Marriage has been defined in a variety of ways or denied altogether. Yet, the biblical picture of marriage illustrates something far deeper than sentimentality. Marriage is the relationship between a man and a woman, held together by both love and truth. In marriage, both are equally important and pastor Tim Keller explains why:
“Love without truth is sentimentality; it supports and affirms us but keeps us in denial about our flaws. Truth without love is harshness; it gives us information but in such a way that we cannot really hear it. God’s saving love in Christ, however, is marked by both radical truthfulness about who we are and yet also radical, unconditional commitment to us. The merciful commitment strengthens us to see the truth about ourselves and repent. The conviction and repentance moves us to cling to and rest in God’s mercy and grace.”
Without further ado, we’ve compiled a list of the best Christian marriage books that you should start with below.
1. The Meaning of Marriage
Everyone has a soul mate, right? Mainstream television and glossy magazines would have you believe that love is a fairy tale complete with soul mates, eternal romance and no bumps in the road. They’d also have you think that when love ceases to be like this the best answer is divorce.
Timothy Keller, with insights from his wife of 37 years (Kathy), shows just how flawed these assumptions are in his book The Meaning of Marriage. This honest and heartfelt book offers tips on how to have a successful marriage. Truly one of the top Christian books on marriage of all time, The Meaning of Marriage is essential reading for anyone who wants to love more deeply, know God more thoroughly and be married more healthfully for the long term.
2. This Momentary Marriage: A Parable of Permanence
Sharing the trials and tribulations of our four decades of Christian marriage, author John Piper teaches couples how to keep their covenant as a display of Christ’s covenant-keeping love for all in the book This Momentary Marriage
Drawing on experiences from his own life, Piper aims to lift society’s low view of marriage to something great: Jesus’s steadfast allegiance to and love for his bride. Not only for marrieds, this book is appropriate for those who are single, divorced and remarried too. With a freshly redesigned cover, This Momentary Marriage: A Parable of Permanence now looks as good as it reads.
3. You and Me Forever: Marriage in Light of Eternity
In You and Me Forever: Marriage in Light of Eternity, author Francis Chan and his wife Lisa tackle the big question many couples ponder beyond altar: How do I have a great marriage? Instead of writing fluff and flowers, Francis and Lisa use Scripture to answer this question.
Drawing upon the Bible, You and Me Forever will help you embrace the adventure of marriage and learn how to thrive in it.
4. When Sinners Say “I Do”
Isn’t the title of Dave Harvey’s book on Christian marriage a gem? It is totally true. Marriage is indeed the union of sinners and Dave embraces the reader as he speaks honestly and humorously about sin and the power of the gospel to overcome it. When Sinners Say “I Do” Discovering the Power of the Gospel for Marriage is about embracing the life-transforming power of the gospel in marriage.
Just like the honest title, Dave peels back the delightful truth of God’s words and encourages readers to see more clearly the beautiful picture of what God does when sinners say “I do.”
5. What Did You Expect?
Somehow, someway, every marriage becomes a struggle. Everyone’s marriage morphs into something they didn’t intend it to be. At some point you need something sturdier than romance. You need something deeper than shared interests and mutual attraction. You need changed expectations, you need radical commitments, and, most importantly, you need grace.
In What Did You Expect, Pastor Paul Tripp writes skillfully, connecting the timeless truths of the bible with the messy realities of marriage.
6. Real Marriage
What is a real marriage? In Real Marriage, Pastor Mark Driscoll and his wife, Grace, honestly answer this question by sharing their own struggles and how they have survived as a married couple: the Bible. The Driscolls know that even though it’s tough to maintain at times, friendship is fundamental to marriage. The couple offers practical advice on how to make your spouse your best friend forever.
This is quite possibly the most poignant Christian book on marriage that utilizes a direct Biblical approach to sexual issues couples face, including oral sex, masturbation and pre-marital sexual sins.
7. Love & Respect
Dr. Emerson Eggerichs and his wife Sarah believe a wife has one driving need―to feel loved. When this need is met, the wife is happy. Likewise, a husband has one driving need―to feel respected. When this need is met, the husband is happy. Easy enough, right? Well, when either of these needs isn’t met, a marriage can get crazy. Love and Respect reveals why spouses fight and how they can deal with such conflict quickly, effectively, and with a Biblical approach.
The Emersons base their writing on over 30 years of counseling, as well as scientific and biblical research. They have already taken their Love and Respect message across America and are changing the way married Christian couples talk to, relate to and treat one another.
8. Boundaries in Marriage
Boundaries in Marriage is one of the most unique books about Christian marriage on the market today. Together, Drs. Henry Cloud and John Townsend, (authors of the award-winning best-seller Boundaries ) show couples how to apply their 10 laws of boundaries that can make a real difference in relationships. These boundaries are the “property lines” that define and protect husbands and wives as individuals first.
These counselors/authors will help couples: set and maintain personal boundaries and respect those of their spouse, establish values that form a godly framework for their marriage and protect their marriage from “intruders” of all kinds. The book will work with a spouse who already understands and values boundaries or with one who doesn’t.
