Marriage as Priority and Friendship – Gospel in Life

Marriage as Priority and Friendship

Tim Keller |  September 8, 1991

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  • Marriage
Ephesians 5:22-33
FM 1-4


I’m tired of listening to sentimental, slurpy talks on marriage during weddings and in Sunday school and in sermons. They have about as much depth and reality to them as a Hallmark card. The fact is, marriage is many things—in fact, it’s everything except slurpy and sentimental.

Marriage is glorious: it’s a burning strength and joy. Marriage is hard: it’s blood, and it’s sweat, and it’s tears. It’s defeats, and it’s victories. It’s almost everything except sweet.

We’re in a series on the Bible’s view of marriage. We’ve already looked at the power, the definition, and the priority of marriage. We look now at 1) the great purpose of marriage, and 2) what this purpose means in practicality.

Ephesians 5:21–33

Marriage is more than just feelings; it’s about serving each other, loving unconditionally, and letting God help us be less selfish. Love means choosing to be there for your partner, making this relationship your top priority, and always being honest with each other. The heart of marriage is a deep friendship, and its main goal is to help each other become better people.

1. How should you choose who to marry?

Don’t just choose someone because they’re good-looking or because you’re attracted to them. Sometimes, this makes us miss out on people who would be great partners. Look for someone who can be a good friend, who shares your dreams and goals, and who has a deep character.

2. Be mindful of your close friendships

The Bible teaches us that close friendships between men and women are a bit like dating. This is because men and women complete each other in a way that friends of the same gender can’t. But, be careful not to take advantage of these friendships without making a real commitment.

3. What does a real friendship look like?

Proverbs tells us that real friends are always there for each other, they’re honest, they’re not afraid to be vulnerable, and they keep encouraging each other. A true friend is someone who’s there for you, who tells you the truth, who’s willing to be vulnerable, and who keeps supporting and understanding you. To be this kind of friend, we need to overcome our fear of being sentimental, express our love and affection, and in marriage, always be open and work through any problems that come up.

4. Christians should marry other Christians

The Bible teaches that a good marriage needs both partners to believe in Jesus. This helps them understand and love each other better. If one partner doesn’t believe, it can push Jesus out of the believer’s life and get in the way of a true friendship. By living out our friendship with Jesus in our marriages, we can have marriages that are peaceful and satisfying.



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