[Otherwise, a book review of ‘The Meaning of Marriage’ by Tim Keller with Kathy Keller]
Later this afternoon, two of my friends will be wed. It’s not the first time I’ve witnessed a friend’s marriage, but it’s surely one of the things that changes the dynamics of our friendship. Their marriage (and this is after the wedding) becomes a blessing, not only in their lives, but ours as well as a group of friends.
Previously, I’ve said that marriage is an end point/goal of engagement, as if to say that even engagement doesn’t have to end in a marriage. This is from my understanding of Paul’s writing to the Corinthians when he says,
25 Now about virgins: I have no command from the Lord, but I give a judgment as one who by the Lord’s mercy is trustworthy. 26 Because of the present crisis, I think that it is good for you to remain as you are. 27 Are you married? Do not seek a divorce. Are you unmarried? Do not look for a wife. 28 But if you do marry, you have not sinned; and if a virgin marries, she has not sinned. But those who marry will face many troubles in this life, and I want to spare you this.
36 If anyone thinks he is acting improperly toward the virgin he is engaged to, and if she is getting along in years and he feels he ought to marry, he should do as he wants. He is not sinning. They should get married. 37 But the man who has settled the matter in his own mind, who is under no compulsion but has control over his own will, and who has made up his mind not to marry the virgin—this man also does the right thing. 38 So then, he who marries the virgin does right, but he who does not marry her does even better.[b]
Here I’ve assumed (as I’ve been taught) that virgins were mentions specifically because they were betrothed to be wed, as engaged people make a promise to be wed. Careful and better reading of this passage has allowed me to notice that Paul does not belittle marriage, but elevates singleness (in a society where heritage is important) and continues his critique of sexual sins from the previous chapter.
— John Green (p.16 of ‘Katherines’, Dutton)
This is not necessarily pessimistic, nor is it nihilistic. It’s realistic but with hope. Let me explain (with 2 digressions): My least favourite of the three is divorce — it’s complicated legally, financially, and emotionally. I think I’d be okay with break-ups (or at least I assume I would be, I’ve never experienced one. But I have been rejected heaps, and they are still sucky). They hurt but hopefully not as much as divorcing does. If I had to choose between the three, I would choose death: specifically, my death (although, not by suicide or murder; sacrifice, perhaps, but ideally ‘natural’). It seems easier. And being that Jesus rose from the dead, I know that I would gain eternal life with him and everyone else I love who are in Jesus.
And this brings me to my first digression.