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The Meaning of Marriage: Facing the Complexities of Commitment with the Wisdom of God

4.47  ·  Rating details ·  21,736 ratings  ·  1,489 reviews
Renowned pastor of New York’s Redeemer Presbyterian Church and author of The Songs of Jesus, Timothy Keller with his wife of 36 years, delivers The Meaning of Marriage, an extraordinarily insightful look at the keys to happiness in marriage that will inspire Christians, skeptics, singles, long-time married couples, and those about to be engaged.

Modern culture would make yo
Hardcover, 288 pages
Published November 1st 2011 by Dutton Adult
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Mandla marriage refers to ongoing process of doing things together
Amariah Dixon A sacred relationship between a man and woman that depicts Christ and the Church. It is a representation of the Gospel.

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J.R. Forasteros
Sep 22, 2012 rated it it was amazing
Shortly after I posted my review of Mark Driscoll’s Real Marriage, which failed as a book on marriage, many sympathetic to Driscoll told me to get the forthcoming The Meaning of Marriage by Tim Keller. Tim is the pastor of Redeemer Presbyterian Church on the island of Manhattan. He’s also a New Calvinist and a co-founder of the Gospel Coalition, which apparently believes you have to be Complementarian to be a real Christian. To say I was nervous to dive in would be an understatement, but dive in ...more
Eric Molicki
Dec 20, 2011 rated it it was amazing
Recommends it for: EVERYONE!
Shelves: marriage
Eric to Alice: Guess what?
Alice: What?
Eric: We've been doing this marriage thing WRONG for the past 20 years!!
Alice: Keller's book was that good, huh?
Eric: Yup.

Has instantly become the first priority of my premarital and marital required reading lists. I have already planned to re-read it with Alice in the coming 3 months. I'm sooo excited to love my bride in a way that is richer and more glorious than anything we have tasted thus far. I actually leave the book so much more encouraged about what
Barnabas Piper
Jan 03, 2012 rated it it was amazing
Simply the best book on marriage I have read. It is the most complete, the most balanced, the most comprehensive - all without dragging or bogging the reader down. It is not just a book about how to have a good marriage but a foundation for what marriage is, an ideal resource for both married and yet-to-be-married alike.
Sep 03, 2012 rated it it was ok
Promising as this book seems to be, "The Meaning of Marriage" turns out to be an overly general, repetitive, and flawed treatment of marriage.

At first, I loved the book. Keller starts with an insightful analysis of the motives behind marriage (or the lack thereof) in contemporary America. Unlike previous generations, this generation sees marriage, if achieved, as 'self-realization': a relationship in which both partners are ideal, in need of no character development, and thus able to provide ce
Chuck Bonadies
Feb 16, 2012 rated it it was amazing
Let me begin with a confession: I'm not a big fan of books on marriage. Not that I don't think that marriage is important. On the contrary, it is ordained of God. My contention is that most modern books on marriage make little contribution to the subject (other than saying things in a slightly different manner than the others)and almost all of them ascribe to the 'mutual needs fallacy' ("If you respect him, he will love you. And the reason she doesn't respect you is because you are not loving he ...more
May 14, 2012 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition

In the introduction, Tim describes he and his wife Kathy, in the early days of their courtship, gradually realizing "that the other was a rare fit for [their] hearts." They shared, he says, the "secret thread" that C.S. Lewis says makes people good friends: "You may have noticed that the books you really love are bound together by a secret thread. You know very well what is the common quality that makes you love them, though you cannot put it into words:...Are not all lifelong friend
Mar 10, 2012 rated it it was amazing
A "single person's review"... Read it!!
It's not just because of the marriage insights. [But those are great!] Great reminders and challenges for me, even though not all of it was new. But still, is it relevant to single people *now*? [or wait until you're married] YES, it is! The Meaning of Marriage is gospel-centric [which got my interest and inclined me toward reading it in the first place]. Keller frames marriage in the context of living out the gospel, that the gospel is truly what allows u
Nov 18, 2012 rated it liked it
I have teetered back and forth between rating this with 3 or 4 stars, but ultimately gave it 3 stars because of the latter half of the book was found repetitive and also lacking in regards to gender roles within marriage, sex, and singleness. I contemplated 4 stars because I do appreciate the overall picture that this book helps to draw in creating a realistic picture of marriage and appropriate expectations for what it should bring about in your life. In the first few chapters, Keller proposes ...more
Chris McGrath
Sep 24, 2012 rated it it was amazing
Recommends it for: All Christians, especially unmarried ones
This goes on my must-read list for all unmarried Christians, and on my should-read list for all married Christians. No, seriously: if you're a single/divorced Christian, put this on the top of your list immediately.

