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The Zimzum of Love: A New Way of Understanding Marriage

3.82  ·  Rating details ·  2,082 ratings  ·  244 reviews
As he revolutionized traditional teaching on hell in the phenomenal New York Times bestseller Love Wins, Rob Bell now transforms how we understand and practice marriage in The Zimzum of Love, co-written with his wife, Kristen.

Despite the divorce statistics, people are still committing to each other, instinctively believing and hoping that theirs is a sacred union that will
Hardcover, 160 pages
Published October 28th 2014 by HarperOne (first published April 22nd 2014)
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Stephen Altrogge
Oct 17, 2014 rated it did not like it
This is one of the most poorly written books I've read in a long time. From the beginning, Bell's methodology of what makes a good marriage is jacked up. It was poorly researched, poorly written, and full of common sense principles dressed up in mystical, spiritual sounding language. ...more
Ryan Miller
Nov 07, 2014 rated it liked it
I think it's ridiculously laughable that people think this book is anti-biblical. On what basis? From what subjective fundamentalist interpretation are we talking about when we say anti-biblical? That's just silly. This was not Bell's best work, but it was still solid. As typical, his books usually take a few hours to read, but a good time to digest. They're written for everyone without lacking any heart & depth. People who argue that Bell has " lost it" - especially from an anti-biblical perspe ...more
Silly title (based on the Hebrew term for God’s self-contraction to make space for creation – so the space you make to be in relationship with another person) and kind of annoying occasional he-said/she-said format, but there’s still some useful information and strategies here, as well as plenty of passages that will reassure you you’re not the only one thinking it:

“And then there are other moments, when lofty talk about two becoming one and I found my other half seems delusional, when you wonde
Feb 14, 2015 rated it really liked it
Appropriate that I finished reading this book on Valentine's Day.

This book was hard for me to rate, because it didn't fit into the boxes I expect. It wasn't a Christian book about marriage. It wasn't a scientific or sociological study on marriage. It wasn't a self-help book on marriage. It wasn't purely anecdotal. It bridged a number of genres and format.

But I found myself mesmerized by it. There weren't a lot of new ideas in the book, but I appreciated the new presentation of the ideas, the w
Alanna Schwartz
Aug 10, 2020 rated it really liked it
I find marriage books have been so cheesy and condescending but this book was inspiring and comforting to read leading up to my wedding. The concept of Zimzum resonated with me so deeply, and I think protecting and considering the space between us will be something we carry with us into our marriage.
Dec 04, 2014 rated it it was amazing
Twenty-two years ago, we got married and I refused to take part in the unity candle spectacle, much to the chagrin of my, then, future mother-in-law. I was not going to blow out my candle after joining my flame with his. I liked my flame. I liked his. And I didn't want either of them extinguished.

FINALLY, someone else with a bigger voice shares this same feeling.

I spent about an hour and a half reading this little book. I've been a Bell Ringer for a long time. He's the first spiritual writer, a
Landon Chapman
Oct 28, 2014 rated it did not like it
Sadly Rob Bell has gone off the rails. This is anti-biblical nonsense.
Raoul G
Dec 08, 2020 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: physically-mine
This is a very enjoyable, easy-to-read and quite short book about marriage written by Rob and Kristen Bell. As far as I remember this is the first book on this topic that I ever read. Still, I imagine that this book has quite a different approach than most marriage books. Here's how Bell describes it:

"This book, however, is about the deeper mysteries of marriage. How is it that the same relationship can be capable of producing so much joy and so much pain? How is it that the slightest thoughts a
Jon Stephens
Nov 22, 2014 rated it it was ok
The Zimzum of Love is Rob Bell’s newest book, and is co-authored with his wife Kristen.

