This Momentary Marriage

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Author: John Piper


A Parable of Permanence

Reflecting on forty years of matrimony, John Piper exalts the biblical meaning of marriage over its emotion, exhorting couples to keep their covenant for all the best reasons.

Even in the days when people commonly stayed married "'til death do us part," there has never been a generation whose view of marriage was high enough, says Pastor John Piper. That is all the more true in our casual times.

Though personal selfishness and cultural bondage obstruct the wonder of God's purpose, it is found in God's Word, where his design can awaken a glorious vision capable of freeing every person from small, Christ-ignoring, romance-intoxicated views. As Piper explains in reflecting on forty years of matrimony: "Most foundationally, marriage is the doing of God. And ultimately, marriage is the display of God. It displays the covenant-keeping love between Christ and his people to the world in a way that no other event or institution does. Marriage, therefore, is not mainly about being in love. It's mainly about telling the truth with our lives. And staying married is not about staying in love. It is about keeping covenant and putting the glory of Christ's covenant-keeping love on display."

This Momentary Marriage unpacks the biblical vision, its unexpected contours, and its weighty implications for married, single, divorced, and remarried alike.

Table of Contents:

1.  Staying Married Is Not Mainly about Staying in Love 

2.  Naked and Not Ashamed

3.  God’s Showcase of Covenant-Keeping Grace 

4.  Forgiving and Forbearing 

5.  Pursuing Conformity to Christ in the Covenant 

6.  Lionhearted and Lamblike—The Christian Husband as Head: Foundations of Headship

7.  Lionhearted and Lamblike—The Christian Husband as Head: What Does It Mean to Lead?

8.  The Beautiful Faith of Fearless Submission 

9.  Single in Christ: A Name Better Than Sons and Daughters

10. Singleness, Marriage, and the Christian Virtue of Hospitality

11. Faith and Sex in Marriage 

12. Marriage Is Meant for Making Children . . . Disciples of Jesus: How Absolute Is the Duty to Procreate?

13. Marriage Is Meant for Making Children . . . Disciples of Jesus: The Conquest of Anger in Father and Child

14. What God Has Joined Together, Let Not Man  Separate: The Gospel and the Radical New Obedience

15. What God Has Joined Together, Let Not Man Separate: The Gospel and the Divorced


About the author:

John Piper (DTheol, University of Munich) is teacher and founder of and chancellor of Bethlehem College and Seminary. He served for 33 years as senior pastor at Bethlehem Baptist Church in Minneapolis and is author of more than 50 books, including Desiring God, Don’t Waste Your Life, This Momentary Marriage, Bloodlines, and Does God Desire All to Be Saved?


"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." ~Raymond C. Ortlund Jr., Lead Pastor, Immanuel Church, Nashville, Tennessee
"This book is a treasure in an era when the common perspective on marriage has been more shaped by sitcoms and self-help books than by Scripture. Dr. Piper lifts our hearts and minds to God's vision for marriage. Embracing God's design and purposes for marriage can make our homes tastes of heaven." ~Nancy DeMoss Wolgemuth, author; radio host, Revive Our Hearts
"This is not a 'how to' book on marriage. Instead, this is a 'why to' book. And that's what this culture desperately needs." ~Dennis Rainey, President, FamilyLife
"A highly original contribution to Christian teaching on marriage. A copy should be put into the hands of every couple preparing for lasting and loving wedlock." ~Charles Colson, founder, Prison Fellowship and the Colson Center for Christian Worldview
"This book grew out of John Piper's forty years of experience in marriage and many years of parenting, pastoring, and studying Scripture. It is filled with rich, practical wisdom about the nature of marriage as a wonderful but temporary gift from God. I have taught about marriage for over thirty years, and I still found much that I could learn from this book." ~Wayne Grudem, Research Professor of Theology and Biblical Studies, Phoenix Seminary
"The reason this book is so delightful is that it sets marriage within the matrix of the Bible's fundamental themes: the glory of God, the outworking of justification, the relationship between this life and the life to come, how husbands and wives are to interact with each other this side of the cross, and much more of the same. This is not another little 'how to' book-yet if its God-centered and gospel-centered theology is genuinely absorbed, so many of the 'how to' questions will be robustly answered." ~D. A. Carson, Research Professor of New Testament, Trinity Evangelical Divinity School
"John Piper's new book on marriage is an instant classic. It is at once biblical and devotional, the fruit of seasoned theological reflection and four decades of 'momentary' marriage." ~Andreas J. Köstenberger, Senior Research Professor of New Testament and Biblical Theology, Southeastern Baptist Theological Seminary