Books that shape me: Marriage



Last week I wrote about how marriage has been more like a rock tumbler for us than a merry-go-round. One of the biggest influences in marriage for me has been books that God has used to teach me His words and His heart for marriage.

I'm going to share some of the truths from these books that have stuck with me and shaped my thinking about my marriage.

Tim Keller's The Meaning of Marriage

This one taught me the simple idea of recognizing that God is at work in my husband. As a new creation of God, my husband is God's masterpiece. I can look forward to all that God will do in him, cooperating with God in that work, and then being patient as God does His work in us both! I can recognize when the "old us" shows itself and know that person is not who we really are now.

Here's are some great chunks from that book (the bolds are mine):
"My wife, Kathy, often says that most people, when they are looking for a spouse, are looking for a finished statue when they should be looking for a wonderful block of marble. Not so you can create the kind of person you want, but rather because you see what kind of person Jesus is making. When Michelangelo was asked how he carved his magnificent David, his reply is reputed to have been, 'I looked inside the marble and just took away the bits that weren't David.' When looking for a marriage partner, each must be able to look inside the other and see what God is doing and be excited about being a part of liberating the emerging 'new you' . . . In this view of marriage, each person says to the other, 'I see all your flaws, imperfections, weaknesses, dependencies. But underneath them all I see growing the person God wants you to be." (Tim Keller, The Meaning of Marriage).
"What keeps the marriage going is your commitment to your spouse's holiness. You're committed to his or her beauty. You're committed to his greatness and perfection. You're committed to her honesty and passion for the things of God. That's your job as a spouse. Any lesser goal than that, any smaller purpose, and you're just playing at being married." (Tim Keller, The Meaning of Marriage).
"On the cross, Jesus did not look down on us with a heart full of admiration and affection. He felt no 'chemistry.' But he gave himself. He put our needs ahead of his own; he sacrificed for us. But the Bible tells spouses not only to imitate the quality and manner of Christ's love but also the goal of it. Jesus died not because we were lovely, but to make us lovely." (Tim Keller, The Meaning of Marriage).

Paul David Tripp's What did you Expect? Redeeming the Realities of Marriage

This one is packed with so much truth, all wrapped around what the Gospel means for marriage, but what stuck with me was the idea of God's sovereignty over putting the two of us together (something I often wondered about in the early days when things were so hard).

Here are some truths from that book:
"When you face the fact that your marital story is all about the wisdom and will of Another, your understanding of marriage completely changes forever" (Paul David Tripp, What did you Expect?)
"The more you look at your spouse and see the imprint of God's fingers and are amazed, the more you will be able to resist the temptation to try to remake him or her in your own image . . . the more you look at your husband or wife and honor God as creator, the more you will tend to esteem and appreciate the person who you live with, who is so incredibly different from you." (Paul David Tripp, What did you Expect?)
"Our desire is that our marriages would be the location of our comfort, ease, and enjoyment; we often have desires no bigger than this. But God's purpose is that each of our marriages would be a tool for something that is way more miraculous and glorious than our tiny, little, self-focused definition of happiness. He has designed marriage to be one of his most effective and efficient tools of personal holiness. He has designed your marriage to change you." (Paul David Tripp, What did you Expect?)
I hope these encourage you in your marriage journey!

What are you favorite marriage books or lessons?

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