centered, and applicable! oh, and very well written too. we really benefited from it and hope you do, as well. below are some excerpts that spoke to my heart:

So, what do you need to make marriage work? You need to know the secret, the gospel, and how it gives you both the power and pattern for your marriage. On the one hand, the experience of marriage will unveil the beauty and depths of the gospel to you. It will drive you further into reliance on it. On the other hand, a greater understanding of the gospel will help you experience deeper and deeper union with each other as the years go on...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 is this: We are more sinful and flawed in ourselves than we ever dared believe, yet at the very same time we are more loved and accepted in Jesus Christ than we ever dared hope. This is the only kind of relationship that will really transform us. ~ p. 47-48

Only if you have learned to serve others by the power of the Holy Spirit will you have the power to face the challenges of marriage...The Holy Spirit's ministry is to take truths about Jesus and make them clear to our minds and real to our hearts - so real that they console and empower and change us at our very center. ~ p. 51

If we look to our spouses to fill up our 'tanks' in a way that only God can do, we are demanding an impossibility. ~ p. 52

The gospel message should both humble and lift the believer up at the same time...We don't have to keep records and accounts anymore. We can forgive freely and freely receive. ~ p. 56

But the gospel, brought home to your heart by the Spirit, can make you happy enough to be humble, giving you an internal fullness that frees you to be generous with the other even when you are not getting the satisfaction you want out of the relationship. Without the help of the Spirit, without a continued refilling of your soul's tank with the glory and love of the Lord, such submission to the interests of the other is virtually impossible to accomplish for any length of time without becoming have a marriage that sings requires a Spirit-created ability to serve, to take yourself out of the center, to put the needs of others ahead of your own...the deep happiness that marriage can bring, then, lies on the far side of sacrificial service in the power of the Spirit. That is, you can only discover your own happiness after each of you has put the happiness of your spouse ahead of your own, in a sustained way, in response to what Jesus has done for you...Seek to serve one another than to be happy, and you will find a new and deeper happiness. ~ p. 58-59

this one really got me: [it's on the topic of long-standing unresolved conflict and patterns of pride/selfishness in marriage that have gone unaddressed]: And so what follows is the development of emotional distance and, perhaps, a slowly negotiated kind of detente or cease-fire. There is an unspoken agreement not to talk about some things. There are some things your spouse does that you hate, but you stop talking about them as long as he or she stops bothering you about certain other things. No one changes for the other, there is only tit-for-tat bargaining. Couples who settle for this kind of relationship may look happily married after forty years, but when it's time for the anniversary photo-op, the kiss will be forced. ~ p. 64 (emphasis added)

The Christian principle that needs to be at work is Spirit-generated selflessness-not thinking less of yourself or more of yourself but thinking of yourself less. It means taking your mind off yourself and realizing that in Christ you needs are going to be met and are, in fact, being met so that you don't look at your spouse as your Savior. ~ p. 66

Paul says that if these things [need of approval, anger, pride in maintaining reputation, bitterness, tit-for-tat dealing with your spouse] is a greater controlling influence on you than the reality of God's love for you, you will not be in a position to serve others unselfishly. Only out of the fear of the Lord Jesus will we be liberated to serve one another. ~ p. 68 (emphasis added)

There is so much more i could write but i pray this gives you an idea of how great the book is. pick up a copy today ~ next to crying out to the Lord and reading His word, it just might be the best thing you can do for your marriage. seriously.

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