The Meaning of Marriage: Facing the Complexities of Commitment with the Wisdom of God
Review by Dr. Jay Lorenzen, Faculty Commons Leadership Team and retired Air Force Academy Political Science Professor
Laurie and I needed help. You’d think we would have figured this marriage thing out. It’s been over 36 years since we said “I do.” We’ve got four married kids, 11 grandkids, and a desire to walk with God. But we had grown lazy over the years. The river of years was carrying us downstream to a port where an “ok” marriage seemed all we could hope for.
Tim and Kathy Keller helped turn us around. Their book, The Meaning of Marriage, pointed us back upstream and put oars in our hands. Why float down to some kind of “qualified lesser” marriage? Marriage is “hard, it’s also glorious” the Kellers write. And God intends it to be an adventure worth all our blood, sweat, and tears. This book reminded us that God actually planned to take both the humbling defeats and the exhausting victories of our lives lived together and mysteriously display his glory and his Kingdom to the world.
One simple point, in particular, grabbed us.
When God brought the first man his spouse, he brought him not just a lover but the friend his heart had been seeking.
Marriage-as-friendship miraculously combines natural and supernatural elements for the Christ-follower. When our spouse becomes not just our lover and financial partner but our best friend, we move toward adventure and fulfillment–a journey where we help each other become our glory-selves, the new creations that God will eventually make us.
Here are some more of their “friendship” insights:
- Actions of love lead to feelings of love.
- Marriage is a friendship to be nurtured with constancy, transparency, and a common passion. It cannot be merely about itself; but something both friends are committed to and passionate about besides one another. For Christians, that commitment and passion is for Christ.
- Each spouse should commit to being a vehicle for the great work that Jesus is doing in the life of their mate.
- Your spouse IS the “someone better” you’re looking for! This is true if you see him or her in terms of the glory God intends for them, a work to which you are called.
Laurie and I wished we had understood more of this. The years of floating downstream might have been fewer. But we’re thankful now to take the oar in hand and by God’s enabling to work upstream toward both a better and more fulfilling marriage.