This groundbreaking book puts forward strong arguments which run against the main currents in the prevailing theology of marriage. David McCarthy challenges those accounts which treat the interpersonal aspects of marriage apart from economic and political questions, and proposes that marriage and family flourish when part of an interdependent network of households in community. In so doing, he draws upon anthropological accounts of community-based reciprocity, sociologies of economy, and theological conceptions of the social body. For McCarthy, the true superiority of sex in marriage is that it doesn't have to mean very much: most sex within marriage is just ordinary, a minor episode in a larger story - it need not point to the full meaning of a sexual relationship. Expressed sexually or otherwise, our 'humanity' is something which here accumulates quietly and through small steps. Throughout the book, day to day life in the neighbourhood is put into conversation with theological enquiry about the love of God and the role of the chruch in the world. The book therefore has a strong practical element, and is conceived as a tool for teaching as part of a college course, in discussion groups, and among theologians interested in matters of marriage and family.