Like most pastors and most married people, I have discovered that Christians struggle in the area of marriage more than most any other area of life. I am constantly confronted with couples who just can’t seem to make it work. Some of them call it quits, while many others hang together in misery.
Scripture is clear that marriage is a gift from the Lord that He intends for His people to enjoy. But marriage is not easy, and every couple should seek help along the way.
The following resources can be a tremendous source of help. They offer biblical truth to provide a foundation for marriage, and many practical helps to work on the day-to-day of marriage.
If couples really care about their marriages, they will take the time to learn how it works. And the best way to learn how anything works is by reading about it. So here are the best resources on marriage.
These are the best overall online marriage ministries I am aware of. These are sites that are full of resources to explore and study. If you know of others, or discover a broken link, please let me know.
Love and Respect – The online home of the book by the same name, and the ministry of Dr. Emerson Eggerichs and his wife, Sarah.
Focus on the Family – Naturally, there are tons of great articles and helps here, including an entire section on marriage helps. In addition, Focus on the Family provides the National Institute of Marriage website, where counseling and intensive help can be found for troubled marriages.
The 5 Love Languages – Dr. Gary Chapman’s book by the same name has been a major bestseller since it was first published in 1995. This interactive website offers many helps in discovering your spouse’s love languages (and your own), and how to speak that language.
Paul Tripp Ministries – Solid biblical resources on marriage and many other areas from Paul David Tripp.
There are thousands of helpful (free) articles online designed to help marriages. Each website listed above, for example, provides articles like this. But these in particular are the ones I have found to be particularly helpful. If you would like to recommend articles for this section, or if you find a broken link, please let me know.
Ten Secrets to a Successful Marriage – Mitch Temple
Marriage is a Holy Covenant, not a Contract – Chip Ingram
23 Things That Love Is – Paul David Tripp
Three of my articles:
Dr. Eggerichs’ challenging book, Love & Respect, helps couples explore the biblical truth that husbands are to love their wives and that wives are to respect their husbands (Eph 5:33). Those ideas seem so simple! But it is the misunderstanding of these truths, and how they should look in a marriage relationship, that often leads a marriage down a road to destruction.
I highly recommend Love and Respect, because couples must get this right in order to find joy in their marriages. Eggerichs’ book does not provide a detailed theological foundation for marriage (though it doesn’t ignore this), nor does it touch on every topic that may come up in a marriage, but it does provide a focused challenge to comprehend what real love and real respect are, and how they should look in the marriage context.
The Meaning of Marriage: Facing the Complexities of Commitment with the Wisdom of God by Timothy Keller will help couples grasp the heart of marriage as a covenantal institution between two people before God. In his typical conversational style, Keller exudes with intelligence, Christian maturity, and wisdom as he challenges couples to move beyond themselves, and even beyond their partner, into the dance of the Trinity.
This Momentary Marriage: A Parable of Permanence by John Piper. Recommendation from Raymond Ortlund: “Theologically, this book exalts human marriage as a metaphor for the ultimate love story in Christ. Practically, it applies that glorious vision of grace to our daily experiences in marriage, singleness, parenthood, and the most universal of human realities-sin. This book opens our eyes and guides our feet with the grace of Christ.” In typical Piper-fashion, this book both makes you think hard about marriage and feel the weight of the importance of it.
Covenant Marriage: Building Communication and Intimacy by Gary Chapman – From Book Description: “Dr. Chapman shows how communication and intimacy are two of the most important aspects in developing a successful Covenant Marriage. At the heart of it all are the principles that lasting answers to marital growth are found in the Bible, your relationship with God enhances your marriage relationship, communication is the primary vehicle by which two persons become one in the marriage relationship, and the idea of biblical oneness involves not only sex, but intellectual, spiritual, emotional, and social oneness.”
Boundaries in Marriage By Henry Cloud and John Townsend – “Whether you are just starting out as a couple, have been married for years, or are seriously contemplating marriage, Boundaries in Marriage will show you how to establish your own boundaries and respect those of your partner. Drawing on principles from the Bible, it can help you safeguard against relational fractures and mend existing cracks. It may even save your marriage. And it can help make even the best marriage better.”
The 5 Love Languages: The Secret to Love That Lasts By Gary Chapman – Years after its publication, this book remains one of Amazon’s best selling books. Review: “While working as a marriage counselor for more than 30 years, he identified five love languages: Words of Affirmation, Quality Time, Receiving Gifts, Acts of Service, and Physical Touch. In a friendly, often humorous style, he unpacks each one. Some husbands or wives may crave focused attention; another needs regular praise. Gifts are highly important to one spouse, while another sees fixing a leaky faucet, ironing a shirt, or cooking a meal as filling their ‘love tank.’ Some partners might find physical touch makes them feel valued: holding hands, giving back rubs, and sexual contact. Chapman illustrates each love language with real-life examples from his counseling practice.”
The Love Dare By Alex Kendrick – The companion book to the movie Fireproof. This book is probably the most practical in the list. It is is “a 40-day challenge for husbands and wives to understand and practice unconditional love. Whether your marriage is hanging by a thread or healthy and strong.”