“Wanted: novelist/astronaut wife with a background in fashion modeling”

April 26, 2013

In his book The Meaning of Marriage, Timothy Keller says that we have come to expect way too much out of marriage. We think marriage should be our path to self-fulfillment. This is not only unbiblical, it creates an idealism about marriage that few potential marriage partners can live up to. Keller points out the irony:

Older views are considered to be traditional and oppressive, while the newer view of the “me-Marriage” seems so liberating. And yet it is the newer view that has led to a steep decline in marriage and to an oppressive sense of hopelessness with regard to it. To conduct a Me-Marriage requires two completely well-adjusted, happy individuals, with very little in the way of emotional neediness of their own or character flaws that need a lot of work. The problem is—there is almost no one like that out there to marry! The new conception of marriage-as-self-realization has put us in a position of wanting too much out of marriage and yet not nearly enough—at the same time…

[Some people] do not see marriage as two flawed people coming together to create a space of stability, love, and consolation—a “haven in a heartless world,” as Christopher Lasch describes it. This will indeed require a woman who is a “novelist/astronaut with a background in fashion modeling” or the equivalent in a man. A marriage based not on self-denial but on self-fulfillment will require a low- or no-maintenance partner who meets your needs while making almost no claims on you. Simply put—today people are asking far too much in the marriage partner.[†]

Timothy Keller, The Meaning of Marriage (New York: Dutton, 2011), 34-5.

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