Mathew's Reviews > Friends and Lovers: Cultivating Companionship and Intimacy in Marriage

Friends and Lovers by Joel R. Beeke
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Jul 13, 2012

it was amazing

Joel Beeke is quickly becoming one of my favorite pastors to read because the books I’ve read are saturated in the gospel, full of quotations from the Puritans, and his tone is pastoral. But most importantly he handles the word of God with the skill of a physician. Listen to the tone from the outset,

May the Spirit of God blow upon your marriage through the Word of Christ so that smoldering coals of love may burst once more into flame, and may the fire of love be refueled to produce marriages that blaze with love to the glory of God! (Kindle Locations 207-209).

I wish all of the books I’ve read approached discipleship and Christian growth with that love and focus.

Recently another book was released that approached marriage from the perspective of friendship and sex but with far less tact in my opinion. Beeke tackles friendship first rooting it in the gospel. The entire first section can be summed up when he says, ‘true marital friendship is the personal bond of shared life in Christ’ (287-288). In developing friendship, he stresses time and time again the importance of finding someone who loves Christ and is committed to growing in Christ with you (see 337 & 428). He also has the most balanced conversation about submission in the home I have found. He recommends for husbands and wives that when the other spouse has stronger feelings about non-spiritual things we should frequently “yield” (513).

Finally, he ends Friends and Lovers with a candid and careful discussion about sex. I recently wrote about how the Scripture is not afraid to talk about sex but it’s also not lurid. Beeke demonstrates this balance well. He starts by putting the ax to the root

In some ways this [negative view of sex] dysfunction is much like what someone might say about a piece of double chocolate cake: “It tastes so good, it must be sinful.” Do you sense how perverse the statement is—that good things are sinful? (703-705).

and then reminds that sex is not marriage itself but “the fruit of a good marriage” (767). He also reminds us that “women [are not required to] do whatever her husband wants” nor “should [we] engage in every form of sexual practice” (910). He emphasizes service in the bedroom. He ends with one of the most helpful paragraphs on marriage I’ve read.

your marriage, as all of life, with a God-centered perspective shaped by the five great solas (or “alones”) of the Reformation: Scripture alone, grace alone, faith alone, Christ alone, and the glory of God alone. Reject any ambition to use marriage as a means to glorify a mere human, and live for the glory of God alone. Do not rely on your own understanding but follow Scripture alone as the rule of life. Do not be self-righteous or trust in the merit of your own works, but humbly receive and rest in God’s gift of justification by faith alone. After committing to change and grow, do not depend on your own strength, but labor with prayer for sanctification by grace alone. And seek all blessings by looking to Christ alone. He is the mediator of all grace and the friend of sinners. (1326-1334).

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message 1: by Jeremy (new)

Jeremy Living for God's Glory is a good one.

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