Marriage is a strong word meant to convey commitment between two people. In its truest sense, marriage should convey covenant more than contract. A contract is voidable based on unmet conditions while a covenant is an unbreakable bond that seeks the best interests of others. However, the definitions by which marriage is organized today are confused to the point that marriage has not only been redefined, but has also burdened marriage with a weight of expectation that is unbearable.
According to the culturally accepted version of marriage, no longer is it a God-centered institution. Instead the focus of marriage is dependent upon self. The quality of marriage is now determined by what ‘I’ can get out of it.
With such a view, two things happen in marriage. First, the termination of marriage becomes easier because the marriage is more ready for discontinuation when one’s needs and wants are not met. Furthermore, the endurance of marriage is made much more difficult because they are determined by one’s expectations at any given moment, which can change or even be incapable of being fulfilled.
There is perhaps no greater authority on marriage and family than Paul and Tedd Tripp. Each offers insightful teachings for the application of believers’ lives. I can assert my own thankfulness for Paul Tripp’s book, What Did You Expect? Tripp provides a valuable resource capable of pointing one to Scripture for the transformation of one’s marriage.
In light of the skewed vision that our culture has on marriage, the author spends his first four chapters laying out a foundation for believers. It requires a deconstruction of the previous foundation and in its place forming a new one. Upon this foundation, Paul Tripp divides the remaining 13 chapters into six sections that develop a theme of the following marriage commitments:
V Commitment 1: We will give ourselves to a regular lifestyle of confession and forgiveness
V Commitment 2: We will make growth and change our daily agenda
V Commitment 3: We will work together to build a sturdy bond of trust
V Commitment 4: We will commit to building a relationship of love
V Commitment 5: We will deal with our differences with appreciation and grace
V Commitment 6: We will work to protect our marriage
These commitments convey not merely Tripp’s own thoughts on marriage, but his ability to bring Scripture into the intricacies of every marriage.
Paul Tripp uses What Did You Expect? as an opportunity bring believers back to view of marriage that is defined by Scripture, instituted by God, and chartered by Christ. In doing so, the author helps readers to identify three things:
1) A Correct Vision of the Bible: Tripp deconstructs false views of the Bible and reconstructs right views. He begins the book by addressing our misuse of the Bible as an encyclopedia, going from topic to topic. In its place, he instructs readers to use the Bible as a theologically annotated story (page 16).
2) A Correct Vision of Expectations: God has gifted the author with an ability to accurately ascertain circumstances and adequately address them from a biblical worldview. In doing so he confronts the false expectations and false view of self that create greater conflict within marriage.
3) A Correction Vision of Marriage: Finally, Paul Tripp’s focus on the Bible corrects the false visions of marriage that are culturally created. Using Scripture the author helps readers determine a right understanding of marriage.
While aiding readers in understanding of these three items may seem simplistic, Paul Tripp’s keen ability to simplistically convey deep material provides a profundity unmatched by others.
The author’s insights into marriage provide a book that is highly recommended for all believers. In fact, it is a book that I so highly recommend that I even keep multiple copies of it in my office, both in English and Spanish in order to give out at every opportunity. The biblical discernment that Tripp offers makes it a book that is worth reading on an annual basis.