Paul Tripp: Redeeming the Realities of Marriage

A few weeks ago, Paul Tripp was in Memphis, TN, for Redeeming the Realities of Marriage, a weekend marriage conference. My wife and I were able to sit through some of the sessions, and if you can go to one of his conferences, it is a great opportunity to enjoy a weekend together and talk through some of the areas that present growth opportunities in your marriage.

Attending the live event is beneficial, but you can also watch Tripp’s presentation on DVD (which you can view and purchase here).  Tripp provides a good framework for marriage relationships, centering his presentation on the Kingdom of God and our attempts to build our own kingdom. If you want some more information before purchasing the DVD, check out these bonus videos at Westminster Bookstore. Tripp explains some of the themes of the conference such as love, sin, worship, and God’s kingdom.

Tripp has also written a book based on the material from the conference: What Did You Expect: Redeeming the Realities of Marriage (Crossway, 2010: 288 pages, Audio CD). Tripp begins by examining the “essential wisdom perspectives that Scripture gives us for a realistic expectation of marriage: 1) you are conducting your marriage in a fallen world; 2) you are a sinner married to a sinner; 3) God is faithful, powerful, and willing. Tripp then examines the centrality of worship in all of life and the importance of it in a proper understanding of marriage. We should especially view our marriage in light of the Kingdom of God because we are tempted to be about the process of building our own kingdoms in our life and our marriage. Our marriages will find healing as we align our lives with God’s Kingdom.

After explaining the importance of seeing your marriage in light of the Kingdom of God, Tripp structures the book by explaining six commitments that will encourage a lifestyle for a healthy and strong marriage:

  1. We will give ourselves to a regular lifestyle of confession and forgiveness.
  2. We will make growth and change our daily agenda.
  3. We will work together to build a sturdy bond of trust.
  4. We will commit to building a relationship of love.
  5. We will deal with our differences with appreciation and grace.
  6. We will work to protect our marriage.

Each commitment has 2-3 chapters that explains the particular commitment and places it in light of the big picture of the book.

If you have read some of Tripp’s other books (such as Instruments in the Hands of the Redeemer, War of Words, and Relationships: A Mess Worth Making), you will recognize some of the material. Tripp is applying the aspect of heart change and the gospel of grace to the area of marriage, but even if you have read the other works, this particular study on marriage is important. It would be wise to use this material not only for current marital growth, but also pre-marital counseling as we attempt to prepare couples for the realities of marriage. If you want to preview the book, Crossway allows you to browse the book online.