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The Mystery of Marriage: Meditations on the Miracle

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4.17 of 5 stars 4.17  ·  rating details  ·  430 ratings  ·  62 reviews
In his now-classic volume, offered for the first time in trade paperback, Mike Mason makes a poetic search for understanding of the wondrous dynamics of committed love. In highly readable, first-person style, Mason muses on everyday miracles within marriage, and frankly addresses the demands to self which true oneness requires. "A marriage is not a joining of two worlds," ...more
Paperback, 220 pages
Published August 30th 2001 by Multnomah (first published June 1st 1985)
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Carlos Pellot
There are a lot of books on marriage published out there. Many of them are excellent although I cannot say I've read many. All I can say is that I've read The Mystery of Marriage three times and it simply gets better with each reading. This is truly an unusual book because of its comtemplative/meditative approach to the sacrament of marriage. The treatment Mike Mason gives to his subject would be similar to a radiologist examining xrays. You have to look closely, intently, and patiently to be ab ...more
Steve Hemmeke
An elder statesman pastor recommended it a while ago, and I picked it up just before doing some pre-marital counseling. It's very different from the usual marriage book, and what a relief that is! It's a bit wordy and rhetorical, but also thought-provoking. Dealing honestly with the marital relationship, Mason also interweaves Christ's relationship to His people throughout, right at those "aha" insights into the husband/wife relationship.

I'd recommend this for those who have been married for 10
...more
Jonathan
A very spiritual view of marriage. Neat things to think about, but the practicality sometimes gets lost in the extremely flowery language.
Nathan
Few books arrest my attention and captivate my mind like The Mystery of Marriage has. Mason's prose is magnificent, and his chapters are extended meditations. It's a slow read that prompts reflection, prayer and conversation. This is not a "what is marriage" book or a "how to relationship" volume. He goes beyond merely describing marriage or offering relationship advice. He wrestles with marriage's transcendent and immanent qualities, making the daily ups and downs divine encounters. The Mystery ...more
Stevie
Mar 21, 2009 Stevie marked it as to-read  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: jordan brooks, lynda infante, lauren petrick, josh adams, jody olsen
Shelves: spiritual-kog
This book was recommended to me by my counselor. He said it was the best book he has ever read on marriage so I decided to read it. It was encouraging and insightful. I definitely recommend it.

Poignant Quotes:

There is nothing in the world worse than a bad marriage, and at the same time nothing better than a good one.

We long for our whole body to tingle with the thrill of knowing that this one fascinating being, this being of a different gender, has been created especially for us and given to us
...more
Kayl Parker
This book had a few jems, that served more as advice to those planning a life long marriage. However, I was quickly annoyed by the style of writing which seemed to be the words of a smart man trying to convince the reader that he is smart, smarter, in fact, than them. He also had a limited vocabulary, and an affinity for the word insidious (which he used as many times as he could). And I can't skirt around it; the chapters on sex and death were nothing but weird and mildly creepy. I gave it thre ...more
sharon
This is hands down the best book about Christian marriage that I have ever read. Not a how-to guide, but rather a paean to good marriage and its transformative power in believers' lives. I particularly appreciated that Mason didn't assume a "we're salvaging a wrecked ship" attitude, which so many relationship books take, but rather took a position of awe and wonder. Bonus points for not being filled with fictionalized accounts of good, bad, and indifferent marriages!

reread in May 2014 -- differe
...more
Renada Thompson
This is one of three nonfiction books that have made me cry. I picked this one up after greatly enjoying Mike Mason's The Violet Flash.
This is a literary look at marriage that will speak deeply to lovers of Lewis and A Severe Mercy. Don't mistake it for a "how to fix your relationship" book; instead it reminds us WHY we feel so deeply for another person in the first place.
Kipahni
Deep. Not something I could read very quick, every sentence to be weighed in the heart and mind.
Having had cancer I totally identified with the last chapter on death (my version of the book being the not new edition)
Death being a way of wanting you to appriciate and love your spouse with a deeper passion because of the constant reminder of the mortality of the other person and oneself. As my favorite song from Death Cab for Cutie says "Love is watching someone die... So who is gonna watch you di
...more
Erika
Hands down, the most profound and meaningful book I have ever read on the marriage covenant (and I've read quite a handful of Christian marriage books!). This is NOT a practical, how-to, step-by-step, tips for the married couple type of book. This book is pure poetry - spiritual, earthy, and intimate - taking the reader into the sensual and challenging daily walk of marriage. Mason is a poet at heart. He knows the perfect words to bring his readers into the Father's heart and design for marriage ...more
LuAnn
The author writes every thought with such poetic language and exaggerated imagery that I was turned off, and I like metaphors and poetry! I think this book suits some people, but not me. As others have said, it's not at all a practical, how-to sort of book, though the one chapter I liked best was the most practical one.
Jessie
This is not a how-to marriage book (which I knew before I started it). It is a poetic description of marriage and I'm not a fan of poetry. I know a lot of people LOVE this book but for me I did not enjoy reading about hawks circling in the air (and what they represented for the author).
Scott
This is by no means a 'how do I marriage' book, and anyone who thinks and critiques otherwise despite the title and the opening remarks by the author argues from a moot base.

