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Video: John Piper, Tim Keller, and D.A. Carson on Sustaining the Marriage Covenant

“Sustaining the marriage covenant” is flowery language for simply “sticking together”. Selena and I have a saying: “There is no Plan B in our marriage.” We have no backup plan or escape clause. This mentality has helped us stick together in simple but profound ways.

In the absence of a backup plan, each spouse seeks reconciliation instead of relief. We both understand that we have to live through whatever junk we don’t deal with, so we’re motivated and committed to communicate better, listen more thoroughly, and just be better for each other.

This video has two of my favorite authors and theologians, Piper and Keller. I’m less familiar with D.A. Carson, but he is highly regarded as an authority on scripture as well.

In the video, three main points jump out at me.

1: Our Covenant Sustains Marital Love

John Piper states: “Romance and falling in love is a beautiful thing… and re-falling in love after seasons of pain can be sustained only if you elevate the covenant above affection.”

He also says, your affections exist, then they don’t exist. But a covenant always exists, regardless of feelings.

2: We Change, but Covenant Keeps Us Together

Tim Keller candidly quotes, “My wife has been married to 5 men. Every one of them was me.” He also quotes Stanley Horowitz who states, “You always marry the wrong person”.

Basically, Keller is illustrating that we change throughout our lives and marriages, and it’s vital to love our spouses through each phase: “The basis if your marriage can’t be the feeling or that you’re kindred spirits, because that will change.”

3: Our Marriage is a Testimony

Carson jumps in toward the end and says that we are created by God to exist in a marriage covenant, also created by God, as His demonstration of perfect covenantal love.

Piper closes with this, another profound statement, “We are testifying in our perseverance in covenant keeping something about Christ and the church, in covenant. We lie about Christ and we lie about what the church is obliged to do if we [break the covenant]”.

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  • Soheil Javanshir-Majd

    Thank you so much for sharing this video Ryan, and for this site, and for more

    • You’re very welcome, Soheil! Thank you for reading and watching :)

  • Casey Caston

    Ryan… great video! have your read The Meaning of Marriage… it is a must! Would love to touch bases with you when you get a chance, reached out via email, but no response? Casey from Marriage365…

  • Casey Caston

    I’ve always said during my ceremonies that marriage is not about love, but about the commitment… love only flourishes when you honor that commitment above all else.

  • Kyle Bowen

    Awesome…elevate covenant above affection. Thank you.