A Momentary Marriage: A Parable of Permanence by John Piper

This book was recommended to me by two single people. The fact that they liked it so much interested me, and I was already looking for marriage books to read this year. The author, John Piper, was another reason I decided to start with this book. If I end up not completing my goal of reading 6 marriage books this year, I know that I would want the John Piper marriage book to be the one I got to read. I love John Piper and his standards set on par with those of Christ. I know that I will not be getting a wishy-washy book, but one full of Biblical teaching. I was not disappointed.

The first chapter of this book sold me. If you read nothing else in this book, read that first chapter. The beginning to this amazing marriage book is a chapter on martyrdom and that chapter alone changed me. It told a story that was what I needed to read (though not necessarily what I would say I wanted) and it formed the basis for this book’s title: A Momentary Marriage. We are blessed to be given these small moments on earth, and our true focus as Christians is on God. I have been preparing for my two-year-old son and my husband to head back overseas to Lebanon without me while I stay Stateside to complete doctor’s appointments for our newborn girl. So, this season needed a reminder that my focus is on God and that my husband and son are gifts from God, blessings that I must be willing and able to give back to God whenever He asks.

This is not a book solely for married people. If you are young, old, single, widowed, divorced, separated, married, engaged, no matter what relationship status you are in it is a great book.

Because Louis and I listen to Piper sermons from DesiringGod.org there was a lot of the foundational parts to this book that I had heard before. The main points he was making about marriage were not new to me, nor did I feel they were really going to improve my marriage beyond where it was. However, every time I would share with Louis a summary of what I had read I found myself changing in subtle, helpful ways in the way I thought about my marriage to Louis as well as my actions therein. I think that if you are feeling in any way that a marriage book might be a good read, this book will change your marriage. It will affect the way you go about your relationship with God, whether you are married, single, or divorced. This was not just a feel good, stay yourself and keep on keeping on book. It was a charge to action in this battle against Satan and it equips the reader with weapons for this battle. John Piper does not shy away from tough topics, and he gives a Biblical backing for each point he makes.

There were three main sections that I took away from this book: 1) If marriage was taken as seriously by us as it is by Jesus, we truly would have a better view of Singleness. We would encourage Singleness in the way that Paul does, and we would also be in a different place of attitude and action toward struggling marriages. I realized that I have not held the same standards for marriage that Jesus does, and that I am not truly showing love in my own flippancy toward dating. 2) I need to know a lot more about Dietrich Bonhoefer. Each chapter began with quotes from his writings and I found myself wanting to read those writings more than I would want to read the chapter that followed. The story at the beginning about his own engagement was heart wrenching and God spoke to me of my own inclination to hold my family higher than God, idolatry. 3) There are several topics that I have, whether purposefully or subconsciously I can’t say, avoided learning about and studying so that I would not know the truth. I know that when I know the truth about something I can be pretty severe about that topic. Divorce has been one of those topics, and this book gave me the Truth in an undeniable and unavoidable way. Therefore, I was forced to sit down with Louis and really break down our thoughts and feelings about divorce and how we will counsel those who come to us in the future about it and remarriage. The Biblical backing was, once again, something lacking in our churches.

Overall, this book was an amazing read, and not just for the married couple. I think anyone could read it and find something God is speaking into their lives. The book was filled with truth and transparency and did not sacrifice truth for excuses. Once you read this book, you will realize that you are on the hook for following God’s commandments even more than you were. This is one of those books which will land you in the place of the Rich Man that Jesus spoke to: You will have to make choices as you read to walk away from Jesus or sell your possessions / give up idols, poor habits, wrong thinking, etc.

The facts about the book.

Title: This Momentary Marriage: A Parable of Permanence

Author: John Piper

Publisher: Crossway Books Wheaton, Illinois

Publication Date: 2009

# Pages: 191

Special Features: Scripture Index, People Index, and Topical Index

Price: $17.99 Hardcover, $9.59 Kindle

I got it for almost free because I borrowed it from the library, but I did end up paying fines because I got caught up in the baby and packing and forgot/didn’t return my library books.

ISBN: 1-4335-0712-9