By Garrett Ellis
When I think of what an awesome treasure I have in the woman I married, it leaves a taste in my mouth that is beyond comparison. The woman that I love is more than just a partner or friend; she is a mirror image of the love that God has for me. He must have been extremely happy with me the day He sent her. I am truly blessed to have her in my life.
Marriage in general is the biggest, singularly most important commitment that a man and woman can make to each other. Contrary to popular belief, it represents two aspects of love: Eros or emotional affection as well as the legal contract that true commitment constitutes. It is not to be taken lightly and when practiced in its fullness, it is the most beautiful state of being that a couple can experience. Believe me, I know.
The sanctity and sacredness of marriage is tied up in the unfathomable love Christ shows man. The most tangible picture we have of this is the love and union between a man and woman. Again, marriage between these two is meant to be a mirror image of the unending adoration and affection that has Christ has for us. I know that my wife loves me because she puts my needs before her own as I do the same for her. This is exactly what Christ does for us all. Although it hurt Him to die, He did it anyway out of love.In 1 Corinthians 13:4, the Scripture says that
“Love suffers long and is kind; love does not envy; love does not parade itself, is not puffed up.” (KJV)
Love suffers long. Marriage and love is sacred in the eyes of God because it is meant to be a long term, unending union of commitment. And in no way inferior to that thought is the fact that submission, self sacrifice and a modeling of Christ’s love are all aspects of marriage that are absolutely necessary (Ephesians 5:22-28).
These thoughts sound good in theological theory but are better experienced in day to day practice. I have seen them alive and in action when I’ve fallen short of being the model husband. And through all of those shortcomings, my wife still models Christ’s love. She asks for corrective action but still makes it clear that she is committed to the relationship; one fumble doesn’t constitute divorce because we are committed to that idea of self sacrifice and long term commitment. In our wedding vows, we stated that in the name of the Lord Jesus, we would share our lives with each other, forsaking all others as long as we both shall live. And regardless of character flaws and mistakes, we are committed to doing just that. We have to. Christ does that for us.
In today’s world, the idea that marriage is a legal, emotional union designed to last forever can’t be stressed enough. Divorce rates are skyrocketing and a large number of marriages end in less than 2 years, if not 2 months. But we see in Matthew 19: 8-9 that the original plan for marriage was for it to be FOREVER. And not only was it not meant to end, but it was meant as a model of the compatibility of a man and a woman, of the responsibility couples have to reproduce godly family units and of the true dedication that real relationships need if they are going to be of any value.
Christ views us as His bride (Rev 19:7). He loves us enough to want to present us to God without a single, solitary blemish (Ephesians 5:25-27). He views our relationship to Himself as a marriage. Shouldn’t we do the same? Shouldn’t we treat our earthly marriages in the same manner and our heavenly one with even more intensity? Shouldn’t we treat God with the love and respect a redeemed bride would give her groom? The answer to those questions is a resounding yes, we should. Especially because when we do treat them such, we experience the most rewarding, most beautiful, most VALUABLE state of love imaginable. We experience the love of God.
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