“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
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.
“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
“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