The Meaning of Marriage by Timothy Keller – Chp 5 – Loving the Stranger

Opening Prayer

Ice Breaker

Resting in the Text:  Ephesians 5:18-33 (p. 19 of The Meaning of Marriage)

Discussion Questions:

  1. What are the three powers inherent in marriage (136)?  Why must we accept and use them all?
  2. Timothy Keller writes, “When you get married, your spouse is a big truck driving right through your heart.  Marriage brings out the worst in you.  It doesn’t create your weaknesses (though you may blame your spouse for your blow-ups)—it reveals them” (139).  What do you think of this statement?
  3. In reference to the power of truth in marriage, Keller states, “Marriage show you a realistic, unflattering picture of who you are and then takes you by the scruff of the neck and forces you to pay attention to it” (140).  How can this help us?
  4. When disillusionment about the marriage sets in, married people may think that they need to find someone better than their current spouse.  In  response, Keller writes, “But the great thing about the model of Christian marriage we are presenting here is that when you envision the “Someone better,” you can think of the future version of the person to whom you are already married” (144).  What can help someone to distinguish between the ugly dross in their spouse’s life and the beautiful person God is forming them to be?
  5. Keller defines the power of love in marriage as “…an unmatched power to affirm you and heal you of the deepest wounds and hurts of your life” (146).  Can you think of an example of the difference made by the healing and affirming power of love in a marriage relationship?
  6. Dr. Les and Leslie Parrott talk about the impact of Unspoken Rules (which come from our family of origin) and Unconscious Roles (or role expectations, which also come from our family of origin).  These are similar to what Timothy Keller was writing about in the “Love Me—No, You Love Me” section in pages 149-152.  Can you give an example of how Unspoken Rules and Unconscious Roles have impacted a marriage relationship?
  7. If you are married, do you know your spouse’s two main love languages?  If so, what are they?
  8. Keller writes, “…at first love sweeps you up involuntarily, but eventually love is a deliberate choice.  It will seem mechanical at first… but if both spouses do it together, eventually the experience of being loved richly and well will sweeten their lives” (157).  What are your thoughts about how the author defines love?
  9. Keller says that, “…it takes deep humility and yet profound joy and confidence…” to hold the power of truth and the power of love together in a marriage relationship.  Where does this power of grace come from?
  10. Read beginning with the paragraph that starts at the middle of page 168 with, “Here is why you can say to your spouse who has wronged you… ” to the end of chapter 5.

Closing Prayer Time


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