Oh, how I remember teasing my friend with this little song...
"Bobby and Cindy sitting in a tree… K-I-S-S-I-N-G
First, comes love
Then comes marriage
Here comes Cindy with a baby carriage."
Such a simplistic and childish view of marriage.
Adults know better…..marriage is complicated.
Maybe marriages are so darn hard because we have the wrong idea of marriage. We tend to think a successful marriage is the one that fairy-tales are made of – perfection like June and Ward Cleaver where everyone is happy, there is never any arguing or yelling, and each spouse is always thoughtful, patient and kind.
Sadly marriages fail because not only do we have the wrong idea of marriage but, we also have the wrong goal of marriage. Let’s be honest, when you think about marriage (especially in the beginning) what pops into your mind? A glamorous wedding? A perfect home with the picket fence complete with the loving spouse and beautiful children? The perfect companion to grow old together, conquer life’s storms together and live a life of bliss and prosperity?
We have our vision and goal of marriage ALL WRONG- marriage shouldn't be “couple-centered” it should be “Christ-centered.”
Friends, I’ve been married now for twenty-something years and hate to admit that I'm just now getting on board with this truth!
Marriage is designed by God to be a reflection of Christ’s love to the Church.
Stay with me on this one--
This concept is important; especially for those married or hoping to be married one day.
The success of your marriage depends on getting
the right vision and the right goal!
Ephesians 5:21-33 speaks directly on the Biblical blueprint for marriage:
"Submit to one another out of reverence for Christ.
Wives, submit yourselves to your own husbands as you do to the Lord. For the husband is the head of the wife as Christ is the head of the church, his body, of which he is the Savior. Now as the church submits to Christ, so also wives should submit to their husbands in everything.
Husbands, love your wives, just as Christ loved the church and gave himself up for her to make her holy, cleansing her by the washing with water through the word, and to present her to himself as a radiant church, without stain or wrinkle or any other blemish, but holy and blameless. In this same way, husbands ought to love their wives as their own bodies. He who loves his wife loves himself. After all, no one ever hated their own body, but they feed and care for their body, just as Christ does the church— for we are members of his body. “For this reason a man will leave his father and mother and be united to his wife, and the two will become one flesh.” This is a profound mystery—but I am talking about Christ and the church. However, each one of you also must love his wife as he loves himself, and the wife must respect her husband."
Did you catch the clear instructions?
1. BOTH submit to each other out of reverence for Christ.
2. Wives are to submit and respect their husbands. (Notice we aren’t instructed to “love them.” It comes with the territory when the husband fulfills their part.)
3. Husbands love their wives like Christ loves the church. Even to the point of giving your life for her! Let’s remember Christ loved “His church” so much He gave his very life so that we may be saved!
4. Leave your family of origin- your priority is your marriage. Not making mom, dad, siblings or other family members happy to the detriment of your spouse.
5. Finally, become ONE. Genesis 2:24-25 teaches that marriage is about becoming one- physically, emotionally and spiritually. “That is why a man leaves his father and mother and is united to his wife, and they become one flesh. Adam and his wife were both naked, and they felt no shame.”
Five clear instructions on how marriage should operate and its goal!
Marriage wasn’t designed for us to be happy, to have a companion for life, to raise a family, or have prosperity. (Now, don't get me wrong- these are some definite perks, but not the purpose.)
The simple goal of marriage is to be an earthly example to others of what God’s love looks like- a mirror to how Christ loves the Church!
Biblical marriage is a relationship of oneness, leadership, submission, love, sacrifice, faithfulness, permanency, priority, respect and reverence.
So, if the husband is supposed to be like Christ in the marriage and the wife to be like the Church… how well are we doing?
Men- do you treat your wife like a queen? Do you put her first above yourself in ALL things? Are you the leader in your home? Are you willing to die for her? Are you willing to give up golf for her?
Women- are you submitting, honoring, obeying and helping your husband? Do you bring love, grace, patience, peace, and respect into your home? Do you willingly allow your husband to lead because of your love for Christ?
Does your marriage witness to Christ? Does it mirror a love that is never ending, patient, forgiving, sacrificial, respectful, submitting, loving and honoring?
When you marry, you've effectively taken on the responsibility of
showing the world Christ!
When you see marriage through God’s design with the right vision and ask God to help you model His plan, then you have the best shot possible of having a GREAT MARRIAGE THAT ALLOWS EVERYONE AROUND YOU TO SEE CHRIST!