What Is Up With All The Rage About Marriage?

This happened a few weeks ago. I was having a conversation with a group of people at a local Starbucks. One person in the party is an exceptional soul care provider. His speciality is assisting couples with their marriage. We were eager to listen because anyone who thinks their marriage does not need work is literally lying.

He asked some of the guys present how long they have been married. The answers ranged from more than twenty to eleven years to just over six. As he heard the last two time spans, his comment in reaction to this absolutely shocked me.

Here is what he said: in a very positive tone — “Wow you guys are pacing.” Why was I shocked at this comment? At first listen, I did not quite get it. Then, it slowly dawned on me. What he meant was that we were slowly but surely going through marriage with a covenantal approach in mind. This was of course countercultural and most definitely contrary to popular statistics.

I never really thought of going through marriage as “pacing” or “maintaining a healthy stride” as years progressed.

With each year, experiencing a deeper understanding of your spouse. With each year, loving your spouse more and more. With each opportunity for repentance, realizing your dependence on Christ. But this is exactly what this person was amazed at. Without a doubt he has worked with and counseled countless couples.

His unexpected “pacing” comment does not come unwarranted.

Here is what the marriage landscape looks like today:

The covenantal concept of marriage is becoming absolutely passé:

No wonder there is so much rage about marriage.

I can’t quite point to one specific factor that led to the sudden resurgence of marriage conversations — but it does not really matter — I am really glad that it is happening.

I do not think there have been any new concepts introduced about marriage. I have written a bit about this topic here and here. Most everything that we need to know about how to have a God honoring marriage is already found on the pages of Scripture. If you want to accuse this statement of being too reductionistic — you are certainly free to do so — but that is the truth.

Thankfully, we are not without phenomenal resources and thinkers who have been pacing well for over multiple decades.

I have personally benefited greatly from two excellent resources about marriage. I fully recommend them to you as well. Whether you are married or single — you will benefit from reading them. I want to introduce to you each resource and share a few quotes that have really stood out to me as I have been reading them.

Resource One: The Meaning Of Marriage by Tim Keller.

Unless you’re able to look at marriage through the lens of Scripture instead of through your own fears or romanticism, through your particular experience, or through your culture’s narrow perspectives, you won’t be able to make intelligent decisions about your own marital future.

While marriage is many things, it is anything but sentimental. Marriage is glorious but hard. It’s a burning joy and strength, and yet it is also blood, sweat, and tears, humbling defeats and exhausting victories. No marriage I know more than a few weeks old could be described as a fairy tale come true.

The gospel can fill our hearts with God’s love so that you can handle it when your spouse fails to love you as he or she should.

Longitudinal studies reveal that two-thirds of unhappy marriages will become happy within five years if people stay married and do not get divorced.

If your definition of “love” stresses affectionate feelings more than unselfish actions, you will cripple your ability to maintain and grow strong love relationships.

Resource Two: What Did You Expect? by Paul David Tripp.

Confession is the doorway to growth and change in your relationship. It is essential. It is fundamental. Without it you are relegated to a cycle of repeated and deepening patterns of misunderstanding, wrong, and conflict. With it, the future is bright and hopeful, no matter how big the issues that you are now facing.

It is a grace to understand the concept of indwelling sin. One of the most tempting fallacies for us—and for every human being in this fallen world—is to believe that our greatest problems exist outside us rather than inside us.

This side of heaven, there is a constant war being fought in all our hearts between the kingdom of self and the kingdom of God. Every battle you have with other people is the result of that deeper war. When you are losing this war, you live for yourself, and invariably it ends in conflict with your husband or wife.

This additional resource is probably the most controversial, the most talked about and has received the most buzz and media attention thus far this year. I personally have not read it nor purchased it. I just want to provide a few links below of reviews specifically dealing with this book. I hope they help you as you either read this popular book or are still thinking about purchasing it.

Additional Resource: Real Marriage by Mark & Grace Driscoll

The four links fall into four distinct categories:

I want to conclude with a quote from the second resource. I absolutely love how it encapsulates the real issue and resolution for any marriage:
At the foundational level, the difficulties in our marriages do not first come because we don’t love one another enough. They happen because we don’t love God enough; and because we don’t love God enough we don’t treat one another with the kind of love that makes marriages work.
Question: Which quote from the above resources did you like the most? Have you noticed all the rage about marriage? What specifically do you think the reason is that we are living in a post-marriage culture? 

 

 


Comments

10 responses to “What Is Up With All The Rage About Marriage?”

  1. Great Post, B!

    I love the resources and the authors (Keller and Tripp).
    I would say that I like both quotes equally but for different
    reasons:

    A Scriptural perspective of marriage and what love really is (Keller), and the reality of indwelling sin and the daily implicationsof this doctrine (Tripp).

    I especially was glad that it was all gospel-oriented (PG, that these authors are consistently so)

    Finally, this quote left me saying “Amen”
    “It is a grace to understand the concept of indwelling sin.”

    1. David — I am glad you enjoyed the post — both authors I mention are solid resources — I have personally benefited from reading their insight —

  2. I really enjoyed this post Bogdan, thank you. Personally I love Tripp because he is a counselor and specializes at helping people in their relationship whereas some of these other people are mostly preaching pastors devoting most of their time to that.

    1. Brandon hi — you are welcome — I also love the way he writes — and I agree with your last statement — and he does talk a lot about friendship huh? 🙂

      1. Haha, I take it you saw the Facebook discussion ? I felt like all of the books you listed recommended a personal, passionate, friendship between a husband and his wife. What do you think? Was that something that Mark Driscoll wrote on that had never been touched before like he claims in his new book on marriage?

        1. Yes I did — I always try to pay attention to what intelligent people are saying — in hopes of it rubbing off on me. I agree with what you are saying. I do not think there is anything new under the sun. MD might have synthesized the material in a unique way — but I did feel as if between the two books that I am reading — friendship was a big theme —

  3. I really liked this quote:

    “This side of heaven, there is a constant war being fought in all our hearts between the kingdom of self and the kingdom of God. Every battle you have with other people is the result of that deeper war. When you are losing this war, you live for yourself…”

    Thank you for all the resources!

    1. Larisa — you are welcome!

  4. Bogdan, thank you so much for this post!
    I should definitely read “The Meaning Of Marriage” by Tim Keller. This is so much true! Young couples often think of marriage as of some fairy tale, which is in fact so far from it. It can be so hard, but at the same time, family is the best what a person can have and we should cherish our families! Become less selfish, remember of God in our hearts, become more patient to each other and give more love then demand it from the spouse.

    1. Yulia hi — I am glad you enjoyed it, praise God. I also love the suggestions you lay out. Very true and timely!

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