9. His Needs, Her Needs: Building an Affair-Proof Marriage
An affair-proof marriage. How important is that? Of utmost importance. In the classic bestseller His Needs, Her Needs, author Willard F. Harley, Jr., exposes the ten most vital needs of men and women and shows women and men how to satisfy those needs in their spouses. Harley, Jr. artfully provides tips for becoming irresistible to your spouse, thereby eliminating the issues that often lead to dreaded extramarital affairs.
One of our favorite Christian books on marriage, this revised and expanded edition has been updated and includes new words that highlight the significance of intimate emotional needs in marriage.
10. One Man and One Woman
One of the more theologically-based Christian books on marriage, One Man and One Woman is an important book that addresses what the Bible teaches about sexual relations between people of the same sex. Author Craig Stellpflug asks: “Does true love require that we accept all forms of sexual expression?” and answers “No, real love does not rejoice in sin, but rejoices in the truth.” God reveals in the Bible that He created gender, sex, and marriage, and man may not alter them at will. Marriage is between One Man and One Woman.
Other truths presented in this book: The New Testament reaffirms God created order and moral laws and the Lord saves sinners and gives them a new identity, forgiveness, life and power to live according to His commandments. The bottom line message in this book: even though we live in modern times, God’s laws have not changed and God’s grace offers hope to sinners through Jesus Christ.
11. The Mingling of Souls
In this beautiful book, author Matt Chandler helps navigate relationship issues for both singles and marrieds by illuminating the process Solomon followed: attraction, courtship, marriage and even arguing. Indeed, The Song of Solomon offers timeless and clear insights on romance, dating, marriage, and sex. The Mingling of Souls is a book that will undoubtedly change how you view and approach love.
Perhaps the most read Christian book on marriage for the millennial generation, the book has important lessons for all of us.
12. Living in a Godly Marriage
The Puritans wrote prolifically on the subject of marriage because they believed solid marriages were the foundation for families, churches and even nations. They sought to bring biblical reformation to this subject in a comprehensive way.
Although previous Reformers like Martin Luther and John Calvin wrote biblical Christian books on marriage, the Puritans took it to another level, writing many detailed treatises on how to live as godly spouses. Wading through this glut of material, current day authors Joel R. Beeke and James A. La Belle gathered marriage insights from the past and summarized them in a contemporary form. The result is a book that encourages modern day coupling to glorify God: Living in a Godly Marriage.
13. Lasting Love: How to Avoid Marital Failure
In Lasting Love, Alistair Begg tells the story of couples that have achieved lasting love. Using theological foundations, he constructs easily understandable levels of application, showing how God’s template makes marriages strong and vibrant.
Begg’s book is ideal for both those contemplating marriage and those already married. It’s a great gift for a bride or groom to be and tells: what the Bible says about marriage vows, gender roles and parenting; what to seek in a potential spouse and how to cure and prevent marital destruction.
14. The 5 Love Languages
Butterflies, sweaty palms and star-crossed eyes. Falling in love is easy, but staying in love is a Herculean task. How can you keep your union strong and fresh amid the demands, conflicts and doldrums of everyday life? In the #1 New York Times bestseller The 5 Love Languages, Dr. Gary Chapman will tell you.
A practical book on Christian marriage, readers will discover the secret that has transformed millions of relationships worldwide: you must give and receive love equally.
15. Married for God: Making Your Marriage the Best It Can Be
In Married for God author Christopher Ash teaches us to turn away from marriage for ourselves and reach towards a God centered marriage. With clear, practical applications for modern life, Ash shows us God’s purposes and patterns for every part of the marriage relationship.
While most Christian books on marriage give wisdom regarding the horizontal relationship with our partner, Ash takes a different approach and tells us to seek God’s design for our marriage first.
16. Each For The Other: Marriage As It’s Meant To Be
We can all agree that creating a solid marriage is hard! Thankfully, we have the first of all Christian books on marriage to guide us: the Bible. The Bible is teeming with tips on nurturing a wonderful relationship, as marriage is God’s plan for unconditional love.
Drawing on the Bible, in Each for the Other, Bryan Chapell and his wife (Kathy) share truths and tips you can apply to your marriage. These tips include:
- How denying your wants can create the most fulfilling relationship ever
- The true definitions of t biblical headship and submission
- A half dozen building blocks to solidify your union and family
17. Marriage, Divorce, and Remarriage in the Bible: A Fresh Look at What Scripture Teaches
In Jay E. Adams’ Christian marriage book Marriage, Divorce, and Remarriage in the Bible the author examines the relevant Biblical passages about divorce. His analysis allows readers to see and accept more firmly the truth of Scripture and the book succeeds at being “a comprehensive, lucid, accurate study presented in a readable and practical style. . . .”
Although this book falls more in the Christian books on marriage counseling category, it’s an important resource for the pastor, church leader, and others who deal with the problems of divorce and remarriage.