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

4.45  ·  Rating details ·  27,750 ratings  ·  1,861 reviews


In Love and Marriage, based on his most popular sermon series, New York Times-bestselling author Timothy Keller delivers an extraordinarily insightful look at the keys to happiness in marriage.

Hardcover, 244 pages
Published November 1st 2011 by Hodder & Stoughton
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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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 ·  27,750 ratings  ·  1,861 reviews

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JR. Forasteros
Sep 22, 2012 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
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  ·  review of another edition
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  ·  review of another edition
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  ·  review of another edition
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  ·  review of another edition
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
Nov 18, 2012 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
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
I wanted to get a Biblical view of what Marriage means... what is expected and why marriage is important in the eyes of God.
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
Courtney Warren
Jun 14, 2021 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Finally finished this work after stopping it for nearly two years -- so glad I picked it back up when I did. So honest, so convicting, so encouraging.
Excited to see Clara's review!
Mar 10, 2012 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
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
Chris McGrath
Sep 24, 2012 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
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  ·  review of another edition
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
Mar 29, 2018 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Definitely some mixed feelings about the book. I sort of mostly liked it? Maybe mostly. I think I wanted to like it more than I actually did. The first chapter was oddly repetitive and something of a chore to get through. Chapters 2 through 5 were interesting, insightful and useful, and I would absolutely recommend them to anyone with marriage on the mind in any context. Chapter 6...was a bit of a mess. Poorly constructed, often confusing (in the "that sentence didn't actually mean anything" sor ...more
Feb 02, 2015 rated it did not like it  ·  review of another edition
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. ...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
Glenn Wishnew III
Still the best book on marriage you’ll ever find
Logan Price
Dec 21, 2020 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: marriage
A holistic, but approachable, overview of the biblical vision of marriage. You're in good hands with the Kellers as they are nuanced, thoughtful, and kind. I especially appreciated their chapter on singleness, which provided much-needed balance to some Christians' idolization of marriage. ...more
Jan 05, 2021 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Five stars because this is the best book I have read about marriage so far. It’s also the only book I have read about marriage so far. Well, maybe?

A quote that meant a lot to me in it is -

“One of the greatest expressions of love is the willingness to change.”
Shawn Enright
Jung said, “Beware of unearned wisdom.” The greatest merit of this book is Kathy and Tim’s collective, well-earned wisdom that 30 years of marriage has afforded them.

This book’s pedestrian language, simple structure, and clear arguments markets itself to the Christian who is not so much interested in the theology of marriage so much as the fundamentals of it. Think of this book as Mere Christianity but less interesting and longer than it should be. Good, not great.

Neither Keller is trying to gi
Jan 30, 2018 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
"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
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
Jan 22, 2015 rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
Many good thoughts, but poorly written. Typical under-emphasis on romance and some belittling of the idea of falling or being 'in love' in favor of the 'select a spouse carefully because marriage is hard, hard work' theme. Not that I disagree, but can't somebody write a book that emphasizes the goodness and sanctity of both? ...more
Jamaal Williams
Nov 09, 2021 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
This is the best book that I’ve read on marriage. It is a gospel treasure trove. I re-read it after sometime and found it as insightful and enjoyable to read as when I first read it. This work is instructive for singles and those who are married.
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
♥ Sarah
Nov 14, 2017 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
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  ·  review of another edition
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
Apr 03, 2021 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Radically convicting, refreshing and deep in its exploration of what a biblical marriage really means. A relevant read for the single, dating, engaged, married or divorced. The best perspective I’ve ever encountered when it comes to love according to the Bible, not western secular and contemporary Christian culture. 10/10 would recommend.
Emily Valentine
May 13, 2020 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
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!
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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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