When I found out that Bell was writing a book on marriage, I was extremely interested in how he would unpack the subject. Like it was with so many of Bell’s other books, like: Velvet Elvis, Sex God, Jesus Wants to Save Christians and What We Talk About When We Talk About God, I was really looking forward to his Biblical and historical exposition of the subject matter, but instead this book merely makes a few l
Dec 07, 2014 rated it it was ok
There are 4 principles presented and all are sound and relevant to marriage and relationships. One, for example, is exclusivity - the idea that your marriage and most of the issues in it are a matter for the two of you alone; if you complain to other people about the marriage you are violating that exclusivity and it's damaging to the marriage.

However well the points are taken, they are made in a repetitive, smug, "aren't we pleased with ourselves" attitude that is second in obnoxiousness only t
Joy Matteson
Nov 01, 2014 rated it it was amazing
This is probably the shortest book on marriage I've read, but possibly the simplest and most profound. If you can say what you need to say to get your message across to others, do it in 150 pages instead of 500.
Rob and Kristen Bell use the Hebrew word "zimzum" to describe the creation of the world, the action that God created in creating space for humans to live in. This space is also between those partnered in marriage, as a dynamic, always changing space. My biggest takeaway is the importance
Adam Shields
Dec 23, 2014 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Short Review: The Zimzum of Love: A New Way of Understanding Marriage by Rob and Kristen Bell - it seems most of the negative reviews are about not liking Rob Bell instead of not liking the book. The book is a helpful, short, encouraging book on marriage that is exclusive, holy, and dynamic. I think it is too expensive right now, but that the content is good and it is the right length for small group discussions.

(Note: The kindle version at least keeps going on sale for around $4. At that price
Austin Mcgrath
Jan 22, 2015 rated it did not like it
Awful. I skimmed through and found little to none biblical foundations, poor and little amount of advice. Lots of talking about the issues youll have and where you should be in marriage but no help to get there. And I still fail to see why Bell thinks we need "a new way to understand marriage." Just like in velvet elvis, the christian faith doesnt need a repaint, neither does marriage.

Elissa Anne
Apr 15, 2015 rated it liked it
I read this book with my husband 1-2 months after getting married. It has shed light on the fact that everything we think, feel, say and do affects our marriage / the space between us. I found chapters 2 & 3 the most helpful for creating a healthy relationship with my husband built on honesty (because even what we don't say will be picked up on as a vibe), negotiation and love. ...more
Kim Tee Em
Nov 01, 2016 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Like all rob bell books, you either love or hate them. I find his writing style resonates with me and as such I found this book a great reminder of how to make marriage work. I loved it. The simple yet tangible reminders, albeit not entirely new concepts for me, of the importance of protecting my marriage.
May 05, 2016 rated it really liked it
So nice to find an egalitarian book on marriage.
Laila (BigReadingLifeblog)
Pretty innocuous and light but full of good reminders about the space and energy between you and your romantic partner.
A Zimzum is creating a space for another to thrive.

In marriage it's important to have a vision together.

If you bring something to the space of your marriage that you haven't dealt with it will continue to negatively affect you and your relationship until it's resolved.

The score card is at the heart of a number of extraordinary fights. I loved the thoughts on the scorecard.

In marriage there's the combination of three loves: spark, substance, and sacrifice.

What are the Asians thoughts and phil
Mar 29, 2021 rated it did not like it
Meh, at best. This book is dangerously idealistic. If your marriage is well balanced and neither of you bring trauma into the picture, and you aren't prone to idolize marriage itself, then maybe you'll find some tidy pats on the back and self assurance from these pages. But if you come from trauma, any sort of extremism, have a history with a church that idolized the marriage institution, with a church that taught complementarianism or swept abuse under the rug, have a partner that doesn't pull ...more
Gideon Yutzy
Jan 01, 2021 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Here is an interesting little story. Once a man named Rob wrote a book about how love will bring together the whole universe. Some conservative Christians were offended at this concept and called him a heretic. So Rob tried again. This time he wrote a book about how love will bring together a husband and wife. Though it takes persistence and sacrifice to live out that claim, this time even the most joyless Christians had a hard time refuting it.

