Entrepreneur Max Anderson reflects on his New York pastor and friend’s teaching on marriage

Read: The Meaning of Marriage

Listen: Tim’s Google talk on The Meaning of Marriage

One of Tim’s most popular books is The Meaning of Marriage, a book he co-authored with his wife Kathy. In truth, I think she secretly co-wrote or at least edited all of his books. The book is based on a series of sermons Tim did on marriage years ago. When I started attending Redeemer, streaming wasn’t a thing, but the church sold copies of CDs of Tim’s sermons and the marriage series was by far the best-seller.


Read more:

Remembering Tim Keller (1950-2023) in his own words

Are we being too ‘winsome’ in our approach to evangelism? Tim Keller responds

Tim Keller: How I prepare my sermons

How Tim Keller’s New York ministry changed the world


In 2003 when I was dating Jess and things were getting serious, I still felt nervous about taking the plunge and proposing to her. I asked Tim if I could meet with him and he graciously made time. I asked him if you need to be 100 per cent sure you’ve found the right person before getting married. He paused, looked at me and asked: “Well how sure would you say you are?” I said about 90 per cent.


He nodded and very practically said: “Well I think that is as close as you can ever really get. There are seven billion people in the world. How could you be certain you found the one? Any thoughtful person would harbour some doubt. But if you are at 85-90 per cent, I think that means you know the right answer.”

He was right. Marrying Jess has been the best decision of my life.

As was doing some pre-marital counselling with Tim. Jess and I giggled like kids when, during the intimacy part of our counselling, he suggested that “sex is lubricant for your marriage”, but we benefitted more from thinking through with him what the purpose of marriage was in the first place. 


Get access to exclusive bonus content & updates: register & sign up to the Premier Unbelievable? newsletter!


In Tim’s articulation, the purpose of marriage is “for two spiritual friends to help each other on their journey to become the persons God designed them to be”. Marriage, Tim suggested, can be a picture of God’s love by giving us the experience of being fully known and fully loved:

“To be loved but not known is comforting but superficial. To be known and not loved is our greatest fear. But to be fully known and truly loved is, well, a lot like being loved by God. It is what we need more than anything.”


Max Anderson is an entrepreneur and author. He is founder of Stagecoach Ventures and author of The Weekend Reader, a deep thinker’s guide to modern culture. He is author of Modern Meditations: Reflections from the Mid-Point of the Second Decade of the Twenty-first Century. Max is founder and CEO of The Lift Seminar - a personal accelerator for entrepreneurs, and a platform for teaching MBAs at the world’s top business schools the secrets of massive personal productivity.