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The Meaning of Marriage -- Facing the Complexities of Commitment with the Wisdom of God by Timothy Keller. 2011 (Dutton: New York, NY) All rights reserved. [279 pages]
[Answer 17 of 25 questions to receive 13 hours of Continuing Education credit]

Chapter One: The Secret of Marriage (p. 21-49)
1. Countering today's popular pessimism about marriage, which of the following is TRUE?
a. If you are a reasonably well-educated person with a decent income, come from an intact family and are religious, and marry after the age of twenty-five without having a baby first, your chances of divorce are low indeed.
b. Individuals who were continuously married had 75% more wealth at retirement that those who never married or who divorced and did not remarry.
c. People who are married consistently show much higher degrees of satisfaction with their lives than those who are single, divorced, or living with a partner. Children who grow up in married, two-parent families have 2 to 3 times more positive life outcomes than those who don't.
d. All of the above.

2. Which describes today's modern view of marriage?
a. self-denial and sacrifice.
b. a public institution for the common good.
c. the best environment in which children can grow and thrive.
d. a private arrangement for the emotional and sexual fulfillment of two individuals
.

3. How have unrealistic views of marriage led to a steep decline in marriage and a pessimism about it?
a. People's expectations are too high when selecting a mate. They want someone who is happy, healthy, fun, intellectually stimulating, sexually attractive, with many common interests, who is supportive of their personal goals and of the way they are living now, who will always provide great sex, who is very "low maintenance", and who will not demand a lot of change from them. Also, the widespread use of pornography has given people unrealistic expectations about what their future spouse should look like.
b. People believe that if they marry they will lose their freedom. They also believe that marriage will be painful at times, because it will be difficult for their spouse to accept their flaws, and vice versa. So, to avoid the loss of freedom and to avoid pain, they avoid marriage.
c. Marriage is a union between two sinners, two people who are by nature selfish and immature. It is sin that makes every marriage painful and difficult. When people either forget or don't believe this, they end up looking to marriage (including sex and romance) for something it cannot provide: meaning. Only faith in God can provide meaning. No flawed spouse can ever provide this.
d. All of the above
.

4. What is the secret of marriage?
a. That marriage cannot fully be understood.
b. That marriage is difficult and requires hard work.
c. That spouses should do for their partners what Jesus did: gave Himself up for us
.
d. That there is no one right person to marry.

Chapter 2: The Power for Marriage (p. 50-76)
5. At the base of any problem in marriage, I should look for
a. some degree of stubbornness on the part of my spouse.
b. some measure of my self-centeredness and an unwillingness to serve my spouse.
c. a lack of self-esteem.
d. the degree to which I have been hurt and wounded by others, which will explain my bad habits.

6. Most married couples in Western culture go through this experience:
1) They marry because they feel an attraction to one another and think the other person is wonderful.
2) A year or two later, or sooner, you discover how selfish your wonderful spouse is.
3) You also discover that your spouse has been having a similar experience with you and begins telling you how selfish you are.
What action does the author recommend for both spouses to take after discovering how selfish they are?
a. You should conclude that your spouse's selfishness is worse than your own and wait for your spouse to change first.
b. Both spouses should agree to work on their selfishness at the same time. It won't work is only one spouse is doing the hard work of changing.
c. Each spouse should not wait for the other to begin changing, but each should determine to focus only on changing their own selfishness. Even if only one spouse is doing the hard work of changing, it can bring about a better marriage
.
d. Each spouse should realize that their spouse is not going to meet their deepest needs so they should meet their own needs in other ways -- career, community service, children, etc.

7. The Holy Spirit helps us to understand the meaning of Christ's work and teachings. "He will bring to your remembrance all that I said to you (John 14:26). How does being filled with the Spirit help our marriages?
a. The Spirit helps my spouse to be less selfish.
b. The Spirit helps my spouse to fulfill their spousal duty to me.
c. The Spirit helps my spouse to realize my potential and help me fulfill it.
d. The Spirit helps me to rely upon God to meet my deepest needs instead of pressuring my spouse to do so.