Really, the book is a great reflection on the sacr
Oct 24, 2017 rated it liked it
If 2.5 was an option I'd pick that. There are some good thoughts and great questions (don't miss the ones in the back of the book) here to start discussion with your partner or a group, but overall the writing style was a bit too painful to fully enjoy. I was particularly annoyed when they told me there was a great psalm about something and didn't even say which psalm it was.. that's just lazy. ...more
Aug 07, 2017 rated it really liked it
this certainly is a new way of understanding marriage. one that values the individual and marvels at what is created when love overflows out of the commitment to one another. read this to see why marriage is good for the world
Dec 10, 2014 rated it liked it
The he said/she said conversational format can be trite or comforting depending on your tastes. I enjoyed it because if I'm going to read what is basically a self-help book, I prefer to keep it simple and chatty.

And it is simple. This is not a book for deeply troubled souls. This is a simple refresher course for long-term relationships. It's not (IMO) even overly Christian or biblical. There are quotes from Hebrews and talk of "grace" and the "divine," but I read it as an agnostic, casual fan o
Kimberly Waggoner
Favorite quote: "When you are both intentional about moving toward the other in love, over time you build up tremendous reserves of love and grace and goodwill. Love - with spark and substance and sacrifice all together - is a cumulative phenomenon. It builds on itself, it gains a head of steam, it grows in depth and breadth and intensity. This propels you into an entirely different way of relating to each other - another kind of life altogether." ...more
Katie Tahuahua
Nov 02, 2014 rated it liked it
I was disappointed in this book. Despite his controversial reputation, I find Rob Bell's writing usually provides some insightful and thought-provoking new perspectives. Zimzum, however, was repetitive and far too metaphysical for my taste. I thought it the concept could have easily been expressed in a single chapter, or even just a short blog post. ...more
Aug 23, 2015 rated it liked it
A worthwhile listen via audiobook. It's only about 2 hours long, so if you think of it like an extended podcast on marriage, it's worth a read/listen. Definitely not the most original or compelling marriage book out there but I think the Bells offer some helpful insights that may resonate with some couples. ...more
Syd Wachs
Oct 03, 2018 rated it it was amazing
I don’t know much about the Bells, nor do I care whether or not the book is rooted in biblical theology. It made sense. And I felt less alone reading about their experiences, the good parts and the bad. The illustrations make it cute and easier for a visual person like me to understand. I liked the down-to-earth language. A great before-bed read. Made me feel valid and happy. ☺️
Jason Lyle
Nov 08, 2014 rated it it was amazing
This was a great marriage book for anyone who is looking for general maintenance. It's not necessarily for anyone in "turmoil" but it's a refreshing way to look at the mystery we call marriage. A great read for couple prior to marriage. ...more
Erin Henry
Apr 14, 2015 rated it it was amazing
Really interesting and fresh way to look at marriage. All about the space you create between you and how it affects you and the world. I highly recommend it. Would be great for people in a serious relationship or newlyweds especially.
Sara Bauer
Oct 08, 2014 rated it really liked it
Really enjoyed this interesting take on marriage. Full review to come, but I would suggest to this couples, married or not, as a better way to understand each other -- and love each other more.
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Rob Bell is a bestselling author, international teacher, and highly sought after public speaker. His books include The New York Times bestsellers What Is the Bible?, What We Talk About When We Talk About God, Love Wins, as well as The Zimzum of Love, Velvet Elvis, Sex God, Jesus Wants to Save Christians, and Drops Like Stars.

At age 28, Bell founded Mars Hill Bible Church in Michigan, and under hi

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“Grace is when you aren’t striving or controlling or trying to change or manipulate or make something happen. Grace is when you find yourself carried along, when all that’s left to do is receive. Grace is when you know you’re loved, exactly as you are. Grace is an entirely different way of experiencing life. Another word for grace is gift.” 12 likes
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