One of the best marriage books I have read and will recommend is “The Meaning of Marriage” by Tim Keller.
In this book, author Timothy Keller frankly lets people know marriages built on “self-fulfillment” will not last, rather, marriages need to be built on self-denial & sacrifice.
Some small points from the book:
* Vows are not a declaration of present love, but a promise of future love. A wedding is not a celebration of how loving you feel now; it is the day you stand up before God, family, society, and you promise to be loving, faithful, and true to the other person in the future, regardless of internal feelings or external circumstances.
* The search for an ideal mate is a hopeless quest. Its an illusion to search and find the one true soul mate, & everything wrong with us will be healed; that makes the lover into God, and no human being can live up to that. If we look to our spouses to fill up our tanks in a way that only God can do, we are demanding an impossibility.
* Mutual submission. Most only teach on wives being submissive to husbands, when the Bible teaches mutual submission. Whether we are husband or wife, we are not to live for ourselves but for the other. And that is the hardest yet single most important function of being a husband or a wife in marriage. Paul writes that the husband is “head” of his wife; whatever it means cannot negate the fact that he is also his wife’s Christian brother and bond-servant, according to Galatians 5:13, and spouses are called to serve one another. That does not destroy authority and roles within a human relationship, but it does radically transform it.
* Self-centeredness is biggest problem in marriages, and it is the ever-present enemy of every marriage. It is the cancer in the center of a marriage when it begins. If two spouses each say, “I’m going to treat my self-centeredness as the main problem in the marriage,” you have the prospect of a truly great marriage.
* Don’t marry a person you DO NOT LIKE. But it’s a guarantee that whoever you marry, will fall “out of like.” It is typical to lose head-over-heals before even marriage. Our emotions are tied to so many things within our physiology, psychology, and environment, therefore, our emotions CANNOT affect our ACTIONS.
The book has a special chapter to singles, and a chapter on the subject of intimacy. Honestly, this book is so RAW and real, that I would recommend couples read it on their honeymoon, after the wedding day. Prior to the wedding day, read something fun, easy, funny, cute. This book paints the real picture of marriage, something most couples don’t want to look forward to, until they are faced with it. When that day comes, pick up this book; it will help you and equip you.