When most people say, “This is the best book you’ll ever read on XYZ,” I usually yawn. When Tim Challies says it, I’m on the way to the Amazon. When Tim Challies says it about a book on marriage, I can’t press “Buy-now-with-one-click” quick enough.

And he’s right…again. Tim & Kathy Keller’s book on marriage is the best I’ve ever read on the subject. No matter how long or how short you’ve been married, it will expand and elevate your understanding and experience of this precious relationship – and, as a bonus, it will do the same to your relationship with Christ.

There are some profound and unforgettable illustrations and quotations that will transform the way you view yourself, your marriage partner, and your God.

I don’t see the point in writing a full review, because Tim’s review really says it all. However, as I’m working through the book with a young couple preparing for marriage, I thought I could contribute to the book’s usefulness for married couples and for pre-marriage counseling by writing an “Unofficial Study Guide.”

Hopefully the publishers will eventually produce their own, but until then, here’s mine in pdf format. And if you want to customize it for your own use, here it is in Word.

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  • http://engagingchurchblog.com Andrew Rogers

    Thanks for posting this, David!

  • http://headhearthand.org/blog/ David Murray

    Thanks Andrew.

  • Sarah McEwen

    Um, wow. Our Women’s Bible Study is studying this book right now. I was just sitting down to write the study questions for Chapter Three (and now I don’t need to!) and stopped to check my Reader first (so glad I did)! Thank you for this!!!

    • http://headhearthand.org/blog/ David Murray

      Great! Glad to be of assistance.

  • http://joshcousineau.com Josh Cousineau

    Thanks for doing this and making it available for us to benefit from.

  • Kenny Keahey

    Looks like a great resource, thanks!!

  • http://www.fbc-online.ca Lee Dyck

    Thank you so much for sharing this. One of the absolute best book on marriage… right up there with Tripp’s “What Did You Expect?”

  • http://donotdisturbblog.wordpress.com/ Megan@DoNotDisturb

    My husband and I are leading a group through this in the fall. Looking forward to what you have come up with in addition to our own study questions. Thanks for sharing.


    • Megan@DoNotDisturb

      Our unofficial study guide (and leader’s guide) is now available as well.

      • http://headhearthand.org/blog/ David Murray

        Where can I get this, Megan?

        • Megan@DoNotDisturb

          David, I posted a link in another comment, but maybe it went to your Spam filter?

          If you go to our Do Not Disturb Blog, you’ll see a link to the study material at the top of the page. Feel free to do a google search…sadly, the link doesn’t seem to be coming through.

      • http://headhearthand.org/blog/ David Murray

        Thanks Megan. That looks great. Here’s the link for everyone else: http://donotdisturbblog.wordpress.com/the-meaning-of-marriage-study-guide/

  • brian

    Where’s ch. 7?

    • http://headhearthand.org/blog/ David Murray

      At the beginning of Chapter 8 questions I wrote: I didn’t prepare questions for chapter 7 on “Singleness and Marriage” as this questionnaire is for use with couples preparing for marriage. I still think chapter 7 is a very valuable chapter for couples to read in order to build understanding and respect of those called to singleness.

  • Brad

    Hi David,

    I love your blog, and on Challies recommendation I purchased and read this book for my own marriage and in preperation for leading pre-marital counselling.

    I am wondering whether you found Chapter 7 troubling as far as its understanding of biblical manhood/womanhood and even more seriously of the Trinity?

    I was surprised and concerned to read Mrs. Kathy Keller state regarding male headship: “‘Why does the man get to lead…why is the husband the head?’ I think the truest answer is that we simply don’t know” (187). The implication seems to be that there is nothing inherent in manhood or womanhood that would make male-headship make sense. She implies that the biblical arrangement is arbitrary.

    Even more concerning for me, was that in the the next sentence Kathy Keller implies that the incarnation of the Son (as opposed to the Father) was arbitrary, “Why was Jesus, the Son, the one who submitted and served? Why wasn’t it the Father? We don’t know” (187). In my opinion, Mrs. Keller has a very unusual understanding of the Trinity if she thinks that the roles of the Father and Son (and perhaps Spirit) could be interchanged.

    • Brad

      Oops, I meant Chapter 6 “Embracing the Other” above (not chapter 7).

    • http://headhearthand.org/blog/ David Murray

      Yes, Brad, chapter 6 is the one that refers to the Trinity. I did have a couple of questions/concerns about this chapter.

      As I mentioned in the Study Guide: I’m not sure why Kathy Keller chose to use and emphasize the “dance” metaphor in this chapter. Whatever its usefulness in describing human relationships, I do not think it appropriate to apply to the Trinity. I would suggest simply substituting “relationship.”

      As to the language you refer to, yes it is ambiguous. However, is it possible to read the first quote as saying, “We don’t know why God made man as the head rather than the woman.” It’s not denying that God made man with inherent headship abilities. It’s simply saying that we don’t know why God decided to make man this way instead of the woman this way.

      The second quote is definitely more difficult to defend. However, that may be partly because it is very difficult for us, with the benefit of biblical revelation, to understand any other way the Trinity would have organized salvation.

      These are important matters that you highlight, and require more careful expression definitely. However, I don’t think they are fatal to the book.

      • Brad

        Thank you for your thoughts. I also agree that these particular concerns are not fatal to the book. Though I shared my concerns regarding these issues with the to be married couple which i am counselling (i am a pastor), I still strongly recommended the book.

        THank you for the study guide!

  • Warren

    Dude you rock! I’m going to be leading our church through study of Tim’s book and this resource really helps! Thanks!!

    • http://headhearthand.org/blog/ David Murray

      Glad to be of assistance, Warren!

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  • http://www.totascriptura.com Rick Hogaboam

    Thanks so much for posting this, incredibly helpful and should be made the “official” guide in my honest opinion.

  • http://www.musingsinmontage.com Caroline


    I’m just starting a book study with a group of ladies (single, dating, married) and this is the perfect resource! Thanks so much!

  • joan

    Hey David, Thanks for the study guide. I was so excited to find it. The page numbers referenced are not the same in the kindle version as in the hard cover. That’s made it a little confusing. Thanks anyway.

  • Connie Wells

    Can we find the answers to this study guide anywhere?

    • http://headhearthand.org/blog/ David Murray

      Yes, they’re in the book!

  • Mark G.

    Like others have said, thank you for the study guide, I was about to write my own, but I found yours.


  • Evedna

    Thank you so much! I’m going through this with a friend & was praying about how I can make the most of our time together rather than just the typical, “i liked this part & when he said this”. As a mother of 4 little ones, I want both my single friend & myself to be actually applying the book, but barely have time to read let along think through questions. This guide will be such a blessing.

  • Gerald

    Thanks Pastor David. Your study guide is very helpful.

  • Veronica

    You do a great job of developing questions. There is a real art to asking good questions and I so appreciate your work.

    • David Murray

      Thank you for the kind words, Veronica.

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