“Meaning of Marriage” reflection questions, Week 2


The following questions are to be completed before the March 2 meeting of HUMC’s “Meaning of Marriage” Bible study. They cover Chapter 2. (Click here to download these questions as a separate .pdf file.)

Chapter 2

Before Paul addresses the subject of marriage in Ephesians 5:22-33, he tells his readers in v. 18 to “be filled with the Spirit.” In order to have a satisfying marriage, Paul implies, married couples must find their deepest, most important needs met in God alone.  Thus Keller writes, “If we look to our spouses to fill up our tanks in a way that only God can do, we are demanding an impossibility.”

How easy is it for you to look to your spouse, rather than God, to fill up your tank? Can you cite specific ways in which you’ve done that? True or false: Your spouse should make you happy.

“Submitting to one another” (v. 21) is a controversial idea today, especially as relates to v. 22 (“Wives, submit to your husbands, as to the Lord.”) Yet Keller says that husbands, who are to love their wives “as Christ loved the church and gave himself up for her” (v. 25), is a “stronger appeal to abandon self-interest than was given to the woman.” Do you agree?

What does Keller call the “hardest yet single most important function of being a husband or wife in marriage”? Can you think of any teachings of Jesus in the Gospels that relate to this idea?

If marriage is about “living for the other”—putting my spouse’s interests ahead of my own—then what’s in it for me? Should my willingness to live for my spouse depend in part on his or her willingness to live for me? What happens if the degree of “living for the other” is lopsided or even one-sided?

Can you relate to the incident that Keller describes in the paragraph beginning, “Kathy and I remember a pivotal incident in our marriage…” (p. 54 in the hardback version) Why didn’t Keller want his wife to serve him? How does this relate to the gospel (which Keller summarizes neatly in one sentence—can you find it)?

What does it mean for spouses to relate to one another on the basis of grace?

How do Jesus’ words in Matthew 16:25 relate to marriage and happiness? What does Keller say is the secret to happiness?

Keller says that self-centeredness is the root problem not only within marriage but within human beings. Newlyweds soon discover the selfishness in their spouse and conclude that their spouse’s selfishness is a bigger problem in the marriage than their own. Describe the two paths that a marriage can take at that point.

Why does Keller believe that a marriage can improve if even one spouse decides to live according to v. 21?

Marriage Link

Read this recent article in Christianity Today about Christians, marriage, and statistics. How does this research affirm what Keller writes in Chapter 2?

Here’s the video clip from Jerry Maguire that we watched last week… Enjoy!


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