Knowing something of Timothy Keller's ministry through online and books, when I heard that he and his wife Kathy wrote a book on marriage I anticipated something like The Meaning of Marriage. It's vintage Keller. It is filled with rich insight. It is anchored in 37 years of passionate experience in marriage. He seeks to portray a "surprising goodness" in marriage. As someone who has been married 30 years, I can attest to much of what the Kellers write about.
While the Kellers read the Bible through a Neo-Reformed lens, their book is much richer and deeper than the Driscoll's Real Marriage. But what does that look like? Part one in this series is here.
Let me state where I am coming from with seven statements:
1. The therapeutic culture has had a profound impact in the West including the church.
2. Self-fulfillment, intimacy, and the ultimate goal of what is "healthy" dominate the air that we breathe in the church and outside.
3. Autonomy and connection are deeply embedded in what we understand to be healthy intimacy in marriage and beyond.
4. The therapeutic culture has been a strong ally for the voice women, the flourishing of women, and their freedom from partriarchy. This is because healthy intimacy requires "autonomy" or "self-differentiation."
5. Intimacy (and the affirmation of autonomy in women) has been a progressive step forward for women beyond romantic love because it has birthed, nurtured, and recognized emotional equality between men and women.
6. In traditional marriage, self-denial, loyalty, and duties to the vows were more important than self-fulfillment. But as Marilyn Friedman says, "women were usually submerged (emphasis hers) by their mergers with men."
7. The acceptance and embrace of self-love (could it be because of point one above?) has been a significant turn by many theologians. The positive challenge is to integrate a healthy love of self, spouse, neighbor, and community.