Chapter 3: The Essence of Marriage (p. 77-109)
8. Which is NOT true?
a. Regarding marriage, when someone says, "I don't need a piece of paper to love you," they are essentially saying that they don't want a life-long marital commitment to ruin their romantic feelings for the other. They want to maintain the thrill of sex and believe that marriage will diminish this thrill. This thrill and the ego rush of being physically desired is often mistaken for lifetime love.
b. Marital sex is different than sex outside of marriage. Because martial sex becomes less thrilling, it therefore is less enjoyable.
c. Longitudinal studies reveal that two-thirds of unhappy marriages will become happy within five years if people stay married and do not get divorced. A public marriage vow can help keep a couple together during these rough patches.
d. Marriage, because it is a covenant made to God and to one another, can produce a greater intimacy than love outside of marriage. Marriage produces a space of security where two people can open up and reveal their true selves, no longer needing to impress the other or keep up a facade.

"Like everything that is not the involuntary result of fleeting emotion but the creation of time and will, any marriage, happy or unhappy, is infinitely more interesting than any romance, however passionate."  -- W.H. Auden
 

9. The author refers to the Christian ethicist, Lewis Smedes, who defines who we are by
a. our deepest feelings.
b. our achievements.
c. visions of our ideal selves.
d. the promises we keep
.

10. The author draws upon the philosopher Soren Kierkegaard to show how unconditional covenantal commitment in marriage actually helps romantic love fulfill itself. What did Kierkegaard teach about the aesthetic outlook on life?
a. The aesthetic person is not truly free because he is driven by his feelings and impulses. When things are no longer fascinating, thrilling or exciting, he seeks a change in his circumstances. Thus, an aesthetic husband whose wife gains weight might look around for someone more beautiful.
b. You can only be truly free when you commit yourself to loving action, day in and day out. Then you are not controlled by fluctuating feelings or changing circumstances.
c. The aesthetic does not really love the other person. He just loves the feelings and thrills the other person brings. Only when you love someone when it is not thrilling can you be said to be actually loving a person.
d. All of the above.

11. Which statement best represents the Biblical definition of loving one's spouse?
a. If I don't feel love for my spouse, then I must have married the wrong person.
b. I must first have feelings of love before I can show loving actions. Otherwise, the actions are fake.
c. You should act loving, even when you don't feel loving, toward your spouse. Often, loving actions lead to loving feelings.
d. If my marriage isn't thrilling enough, I'm not trying hard enough.

Chapter 4: The Mission of Marriage (p. 110-133)
12. What is the primary mission of marriage?
a. To establish financial security for you and your spouse and children.
b. To help your spouse become the person God wants him or her to be
.
c. To secure one's social stability and longevity.
d. To maintain life-long passion and romance.

13. Of the following, which should be a spouse's greatest priority?
a. their children
b. passing on their parents' values
c. their marriage
d. their career

Chapter 5: Loving the Stranger (p. 134-169)

14. In this chapter, the section entitled "The Power of Truth" is about
a. giving your spouse the right to talk to you about what is wrong with you.
b. learning to encourage your spouse.
c. focusing on your spouse's good qualities.
d. being a more effective communicator.

15. Many people have said things to us over the years, good words and bad words, encouraging words and hurtful words.
What should we really believe is true about us?
a. We should believe what we say about ourselves to ourselves, because we know ourselves better than anyone else.
b. We should believe what our spouse tells us when they are not angry, because they know us better than anyone else.
c. We should believe what God says about us in Scripture, because only He has the ability to overcome damaging things that others have said to us.
d. "b" and "c".

16. The best way to love your spouse is
a. in the way you think is best for your spouse.
b. in the way you have typically expressed love to others.
c. in the way that your spouse would find most meaningful.
d. in the way that is most naturally comfortable for you.

17. What enables us to confront our spouse about their undesirable behavior and then forgive them completely without a shred of superiority?
a. You acquire this ability through years of practice, learning to value the good things about your spouse.
b. You forgive because you want peace in your home instead of constant arguing or tension.
c. You learn to forgive like this because Christ forgave you
.
d. You learn to forgive from the home you grew up in.

