Seeing the True Reason for Marriage
I love marriage. I love being married and having a teammate to walk through life with. I enjoyed the thrill of dating, though the longing and searching for the right spouse can be very difficult. How do you know who the right man or woman is to marry? How do you know your marriage is going to last? How can you tell if this is what God desires?
These were all questions I had running through my mind over and over again. I had standards that I wanted in a husband, but I was told my standards were too high. I’d never find a man that could live up to them. Those words frustrated me because I believed they were the right standards to have and I wasn’t going to settle for anything less.
My standards were that I would have a husband that loved God. He would want to pray with me. He would share Scripture that meant something to him, or that would be appropriate for a situation. I wanted someone who would lead us by seeking the Lord’s direction and wisdom. In other words, I wanted a Godly man. Why was that too much to ask? Aren’t all Christian men called to this standard in marriage?
Michael and I have gone through the Love and Respect series by Emmerson and Sarah Eggerich, a couple of times now. We’ve found their advice to be practical and life changing for our marriage. It opened up our eyes to how marriage should be and gave us great understanding and communication tips to guide us through marriage’s highs and lows. We’ve implemented this advice and found that our relationship has been strong through all that life’s thrown at us.
Reading the Bible is one way that keeps me anchored and focused in all areas of my life. I was reading Ephesians 5:22-32 the other day. This passage speaks about marriage. How “the wife is to respect her husband” and the husband is to “love his wife as himself”. Though this passage has been controversial to a lot of people, I grew a higher respect for it that day.
You see, Paul is explaining that the husband and wife relationship is designed to be a mirror image of Christ with the church. I know this isn’t ground breaking information to some of you. However, I ask you to take a step back and picture it like this.
Marriage is not about yourself. It isn’t intended to be about finding someone you fall madly in love with and will serve you the rest of your life. It’s not about living “happily ever after”. Marriage isn’t about all your hopes and dreams being fulfilled. It isn’t about being happy the rest of your life. Sorry to all those who say, “happy wife, happy life”.
There is such a depth to the words written in Ephesians 5:
“Wives, submit to your own husbands as to the Lord,for the husband is the head of the wife as Christ is the head of the church. He is the Savior of the body. Now as the church submits to Christ, so wives are to submit to their husbands in everything. Husbands, love your wives, just as Christ loved the church and gave Himself for her to make her holy, cleansing her with the washing of water by the word. He did this to present the church to Himself in splendor, without spot or wrinkle or anything like that, but holy and blameless. In the same way, husbands are to love their wives as their own bodies. He who loves his wife loves himself. For no one ever hates his own flesh but provides and cares for it, just as Christ does for the church, since we are members of His body.
For this reason a man will leave
his father and mother
and be joined to his wife,
and the two will become one flesh.
This mystery is profound, but I am talking about Christ and the church. To sum up, each one of you is to love his wife as himself, and the wife is to respect her husband.” – Ephesians 5:22-32
We are called to love and respect our spouses in order to be a light to a lost world. This isn’t about which gender is more important than another. This isn’t about a woman being less than. This is about a man and woman working together as a team to show the world how God loves us.
A woman is to respect and honour her husband. This is to show the world that the church respects and gives honour to God, as He so deserves.
A husband is to love his wife. This is to show the world how much God loves His people, the church.
“The two becoming one flesh” is a representation of Jesus and the church becoming one body together. We are all parts and pieces that make up the different gifts, abilities, and characteristics of Jesus. Together, we form a representation of Jesus as a whole. The same is true in marriage. As two are one in marriage, it means that we love, live, and serve one another and others as Christ would do for the world.
Our whole mission in life is to lead a lost, broken, and dark world to the love and light of Jesus Christ. So that they can find the hope and salvation that is theirs for the taking. They can grab hold of the freedom that is theirs if they so choose. It is to show them that they are loved and cared for. Considered special and part of an intimate unity.
But no one wants to run to something that is ugly and messy. No one wants to walk into something new that is broken and dark, with no hope in sight. Therefore, your marriage is extremely important to take care of. In fact, aside from your personal relationship with Jesus, your marriage should be second place. We should be taking a fair amount of time to invest in it. It should be one of your top priorities.
This isn’t for selfish gain. This is in order to keep it growing, attractive, and different to a world who is losing sight of the value and importance of marriage. People aren’t seeing the point of getting married when marriage is so messy and so many are ending in divorce.
Satan LOVES to mess with marriages. It’s a personal vendetta of his. Why? Because if he can get in and cause a mess or divorce in a marriage, he’s destroying hope and beauty in Christ’s image. He’s trying to show the world that the Lord doesn’t have anything good to offer. Commitment is useless. No one wants to or could love you forever. There’s always going to be something that’ll eventually ruin it. It’s that sneaky flippant saying people use, “nothing lasts forever”.
I urge you, if your marriage is struggling, get help! Don’t wait. Pray daily for your spouse. Love and respect him/her. Treat them as a highly valued person; your best friend. Work hard at maintaining a healthy relationship. Get in the Word together. Pray together. Share your hopes and dreams. Listen to one another.
To those who aren’t married, pray for your future spouse. Don’t settle for a “nice guy”. Don’t base your infatuation and admiration on looks. They don’t last. The heart of a man or woman must be what attracts you the most. Seek the Lord about who to choose. If there’s someone God desires you to marry, you’ll see many blessings in your relationship together. People will be agreeable. You should both emulate Christ’s love and respect. Get counsel and seek wisdom early on. It’ll become a pattern in your marriage that will keep you learning and growing together.
Fight for it! Keep your heart and eyes open. Don’t become complacent. Remember that the enemy is deceptive and discouraging. He’ll find any way he can to accuse, discourage, disrespect, react unlovingly, and diminish what you think you have together. Stay on defense and give praise to God for what you have.
Remember that no one is perfect. Give grace, even when it isn’t due. Don’t hold back sex, in marriage. That’s the most vulnerable and destructive place the enemy will work. Honour each other’s bodies. Sex isn’t about you. It’s an act of worship and thanksgiving to God for your marriage. It will keep you both close to each other. It’ll help you resist other temptations.
On the other side, if you aren’t married, avoid sex. Don’t do it. Don’t live together. Don’t put yourself in tempting situations that you can’t escape from. It looks so appealing. It’s becoming a natural thing in the world.
Be different than the world. Why? Because it will preserve your future marriage. It’ll keep you close together with no barriers, comparisons, or deceptions to get in your way. There won’t be any physical, emotional, spiritual, or relationship barriers staring at you each time you make love to your spouse. It’ll just be a beautiful unity. You don’t know if you will actually marry the person you’re with until you walk down the aisle. It is a beautiful commitment God intends for you. He wants it to be pure and holy as it’s meant to be. Sex is an incredible thing. It reiterates the “two becoming one” each time it happens.
So, I urge you to keep sex beautiful and untainted. Wait for marriage. Then enjoy the unity God intended for you and your spouse.
May you all be blessed and encouraged to refocus your marriage on its true purpose today. Go home and forgive your spouse. Love her. Honour him. Be the light to a broken world that’s desperately looking for hope right now.
If you have any questions, please send me a message at [email protected].