That being said, as a legally single person wishing to reflect on the paradoxical nature of marriage, this book does a great job at walking through the various stages of marriage, both before, during, and after death and reflecting on the nature of the relationship within each stage and how it's reflected within the Bible. W
...more
Jeremy
This isn't so much a book on marriage, as it is a meditation on God's love for His chosen creation. It reads poetically and at time even mystically. It is, simply, beautiful. I found it particularly refreshing given that marriage today is so watered down and mundane in its portrayal. Whether on the screen or in talking to friends, you very rarely hear the nice, comforting, encouraging aspects of a healthy marriage. Instead it is portrayed more as an obligation one would rather forgo.

No so in Th
...more
Kim
It took me a long time to read this b/c I lost it for about 6 months, but it was a good book on marriage. My favorite quotes:

"Even more painful and bewildering to cope with are all the good and healthy things that must be renounced or postponed or watered down on account of the demands imposed by marriage. How many deep friendships that might have been rendered impractical by marriage, or at least take a backseat to the primary friendship with one's spouse?"
and
"When couples observe (as they a
...more
Anne429
A very philosophical meditation on the theology of marriage. Focus on one's Individual experience with reference to the scriptures. Love the author's sensitivity but couldn't help ask this question: are the insights from the author universal principles or are they the endowed grace of a particular marriage case? The author views his marriage as a calling. I hope he would discuss more about the initial discerning process of such calling, rather than focus on how to "cope with" or " justify" such ...more
Kristin
Apr 26, 2008 Kristin rated it 3 of 5 stars  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: people preparing for marriage
Recommended to Kristin by: Kerilyn
It took me awhile to get through this book because it almost requires you to read it in short sections, thinking about each before moving on to the next one. But I am finished now, and the book was very interesting. Basically, unlike the other marriage books I've ready, this one doesn't give much advice. The author simply meditates on many different aspects of marriage, describing the effects of what you do on them, and describing the problems that can occur if you choose to be selfish and not t ...more
Tim
This book stands out as very different from the host of marriage books I have come across. It is more mystical and contemplative, and doesn't deal in as many of the stereotypes we are used to seeing about the differences between men and women. My wife tells me he is too wordy, so if that's not your bag then stay away, but if you're willing to read a chapter slowly, there's a lot to be gained. He's very honest about the reasons why we find marriage to be so difficult at times, while also pointing ...more
Teresa
Not one to breeze through as the language is flowery and poetic. This is my second reading, almost 30 years into my marriage, and like marriage, the book is richer than at the beginning.

