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Friends and Lovers: Cultivating Companionship and Intimacy in Marriage (Beeke)

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Cruciform Press


Neither a comprehensive marriage manual, nor a complete exploration of the theological significance of marriage, Friends and Lovers focuses on two key ingredients in a vital marriage: friendship and sexual intimacy.

Drawing from the wisdom of the Bible, especially the Book of Proverbs, Joel Beeke shows you how to grow closer to your spouse both emotionally and physically.

Table of Contents:

Part 1: Friends

1. Remember: The Foundation of Friendship in Marriage

2. Nourish: The Cultivation of Friendship in Marriage

3. Resist: The Temptations of Friendship in Marriage

Part 2: Lovers

4. Cherish: Sex is the Act of Cherishing Each Other as God’s Image-bearers

5. Multiply: Godly Lovers Delight in Multiplication

6. Obey: Sex in Marriage is Obedience to God’s Commandments

7. Forgive: Sexual Freedom Comes through Forgiveness of Sins

8. Believe: Faith in Christ Empowers Sexual Love

9. Reject: Sex is More loving with Self-Denial

10. Appeal: Our Father in Heaven can Heal Fear and Shame

11. Repent: Sexual Idolatry Requires Repentance

12. Appreciate: Gratitude and Contentment Sweeten Sex


“A book about love, marriage, and sex from Joel Beeke that is surprisingly candid yet without a trace of smuttiness. Putting Puritans in a new light perhaps, Beeke manages, at the same time, to be theologically thorough and pointedly practical. Fresh and refreshingly straightforward, this is the best book of its kind.” — Derek W H Thomas, Minister of Preaching and Teaching, First Presbyterian Church, Columbia SC; Distinguished Visiting Professor of Systematic and Historical Theology, Reformed Theological Seminary; Editorial Director, Alliance of Confessing Evangelicals

“Marriage is hard work. And wonderful. And sometimes, it’s both at the same time. Friends and Lovers is like a personal mentoring session on marriage with a man whose heart is devoted to seeing Christ honored in how we love each other as husbands and wives. It’s full of practical wisdom and grace. A delight.” — Bob Lepine, Co-Host, FamilyLife Today

“By laying the theological, emotional, social, and spiritual foundations of marriage before heading to the bedroom, Joel Beeke provides a healthy corrective to the excessive and obsessive sex-focus of our generation and even of some pastors. But, thankfully, he also goes on to provide wise, practical, down-to-earth direction for couples wanting to discover or recover physical intimacy that will both satisfy themselves and honor God.” — Dr. David Murray, Professor of Old Testament and Practical Theology, Puritan Reformed Theological Seminary, Grand Rapids, Michigan

“Central to the historical account of the creation of the human race is the marriage of Adam and Eve, their marriage being utterly vital to God’s purposes for humanity. The pure delight our ancient parents had in each other, touching every aspect of their lives together, was sadly lost at the fall. What this book powerfully shows through the teaching of the Scriptures, though, is that this delight is recoverable to a great degree in Christ. Christian marriages should know a depth of intimacy, in all the best senses of that word, which other marriages do not have. It is a matter of sadness that some do not. Here, the biblical wisdom about marriage in these pages can help enormously. A mini-addendum: I appreciated enormously the way in which the divine gift of human sexuality is handled, with biblical honesty but without any pandering to our culture’s prurient ways.” — Michael A.G. Haykin, Professor of Church History and Biblical Spirituality, The Southern Baptist Theological Seminary

“Recently, a number of well known teachers have published books on marriage, some of which have caused quite a stir among Christians. Although these books offer some helpful insights, some are marred by an imbalance and even unbiblical teaching. Dr. Beeke’s book, Friends and Lovers: Cultivating Companionship and Intimacy in Marriage, introduces biblical sanity into the discussion. With characteristic piety, scriptural knowledge, and practical guidelines, Dr. Beeke sets before us these two essential ingredients (friendship and intimacy) for a durable and happy marriage. This book will strengthen the marriage of everyone who reads it. I know it has mine.” — Joseph A. Pipa Jr., President, Greenville Presbyterian Theological Seminary

“After years of marriage some of us still have to pray, ‘Father, forgive me for my sins against those who love me the most.’ We never stop needing counsel to better nourish and cherish those who are flesh of our flesh, our co-inheritors of the grace of life. There is no better book than this to renew the affection of happy marriage.” — Geoffrey Thomas, Pastor, Alfred Place Baptist Church, Aberystwyth, Wales


Joel R. Beeke (PhD, Westminster Seminary) is president and professor of systematic theology and homiletics at Puritan Reformed Theological Seminary; a pastor of the Heritage Reformed Congregation in Grand Rapids, Michigan; editor of Banner of Sovereign Grace Truth; editorial director of Reformation Heritage Books; and a prolific author.