John Piper

Preparing for Marriage: Help for Christian Couples (Revised & Expanded)

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As you prepare for marriage, dare to dream with God.

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Preparing for Marriage: Help for Christian Couples (Revised & Expanded Edition), by John Piper

As you prepare for marriage, dare to dream with God.

Getting to know that special someone naturally involves learning about family and friends, education and athletics, favorite pastimes, and your hopes and dreams. Ideally, you’ll talk about life’s best moments and worst, the brightest places in your background and the darkest.

How to Prepare for Marriage? Help for Christian Couples

But what about God? What is his role in your relationship? What do each of you believe about him, and how do you understand his dream for marriage—for your marriage?

John Piper wants to help you faithfully walk the road to becoming husband and wife. Here you’ll find his counsel on practical topics like engagement, wedding planning, finances, and sex. But most importantly, John shares his most vital word on marriage: a vision grander than many of us have ever dared to dream, about what God is doing in every Christian marriage.


John PipeJohn Piperr is founder and teacher of and chancellor of Bethlehem College & Seminary. For 33 years, he served as pastor at Bethlehem Baptist Church, Minneapolis, Minnesota. John and his wife, Noël, have four sons, a daughter, and twelve grandchildren. He is the author of numerous books, and more than 30 years of his preaching and teaching is available free of charge at


Click to read Editor's Preface

Getting to know that special someone naturally includes learning about family and friends, education and athletics, favor­ite pastimes, and your hopes and dreams. Ideally, you’ll ask each other all kinds of questions, some vital and some trivial, and you’ll talk about life’s best moments and worst, the brightest places in your background and the darkest.

But what about God? What is his role in your relationship? What do each of you believe about him, and how do you understand his dream for marriage—for your marriage?

At Desiring God, one of our most accessed pages online is a set of questions John Piper put together for couples preparing for marriage (an updated version appears in Appendix I). You’ll find many of the typical questions here—about friends and entertainment and lifestyle and children, and many people have found that John’s way of putting these questions helps get right at some pretty deep stuff.

But you’ll find other questions here, too—about theology, worship and devotion, and the roles of husband and wife—ques­tions that far too many couples don’t think to ask. When preparing for marriage, or even in just beginning to con­sider it, it can be immensely helpful to have the perspective of someone like John Piper, not only a seasoned husband of nearly 50 years, but also a sea­soned pastor, careful thinker, and faithful theologian.

This is a short book. Our vision for it is humble. Our hope is that a few couples—whether dating and considering marriage, or engaged and preparing for marriage—would find some benefit here, getting to know each other better in some of life’s most significant matters, and becoming more fit to discern God’s leading for their lives.

But John has more to offer than just the pre-marriage questions. We have six short chapters we think you will find helpful together on the road to marriage. Chapter 1 includes John’s counsel about engagement, chapter 2 about wedding planning (and finances). Chapter 3 provides invaluable instruction about the beautiful, complementary dynamic the Bible teaches between husband and wife.

Sexual relations in marriage is the topic of chapter 4. (We know some of you may be flipping straight to that one, now that you know it’s there. That’s okay. Do read the rest of the book when you can!) Here there is so much potential for pleasure, and so much potential for pain. Don’t shy away from giving the topic of sex good consideration and honest discussion during your engagement.

Then, in chapter 5, John helps us ponder how we can guard our marriages in a day in which they are under assault from every side. Finally, chapter 6 is based on perhaps John Piper’s single most important message on marriage. There he goes more macro than many of us have ever dared to go in thinking about what marriage is, and what God designed it for. This is a glorious, true, life-changing vision.

After John’s long list of pre-marriage questions to discuss, the second appendix is about mission together. Marriage is for mission, too. In particular, the focus here is on hospital­ity. It’s a lightly edited sermon from the series that became the book This Momentary Marriage: A Parable of Permanence, which is where we’d send you to learn more about marriage fol­lowing this book. (We’d also want to point you to a 30-day devotional for young married couples called Happily Ever After: Finding Grace in the Messes of Marriage, by John Piper and other contributors to For Christians, talking about ministry together, including hospitality (literally, in the New Tes­tament, “love for strangers”) is essential preparation.

Marriage is big. What you’re considering or preparing for here is no trifle. Don’t imagine you can just add marriage as another layer to an already busy life. Marriage demands a full restart. Reevaluate your commitments, check your priorities, rethink your normal. This book and other resources like it can help. It will be well worth your time to ask difficult questions and think hard about the answers. For your joy, the good of others, and the glory of the church’s Groom.

—David Mathis
Executive Editor


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Weight3 oz
Dimensions5.25 × 8 in
Imprint or Series

Desiring God


Print/PDF 978-1-941114-58-2
Mobipocket 978-1-941114-59-9
ePub 978-1-941114-60-5

US List Price

6.50 Ebook, 9.99 Print


88 pages


Paperback, Three Ebook Formats

1 review for Preparing for Marriage: Help for Christian Couples (Revised & Expanded)

  1. Aaron Lee

    This year, my wife and I will have been married for 7 years. We often get asked for advice or counseling on pre-marital and engagement issues. In Preparing for Marriage, I now have a trustworthy resource I can use and give in offering help for Christian couples.

    Dare to Dream

    This book was published by Cruciform Press in conjunction with DesiringGod. Written by John Piper, it is an excellent entry into his theology and thoughts on God and marriage. He offers his trademark vision of spreading a passion for the supremacy of God in all things for the joy of all peoples through Jesus Christ, especially in marriage. God is most glorified in us when we are most satisfied in Him.

    The book begins with chapters on engagement and planning for the marriage ceremony. If you are familiar with Piper, it will come to no surprise that he encourages frank discussion, the practicing of spiritual leadership, and individual Godward fellowship during the engagement. In terms of the marriage ceremony and reception, he promotes radical courage for wartime simplicity for the purpose of exalting Christ and the advancement of His Kingdom.

    Husbands and Wives

    In my opinion, the meat of the book is in Chapter 3: Husbands Who Love Like Christ and the Wives Who Submit to Them. Piper looks at Ephesians 5 and 1 Peter 3 to define headship and submission, and show its practical implications.

    Piper gives the Biblical explanation for leading and submitting while admitting that we are fallible sinners trying to showcase the reality of God through our marriages. Roles are discussed and this leads into the next chapters on sex and honoring marriage in your public and private lives.

    Sex and Saltiness

    Chapter 4 is a powerful chapter because of his boldness and counter-culture belief. Piper shows how sexual gratification is encouraged to be sought after in the marriage covenant, and he gives three reasons why. First is because faith believes that sex is a good gift of God. Second is because faith frees from the guilt of the past. The third is because faith uses sex as a weapon against Satan.

    Piper uses the imagery of salt to show how Hebrews 13 helps us to be counter-cultural and Biblically aligned in holding marriage in high esteem. Specifically, don’t confuse it with anything that is not marriage, don’t commit fornication or adultery, and live out forgiveness and joy and hope.

    Help for Christian Couples

    The book ends by showcasing God as the ultimate reality that marriage is meant to echo. In addition, an appendix is included with some questions to ask when preparing for marriage, as well as a call for Christian hospitality amongst married, dating, and single believers.

    This book is the perfect resource for people who want to get serious about dating, engagement, and marriage. It is short yet packed with God-glorifying theology and practical help. It is what I will recommend when counseling couples, and a resource I will return to as I remember my own marriage covenant.

    I was provided a free copy of Preparing for Marriage but was not required to write a positive review.

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