Not a how-to manual, but a guide to seeing God in the person to whom we have promised our life.
Natalie
"The very experience of falling in love, indeed, is that of God giving one person to another. Only He can do that. Only God can give people away."
Sarah
Dec 21, 2009 Sarah rated it 4 of 5 stars  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: christian couples seeking marriage or engagement
Kyle ( a previous boyfriend of approximately 4 years) and I read this book as well as Saving Your Marriage Before It Starts by Drs. Les and Leslie Parrot, both of which are highly regarded by pre-marital counselors.
We enjoyed both and gleaned good information from both of the books. However, Mason's is much more a theological and idealogical book while the Parrot's is more practical.
We ultimately ended our relationship, deciding that we were not compatible for marriage, but don't let that keep
...more
Angspendlove
I especially liked the chapter called "Submission" and I also liked "Otherness". He writes some interesting insights about Christ being married to the Church and the similarities of marriage between a man and woman. His writing style is more poetic meditations rather than instructive or informative which makes it slow going (at least for me).
The copy I read was subtitled "As Iron Sharpens Iron" not "Meditations on the Miracle" but it's the same book with the exception of a new chapter.
Kirstin
I really like this book. I found myself going over and over passages to be sure I'd gotten the full meaning of them. There were so many amazing insights into the nature and purpose of marriage and how it relates to God's plan for us. I usually read pretty quickly but this is one to be read slowly and pondered and savored. I will finish it, but it will be in due time. I'm still working on it, but thought I should probably move it off my "reading" list since it's been there so long.
Jason
Jun 04, 2008 Jason rated it 5 of 5 stars  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: Married Christians or Christians planning to get married.
Recommended to Jason by: One of my wife's friends.
I thoroughly enjoyed this book! Mike writes this more as a meditative journal entry than a how-to book. He explores all of the wonderful mysteries of marriage and how they compare to the mysteries of knowing and being united with Jesus. I was especially intrigued by his chapters on "Death" and "Oneness". I would highly recommend this book to anyone who is married or considering marriage. It's a great tool to inspire meditation and reflection.
Andrea Jardon
This was by far hands down the most amazing book on marriage I have ever read. It is not a this is what you should do or marriage should look like type of book. It is all about the "mystery" of marriage as it relates to God and how He created it and His intentions for it. It will get you thinking so deeply and be so amazed at God's perfect plan in marriage. It sparks such a sweetness to the concept of marriage. I love this book!
Abby Bartels
Feb 04, 2014 Abby Bartels rated it 4 of 5 stars  ·  review of another edition
Recommended to Abby by: Rosie Button
I found this really inspiring about the ideal of marriage is.... Not really a self-help book but a more theological/psychological explanation of why it is so hard (losing our autonomy) but why it can be such a miracle, why its worth trying, etc. Just sent it with Mark while he travels; wondering if it is more relevant to my temperament or whether he'll read it with similar perspective! :)
Ariana
WAY too esoteric and fluffy for my tastes. And the generalizations! The author writes as if everyone's experience with marriage is exactly the same as his, which I can safely say mine has not been. I'm sure it would ring true for some, but I like the books I read on marriage to be grounded squarely in Scripture and include real-life scenarios and advice.
Heather
I loved reading a book on marriage that addresses the poetic nature of it rather than chapters full of "how to." It's a philosophical reflection on marriage that serves to remind readers of the beautiful mystery of marriage as intended by God to be a reflection of his relationship with the church. It is challenging and refreshing all at the same time.
Stephanie Strumberger
Apr 07, 2008 Stephanie Strumberger rated it 5 of 5 stars
Recommends it for: anybody
Recommended to Stephanie by: Amy Pico
My husband (fiance at the time) read this book in preparation for marriage, and were given a sneak peek into what real marriage would be like, including the ugliness that you might see at times...it helped us to go into marriage knowing that it would not be a fairytale, but that it would be a beautiful thing because of it's struggles.
Kelli
This book is amazing. It raises the bar on the biblical view of marriage and it redeems it to what it ought to be. I feel like anyone/ everyone should read this, especially in lieu of our society's view of marriage and the cynicism that tends to accompany it. It's poetic, refreshing, and most of mine is underlined.
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Mike Mason is the best-selling, award-winning author of The Blue Umbrella, The Mystery of Marriage, The Gospel According to Job, Champagne for the Soul, Twenty-One Candles, and many others. He has an M.A. in English and has studied theology at Regent College. He lives in Langley, BC, Canada, with his wife.
More about Mike Mason...
The Blue Umbrella: A Novel The Gospel According to Job: An Honest Look at Pain and Doubt from the Life of One Who Lost Everything Practicing the Presence of People: How We Learn to Love Champagne for the Soul: Celebrating God's Gift of Joy The Violet Flash

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“There is no trick of a magician or spell of a witch doctor, no drug or mesmerism or bribery or torture or coercion that can compare in power with the force for change unleashed in the human breast through the touch of love.” 3 likes
“so the best marriages and the deepest relationships with God grow out of the startling discovery that there is nothing one can do to earn love, and even more startling, that there is also nothing one can do to unlearn it, or to keep oneself from being loved. This is a religious awakening that is utterly different from any other religious experience, no matter how profoundly spiritual it may seem.” 2 likes
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