Breaking the Marriage Idol: Reconstructing Our Cultural and Spiritual Norms

Reviewed by: Hope Bolinger, a Professional Writing student at Taylor University



Title: Breaking the Marriage Idol: Reconstructing Our Cultural and Spiritual Norms

Author: Kutter Callaway

Publisher: InterVarsity Press

Publication Date: 2018

Format: Print book

Length: 268 pages


Christians have elevated marriage on a remarkably high pedestal. The church has lumped Christians into two categories: the married and yet-to-be married. Those given the gift (or curse by modern Christian thought) of singleness or pursuing celibacy, such as those whose sexual orientation goes against the traditional Christian model of marriage, find themselves in pariah positions in both conversations and ministries by married couples and the church itself. Secular culture hasn’t helped with perpetuating the “princess/prince” paradigm in movies, popular songs (such as by Taylor Swift), and through “reality” T.V. shows such as The Bachelor.

 Callaway urges readers to break down barriers between singles and married Christians. He attempts to reframe what a Christian marriage looks like based on New Testament passages and why not all Christians should pursue a nuptial relationship. Entries from other Christians dispersed all over the spectrum—those married and those single for decades—intersperse interludes of their experiences with this false dichotomy between “married and yet-to-be.”

In bold, unapologetic egalitarian stances, Callaway asserts several seemingly radical statements that the church could give an ear to. Although not everyone will agree with everything he has to say, Callaway argues well for the need to eradicate the toxic obsession with the marriage mold. A dry writing voice and frequency to reiterate knocked down the book from five stars to four. However, overall, all Christians—whether married, pursuing marriage, or pursuing a single life—ought to give this book a read and wrestle with their own convictions about this hot-water subject.


Rating (1 to 5)

4 out of 5

Suggested Audience

Single and married Christians

Christian Impact

God calls some Christians into marriage, but not all. Whether called into marriage or not, Christians should be viewed equally. The church tends to place those who have not yet married on a lower pedestal, as if they are not fully human until they find a significant other. We have missed the point of God’s gift of marriage and the gift of singleness. Christians ought to listen to one another, single or married, to understand what each part of the body has to offer to the whole. The more we isolate the other, the more we misuse the gift of marriage, and the more we cause a divide in the church.


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Breaking the Marriage Idol: Reconstructing Our Cultural and Spiritual Norms

About Ceil Carey

The Evangelical Church Library Association, founded in 1970, is a fellowship of Christian churches, schools, and individuals.

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