The Tuesday feature of the Worldly Saints blog references something I have been reading lately. The post is meant to share some of my reflections from the latest book, magazine article or blog post I have or am reading.
I am always on the lookout for good books or material to use for couples in pre-marital counseling. I have read or used John Piper’s This Momentary Marriage, Wayne Mack’s Marriage God’s Way, John MacArthur’s Different By Design and R.C. Sproul’s The Intimate Marriage.
Currently, I am reading Dennis Rainey’s Preparing for Marriage and Tim Keller’s The Meaning of Marriage.
When Keller’s book was released in 2011 it was “all the rage.” Many people were adding this book to their short list of marriage resources. When I gave it my first read, I am befuddled why it had such popularity, but when I read Tim Challies (a popular blogger and book reviewer) say he thought this would be an excellent choice for using in a pre-marital counseling scenario, I thought to myself, “Maybe I should give it another read.”
And I am thankful I gave it a 2nd chance.
This morning, I was reading his 2nd chapter on marriage entitled “The Power of Marriage,” where he unpacks the meaning of what is means to be filled with the Spirit (Eph 5:18) in the context of marriage. The essence, Keller writes, is about submission and dying to self. He contends that the more selfish we are in marriage, the more conflict there will be.
Keller, as he does often in other books, says that the Gospel changes us. He says those couples that have committed themselves to the Gospel have experienced the guilt of their pride and are desirous to serve and humble themselves before their spouse. He writes that true happiness in marriage is found in making your spouse happy.
Later in the chapter he says after the 1st year of marriage, couples usually experience three things: (1) they see their spouse’s selfishness, (2) they hear about how selfish they are from their spouse, and (3) they are tempted to think their spouse’s selfishness is a bigger problem than their own.
And when this happens, we can either cling to our selfish thinking (which causes emotional and physical distance, resentment, etc.) or confront our selfish thinking.
He writes, “If two spouses each say, ‘I’m going to treat my self-centeredness as the main problem in the marriage,’ you have the prospect of a truly great marriage.” (pg. 65)
What a benefit this chapter has been for me today and for many days to come! Marriage is not about me! It is about serving my spouse. It is not meant for my gratification! It is meant for her benefit. May we (who are married) learn to humble serve the ones that God has given us martial stewardship over.