Stanley Hauerwas: “You Never Marry the Right Person”

Stanley Hauerwas

"Stanley the Manley"

I’m not typically one to like much from Relevant magazine, but Tim Keller has a nice article  here about marriage and Christians that includes this infamous – and spot on – paragraph from Stanley Hauerwas.

“Destructive to marriage is the self-fulfillment ethic that assumes marriage and the family are primarily institutions of personal fulfillment, necessary for us to become “whole” and happy. The assumption is that there is someone just right for us to marry and that if we look closely enough we will find the right person. This moral assumption overlooks a crucial aspect to marriage. It fails to appreciate the fact that we always marry the wrong person.

We never know whom we marry; we just think we do. Or even if we first marry the right person, just give it a while and he or she will change. For marriage, being [the enormous thing it is] means we are not the same person after we have entered it. The primary challenge of marriage is learning how to love and care for the stranger to whom you find yourself married.”


6 thoughts on “Stanley Hauerwas: “You Never Marry the Right Person”

  1. Chris Fletcher 5 January 2012 at 8:08 pm Reply

    Thanks for sharing that quote, Dave. I’ve filed it away for future reference. Far too many people get divorced because they finally realize they’ve married the wrong person and don’t know what their realization actually means.

  2. Matt 5 January 2012 at 8:38 pm Reply

    Great quote.

  3. Dave Mowers 6 January 2012 at 10:15 am Reply

    Right, Chris – and it’s how we respond to that person in grace and love that ought distinguish Christians, in my view. It often doesn’t work out that way, to be sure, but it ought.

  4. […] Stanley Hauerwas: “You Never Marry the Right Person” by Dave Mowers “Stanley the Manley” […]

  5. Mary 29 December 2012 at 1:52 pm Reply

    But how do you know you want to marry him?

  6. Marriage For Single Peeps | All My Roads 16 January 2013 at 5:48 am Reply

    […] sleeping with the angel it took 45 minutes to kiss goodnight way back on the first date. Marriage isn’t about being or finding the perfect spouse; it’s about seeking to become the perfect spouse. Learning how to love someone who is constantly […]

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