In his book Altar Ego , Craig Groeschel said, "If you don't know the purpose of something, all you can do is misuse it." Sadly, I see huge numbers of people, many of them Christians, misusing marriage because they don't know its purpose. They not only misuse it once they get marrie
Jun 09, 2013 rated it it was amazing
I wish I had read this book years ago. I really and truly do. I think I'm going to lend my copy to some of my friends as well. It's that good.

The Kellers tag team through the book, discussing love, sex, and marriage. They offer the cultural narrative, the "Christian" one, and offer an insight to what the Bible really has to say. Instead of being heavy, the book is incredibly life-giving.

They talk about sex.
They talk about gender roles.
They talk about balancing expectations.
They talk about divor
Jul 17, 2012 rated it it was amazing
Can I give this book 6 stars?! This is a powerful, helpful, encouraging book because it brings the power of the gospel to marriage. "Do for your spouse what God did for you in Jesus, and the rest will follow". Typical Tim Keller -- warm, clear, addresses Christians and non-Christians equally, culturally well informed and relevant, speaking from firm theological convictions without seeming overly dogmatic. Kathy Keller's influence is evident, meaning the book should be accesible for both men and ...more
Keren Threlfall

The front flyleaf of The Meaning of Marriage: Facing the Complexities of Commitment with the Wisdom of God makes a rather bold statement: "There has never been a book on marriage like The Meaning of Marriage." That seems a rather audacious assertion; but by the time I finished the book, I think I'd concede to read that claim on the back flyleaf, as well.
Many marriage books leave me scratching my head, banging my head, or really, really thankful I'm married to the man I am. This boo
Jan 30, 2018 rated it it was amazing
"This is an excellent book for newlyweds, singles and long married couples. The chapter on Loving the Stranger is worth the price of the book. I think many young people go into marriage believing it's all love and romance. They are surprised when they realize that they didn't really know their spouse at all. Also, the struggles of the early years of marriage are real. Here is some real encouragement to understand it's all part of the process of growing together. Marriage reveals character flaws ...more
♥ Sarah
Nov 14, 2017 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: christian
The Meaning of Marriage is a deeply profound, meaningful, and radical biblical understanding of marriage that everyone could benefit from (believers & nonbelievers alike).


The book could have been shorter and filled with more interpretation of biblical text rather than excerpts of articles and research done by secular sociologists, but it gives good context to compare modern Westernized notions of marriage & compatibility versus what the bible says.

There is also a lot of repetition
Christian Barrett
Tim and Kathy Keller do a fantastic job of getting at the core of marriage. In a society that says marriage is lame, that gender roles are wicked, and that sex is about getting whatever you want the Keller’s desires to point readers back to the Gospel of Jesus Christ when it comes to marriage is a refreshing and powerful take. They demonstrate that marriage is not about us, nor was it ever supposed to be. Marriage is about God, the gospel, and pointing others (including our spouse) to His glory. ...more
Apr 13, 2019 rated it it was amazing
What I thought was going to be a highly instructional and lofty kind of book actually turned out to be one of my favorites that I’ve read! I admired the first few chapters that just go over “What is marriage?” instead of assuming everyone who picks up this book already knows and fully comprehends every book and cranny of this great mystery. While Tim is the credited author, the best chapter for me was the chapter his wife Kathy wrote and her point of view and how she very much complements him an ...more
Emily Valentine
May 13, 2020 rated it it was amazing
I wholeheartedly recommend this book for those single/engaged/married. This profoundly added to my faith and understanding of marriage. I hope this book encourages and helps you (whatever stage that may be) as much as it did me!
Daniel Ligon
Fantastic! Biblical and counter-cultural.
Denis  Ispan
Apr 04, 2018 rated it it was amazing
Well documented book and very good Biblical foundation.
This is one of the wisest books I've read on marriage. Tim Keller is a pastor in New York City, leading a church of thousands that includes a large presence of singles. A few of the features that help this book stand out among the crowd of Christian marriage books are...