Chapter 6: Embracing the Other (p. 170-191)
18. In this chapter, the author's wife, Kathy, says, "It was this passage [of Scripture] that entirely took the sting out of the subordinate role assigned to the female sex." What passage of Scripture was she referring to, and how did it help her?
a. Ephesians 5:22-25, because it says that the husband should love his wife as Christ loved the church.
b. Genesis 2:18, because it referred to Eve as a "strong helper" for Adam.
c. Philippians 2:5-11. Since it was not an assault on the dignity and divinity of Christ to submit Himself to His Father, then it would not insult nor injure Kathy to follow Christ's example in submitting herself to Tim.
d. I Corinthians 11:3, because the relationship of the Father to the Son is a pattern for the relationship of husband to wife.


19. What does the Bible say should be the role of a husband and the role of a wife?
a. The husband should be the financial provider, the wife should stay home and nurture their family.
b. When there is a dispute, the wife should submit to the husband's viewpoint and do what he says. She must give her husband unconditional obedience.
c. The husband should be more knowledgeable and authoritative than the wife, the wife should be more nurturing and gentle than the husband.
d. The husband should lead his wife like Christ led, as a servant, and the wife should submit to her husband as Christ submitted to His Father, as a strong helper. The Bible does not give the details of how this is to be accomplished, but allows each couple to decide how to fulfill these roles in their own particular family. Essentially, they help each other complete what is lacking in the other.


Chapter 7: Singleness (p. 192-218)

20. This chapter draws the conclusion that
a. Marriage is better than singleness because it decreases one's selfishness, and produces the blessings of children.
b. The Christian church today highly values singleness, as the early church did.
c. There is one universal set of "masculine" and "feminine" characteristics that applies to all cultures.
d. Neither singleness nor marriage should be desired above our union with Christ, who fulfills our deepest longings that cannot be fulfilled by either singleness nor marriage.

21. What does the author mean by "comprehensive attraction"?
a. Men are attracted to a woman's physical beauty. Women are attracted to a man's ability to provide.
b. Being attracted to a person's character and mission more than just their looks or money.
c. You should marry someone for whom you have strong sexual feelings ("burn with passion").
d. You should choose a mate that is preferably from the same culture.

Chapter 8: Sex and Marriage (p. 219-236)
22. Which is the Biblical ethic of sex?
a. Sex is a natural appetite which should be satisfied whenever we want to.
b. Sex is a necessary evil required to propagate the human race.
c. Sex is a form of self-expression and individual fulfillment.
d. Sex is for use within marriage between a man and a woman.

23. The apostle Paul, in I Corinthians 6:17-20, says that sex with a prostitute is wrong because
a. this could result in contracting a permanent disease.
b. this would result in an unwanted pregnancy.
c. neither party has committed his or her whole self to the other
.
d. this could ruin a marriage.

24. In today's culture, which gives no support for sexual abstinence, what would help a person practice chastity?
a. Having a living, ongoing relationship with Jesus Christ, where He is fulfilling our deepest needs. This helps to lessen our sexual temptation by reminding us that sex cannot do what only God can do.
b. Living in a Christian community where other singles are practicing chastity, studying the Biblical teaching on sex, and not choosing a future spouse on the basis of physical beauty or wealth.
c. Fighting against sexual temptation by obeying God's Word to wait until marriage to have sex, rather than acting upon strong sexual feelings which are stirred up by another person. Like the example of Jane Eyre, who chose to "keep the law of God" when her "body and soul" wanted to rise in mutiny against it.
d. All of the above
.

Epilogue (p. 237-240)
25. In George Herbert's poem "Love III", what does this line refer to: "And know you not," says Love, "who bore the blame?" A clue is found in what Simone Weil experienced after reading this poem.
a. It refers to each person accepting personal responsibility for his or her own actions.
b. It refers to the cultivation of conscience in each of us.
c. It is an appeal for each person to not be so hard on himself or herself.
d. It refers to Christ's sacrifice on the cross for our sins.