“Meaning of Marriage” reflection questions, Week 1

February 13, 2014


The following questions are to be completed before the February 23 meeting of HUMC’s “Meaning of Marriage” Bible study. They cover the book’s Introduction and Chapter 1. (Click here to download these questions as a separate .pdf file.)


Keller describes three sources for his book on marriage: his experience being married for 37 years, his experience ministering to a congregation comprised mostly of single adults in Manhattan, and the Bible. Do you think Keller’s experience of marriage has been very different from yours? Has your own marriage had its share of fiery trials? Do you think that marriage should be easier than it is?

How has his experience ministering to singles informed his book? What mistakes do single people make when it comes to marriage?

Keller writes: “If God invented marriage, then those who enter it should make every effort to understand and submit to his purposes for it” (13). These purposes, Keller says, are found in the Bible. Having not yet read the rest of Keller’s book, do you think the Bible can be like an “owner’s manual” for marriage, as Keller describes? Do you trust the Bible when it comes to love, sex, and marriage, or is it obsolete on those subjects? Are you prepared to change your marriage if you learn through this study that it’s out-of-sync with what the Bible teaches?

Chapter 1

Why are so many people pessimistic about marriage? What beliefs and assumptions motivate a large number of couples to live together first before getting married? Does it surprise you that couples who live together before marriage are more likely to get divorced? What are characteristics of the “Me-Marriage”?

What does Keller say is the surprising good news of marriage?

Did you meet and marry your “soul mate”? Where do you see evidence in movies, books, music, and on TV that finding your soul mate is important? Do you agree with Keller that our culture’s emphasis on the soul mate is a problem? If so, what do you think is most harmful about the concept?

The “Hauerwas Rule” says, “You always marry the wrong person” (p. 37-8). What does Hauerwas mean by that? How can this rule help us in our marriages?

What is the secret of marriage, according to Paul in Ephesians 5? What can the gospel of Jesus Christ teach us about marriage? What can marriage teach us about the gospel? If you were going to put Paul’s words into practice, what changes would you have to make as a spouse?

Marriage Link

Click here to listen to Act 1 of this Valentine’s Day episode of This American Life. How does this couple’s experience reflect the challenges that Keller discusses in the book? How do you feel about Kurt Braunohler’s idea of a renewable marriage contracts? What do you make of Ira Glass’s response to this idea?

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