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This Momentary Marriage: A Parable of Permanence Hardcover – April 3, 2009

4.5 out of 5 stars 166 customer reviews

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Editorial Reviews

From Publishers Weekly

Piper—a pastor, poet and parent—offers a biblical interpretation of and scriptural model for marriage. Piper has honed his distinctive voice—apparent even in his books—over 30 years of public speaking, teaching and preaching, but it's one most narrators ignore or find too challenging to interpret and integrate in their rendition; Grover Gardner makes an admirable effort, but listeners might find his tone incongruent with Piper's. Even if his reading lends a slightly removed and abstract feel to the work, Gardner manages to convey the author's remarkably insightful revelations of the mystery of God's marriage paradigm. A Crossways hardcover. (Aug.)
Copyright © Reed Business Information, a division of Reed Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved. --This text refers to the Audio CD edition.


"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 Leigh DeMoss, author, Biblical Womanhood in the Home; 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

"Miss the radical message of this book and you'll miss the joyful point of marriage. Heed the surprising call of this book and you'll appreciate the sacred privilege of marriage that our culture fails to see."
Larry Crabb, Jr., Distinguished Scholar in Residence, Colorado Christian University

"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 Bible and Theology, 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. Kostenberger, Senior Professor of New Testament and Biblical Theology, Director of Ph.D. Studies, Southeastern Baptist Theological Seminary


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Product Details

  • Hardcover: 192 pages
  • Publisher: Crossway; 1 edition (April 3, 2009)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1433507129
  • ISBN-13: 978-1433507120
  • Product Dimensions: 8 x 5.2 x 0.7 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 10.4 ounces
  • Average Customer Review: 4.5 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (166 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #557,624 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Customer Reviews

Top Customer Reviews

By Tim Challies TOP 1000 REVIEWER on May 18, 2009
Format: Hardcover
John Piper waited forty years to write a book on marriage. It is only after forty years of marriage that he felt like he would have something valuable to say (or something valuable to add to a very crowded genre of book). "Romance, sex, and childbearing are temporary gifts of God. They are not part of the next life. And they are not guaranteed even for this life. They are one possible path through the narrow way to Paradise. Marriage passes through breathtaking heights and through swamps with choking vapors. It makes many things sweeter, and with it come bitter providences." Four decades of sweetness and bitter providences stand behind this book.

Though I am tempted to say that no generation needs to be reminded of a biblical theology of marriage more than our own, I suspect that hundreds of generations past would disagree, saying that their generation is as desperately in need of God's wisdom. In the book's opening pages, Piper writes of the cultural distortion of marriage, a distortion that sees marriage as little more than temporary convenience that lasts only as long as the romantic feelings remain. He does so "in the hopes that it might wake you up to consider a vision of marriage higher and deeper and stronger and more glorious than anything this culture--or perhaps you yourself--ever imagined. The greatness and glory of marriage is beyond our ability to think or feel without divine revelation and without the illumining and awakening work of the Holy Spirit." The book is built upon this foundation: that marriage is God's doing. It is the doing of God and it is the display of God.

"The aim of this book is to enlarge your vision of what marriage is. As Bonhoeffer says, it is more than your love for each other. Vastly more. Its meaning is infinitely great.
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Format: Paperback
This book got off to a slow and slightly laborious start for me. It seemed redundant. Maybe I needed another coffee, but I was bored with the style. It appeared to lack coherence. Chapter two was doused with conjecture. At that I was nearly ready to toss in the towel. I'm glad I stuck it out. The book quickly got better. Much better, in fact.

If there's anything at which Piper excels, it is his constant mindfulness of the brevity of this earthly run. He never gives the impression that five minutes have elapsed since his last thought on the meaning of life. If everything in the believer's short life is to honor Christ and bring glory to God, how much more should marriage! Marriage, as Piper explains, is the doing of God and the display of God. This book explains how to make the very most of it.

Read with a highlighter. "This Momentary Marriage" is a field of treasures. There's an appeal to humility for both partners. There's practical advice for the woman who desires her reluctant husband to lead, but feels the paralyzing irony of demanding his leadership. Along with an uncompromising call for men to lead, there's specific instruction. There are profound thoughts on the contentment produced by faith and its implications for the marriage bed. Piper even delivers some profound thoughts on topics like singleness and parenting.

We're all rebels at heart. So here's my warning: if your particular rebellion against God happens to manifest itself in a futile attachment to modern feminism with respect to gender roles, you will be offended. As we should expect from anyone who reveres the Word of God, Piper eschews political correctness. Keep in mind that if no one ever offends you, you are friendless and hopeless.
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Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
Great biblical book and encouraging read for premarital study and also for married couples. Piper outlines a less common theme in marriage that it really isn't all about you. It's about God and His glory in your marriage. And that shapes how you love one another and proceed in marriage.
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Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
It could be just my personal opinion but the book is very boring. It is very wordy and repetitive. It seems like the book could be cut in half by condensing chapters. Maybe someone else will get benefit from it but we did not.
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Format: Paperback
Brief Summary

This book is not about being a husband or a wife. Rather, it is about marriage, which transcends the roles of two individuals, and, properly understood, catapults us to gaze upon the glories of heaven. By God’s design, marriage is the best representation of the gospel. In this book, Piper labors to have us see it.

His thesis best summarizes the book’s intent: “I pray that this book might be used by God to help set you free from small, worldly, culturally contaminated, self-centered, Christ-ignoring, God-neglecting, romance-intoxicated, unbiblical views of marriage. The most foundational thing to see from the Bible about marriage is that it is God’s doing. And the ultimate thing to see from the Bible about marriage is that it is for God’s glory” (Pg. 21).


I have not read many marriage books, and I am not married. So, on the surface, my evaluation of this book is uneducated and uninformed at best. I don’t resent that judgment. However, I have seen how God loves marriage in His Word, and I have seen the devastating belittlement of it in the world – even in the church. In light of that contrast, Piper’s book is crucial, and on point throughout every chapter. His goal is to unveil the glory of marriage in light of the glory of the gospel, and he does a good job of it.

So then, why not a 5? I haven’t read enough on the topic, or lived it, to know. Lord-willing, both will change before I die and go to glory, and then I’ll be able to more accurately prioritize this book.


Across all times and cultures, marriage is the most universal institution. Have you stopped to ask, “Why?” Of all the people in the world, only Christians have the answer: marriage points to the gospel of Jesus Christ.
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