1) A clear and convincing assessment of our Western cultural values around sex, dating, and marriage. For example, he explores how people are increasingly and simultaneously cynical about marriage and idealistic about what they t
Amariah Dixon
Jan 24, 2018 rated it it was amazing
I highly recommend this book for any newlyweds, engaged couples, those considering marriage, and those who are already married! Much of it is common sense, which many, unfortunately, do not possess. The advice and wisdom Timothy Keller gives is very beneficial and important for those who are struggling in their relationship, learning about marriage, and/or just wish for some good advice on what to expect, how to cope in difficult situations, and what to do. His Biblical principles are spot-on an ...more
Jun 26, 2014 rated it really liked it
I have over the years read several books on marriage, all them invariably mediocre or bad. This book, however, it is quite good. Keller recognizes that marriage is an important picture of Christ and the Church and that understanding marriage is not a topic only for married people. As a result, most of his discussion is focused on Christ and the Church. He also has a chapter specifically addressed to single people. He points out that singleness is not God's "plan B" for your life, but people are ...more
Dec 26, 2012 rated it liked it
I got this book as a gift and I liked it, but I had some serious issues with the stereotyping going on in the book. It seemed as if every few pages, the author was saying that non-Christians are sex crazed and only care about money. I feel like loving others shouldn't be an 'us versus them' thing... However, I'm definitely too biased because my husband and I lived together before we were married and don't go to church much because of some bad experiences.

However, this would be a good book to acc
Nathan Schneider
Mar 28, 2015 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: marriage
Tim Keller, alongside of his wife, Kathy, writes a great book on marriage, sex, and singleness. Keller, a pastor in New York City, elevates the place of marriage, sex, and singleness, while at the same time challenging contemporary idols that both non-Christians and Christians often hold on to as they relate to relationships. His work is biblically grounded and very practical. He does an effective job of grounding each of these relational elements in the glory of God. Marriage points to the grea ...more
Feb 02, 2015 rated it did not like it
Shelves: nonfiction
I hated this book so much I couldn't bear to finish it. If you're looking for a traditional, anti-feminist view of marriage that is Jesusy enough to make you barf, this is it. Our marriage counselor recommended this book for us to read as a newly married couple, but we couldn't stomach it and it definitely isn't "us." It seems like this is more for our parents' generation or people stuck in that mindset.
Jessica Manuel
Dec 11, 2015 rated it it was amazing
I’m not sure a less sentimental book on marriage actually exists. In the introduction, Keller states that this book is for those who have experienced the notion that the honeymoon is over and have fallen back to Earth with a thud...

Read my full review here:
Daniel Souza
Dec 09, 2015 rated it it was amazing
2nd time reading this. Excellent book with a unique postmodern angle/emphasis. Keller's strength, by far, is that he has his finger on the pulse of this generation and is able to speak pointedly to it with gospel clarity.
Igor Putina
Aug 25, 2017 rated it it was amazing
Great book, recommend it highly to anyone who likes reading and wants a healthy perspective on marriage.
Jul 05, 2018 rated it it was amazing
This is the single best book on marriage I have ever read. Most marriage books tend to explain a few verses from scripture, but mostly consist of a husband and wife (usually the husband speaking for himself and his wife) giving practical insight into how marriage can work better. Such books are helpful, but they are often greatly lacking in the theology department. This book, however, is a Biblical theology on marriage - no more and no less - and is the only one I have ever read or found. Tim Ke ...more
Ronia Dubbaneh
Sep 23, 2018 rated it really liked it
Pretty good stuff. I read this over the summer so I don’t recall exact thoughts, but I do remember loving the chapters on marriage as a best-friendship; how to love and serve each other despite incompatibilities; and how to love & embrace “the other” - the person you did not know your spouse actually was.

This book keeps things real and exposes the realities of marriage, but counteracts them with truth about its beautiful purposes. Although it’s written from a Christian worldview, I remember thin
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Librarian Note: There is more than one author in the Goodreads database with this name.

Timothy Keller is the founding pastor of Redeemer Presbyterian Church in Manhattan, which he started in 1989 with his wife, Kathy, and three young sons. For over twenty years he has led a diverse congregation of young professionals that has grown to a weekly attendance of over 5,000.

He is also Chairman of Redeem

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