Love and the “Piece of Paper”

“But when the Bible speaks of love, it measures it primarily not by how much you want to receive but by how much you are willing to give of yourself to someone. How much are you willing to lose for the sake of this person? How much of your freedom are you willing to forsake? How much of your precious time, emotion, and resources are you willing to invest in this person? And for that, the marriage vow is not just helpful but it is even a test. In so many cases, when one person says to another, ‘I love you, but let’s not ruin it by getting married,’ that person really means, ‘I don’t love you enough to close off all my options. I don’t love you enough to give myself to you that throughly.’ To say, ‘I don’t need a piece of paper to love you’ is basically to say, ‘My love for you has not reached the marriage level.’ ”

– Timothy Keller, The Meaning of Marriage, p.78

The Meaning of Marriage – Timothy and Kathy Keller

Above is an interview of Timothy and Kathy Keller on their book The Meaning of Marriage. I recently finished reading this book and though I have not read many books on marriage, this is my favorite and I would highly recommend it to married couples and singles alike. If are not persuaded by my endorsement, read Tim Challies’ review. Purchase  The Meaning of Marriage here.

The Gospel Message Should Humble and Lift the Believer Up

“That gospel message should both humble and lift the believer up at the same time. It teaches us that we are indeed self-centered sinners. It perforates our illusions about our goodness and superiority. But the gospel also fill us with more love and affirmation than we could ever imagine. It means we don’t need to earn our self-worth through incessant service and work. It means also that we don’t mind so much when we are deprived of some comfort, compliment, or reward. We don’t have to keep records and accounts anymore. We can freely give and freely receive.”

– Timothy Keller, The Meaning of Marriage, p.56

We Are More Loved And Accepted In Jesus Christ Than We Ever Dared Hope

“The reason that marriage is so painful and yet so wonderful is because it is a reflection of the gospel, which is painful and wonderful at once. The gospel is this: We are more sinful and flawed in ourselves than we ever dared believed, yet at the very same time we are more loved and accepted in Jesus Christ than we ever dared hope. This is the only kind of relationship that will really transform us. Love without truth is sentimentality; it supports and affirms us but keeps us in denial about our flaws. Truth without love is harshness; it gives us information but in such a way that we cannot really hear it. God’s saving love in Christ, however, is marked by both radical truthfulness about who we are and yet also radical, unconditional commitment to us. The merciful commitment strengthens us to see the truth about ourselves and repent. The conviction and repentance moves us to cling to and rest in God’s mercy and grace.”

– Timothy Keller, The Meaning of Marriage, p.48

A Servant of Love, Not Slave of Lust

“Sex is given for our good. But God gave sex to be the servant of God and never the slave of lust. God intends for love to express itself in the commitment of marriage, and only then for intimacy to unite us in the joys of sexual love.”

– Richard Phillips & Sharon Phillips, Holding Hands Holding Hearts, p.143

Love Like Christ Loved the Church

“A Christian man should seek to win the respect of the woman he is dating. His outlook is shaped by a husband’s duty to love his wife: ‘Husbands, love your wives, as Christ loved the church and gave himself up for her’ (Ephesians 5:25). This does not require a man to fall in love on the first date. But if he is to love a woman, it is to be the kind of self-sacrificing love shown to us by the Lord Jesus Christ. Jesus ‘gave himself up’ for his bride, the church, dying on the cross for our sins. Likewise, the Christian man is to put the spiritual and emotional well-being of a woman he is dating ahead of his own needs and desires. Unlike the norm for worldly men, the Christian is not to exploit the woman sexually, emotionally, or otherwise, but to minister to her needs so that she will be blessed.”

– Richard Phillips & Sharon Phillips, Holding Hands Holding Hearts, p.71-72

A Suitable Helper, Not a Goddess

“Sin is the rejection of God’s authority. Sin is based on a denial of God’s goodness and truth. Sin involves idolatry. In this case, Adam gave Eve the place in his life reserved for God alone. He made her the ultimate object of his worship; now that Adam had turned from God, she would have to be the source for blessing in his life. Eve was not designed to do this. She was made to be a suitable helper for him, not a goddess.”

– Richard Phillips & Sharon Phillips, Holding Hands Holding Hearts, p.39

Helper is a Position of Dignity

“To call a woman a helper is not to emphasize her weakness but her strength, not to label her as superfluous but as essential to Adam’s condition and to God’s purpose in the world. Helper is a position of dignity given to the woman by God himself.

– Richard Phillips & Sharon Phillips, Holding Hands Holding Hearts, p.26-27