What do people see when they look at your marriage relationship? What kind of picture does it portray?
On my desk is a photo of the old Orange Bowl football stadium where my high school, colleges, and the Miami Dolphins used to play. When I look at it, I instantly think of the many games I attended there. Of course, I’m not looking at the actual stadium–it was torn down in 2007. But the picture is an accurate representation of it, and so it is a testimony–a reminder–to those pleasant times.
Like that photo of the Orange Bowl, marriage is to be a testimony. While it certainly testifies to the love between a husband and wife, God’s design has a greater purpose. In this last segment on the Oneness in Marriage series, we’ll see this important biblical truth.
(If you missed the other posts in this series, click on these links: What is Oneness?, How Two Become One, and Together with God.)
A Deeper Purpose
Oneness in marriage is a sweet testament to the love between a man and a woman. But it goes deeper.
In Ephesians 5:32, Paul ends his teaching on marriage with a bit of a twist:
“This is a profound mystery—but I am talking about Christ and the church.”
He now relates a whole new meaning and purpose for this union. It is not just for a good relationship, sexual fulfillment, or procreation. All of those things are important, but the ultimate purpose of marriage is to serve as a picture of the relationship between Christ and His Church. And since the Church is made up of all who have accepted Jesus Christ as their Savior, it is a reflection of His relationship to us. Thus our marriage becomes a witness of what Christ wants to do and can do in each of our lives.
Revelation 19:7 says: “Let us rejoice and be glad and give Him glory! For the wedding of the Lamb has come, and His bride has made herself ready.” Here Christ and the Church—as groom and bride—can be seen.
Sweet Submission and Sacrificial Love
When a wife trusts God enough to submit to her husband, in spite of the world’s cry to be responsible only to herself and love herself first, she shows the world an example of the selfless and sacrificial—agape–love Christ has for us. Look at Ephesians 5:22-24:
“Wives, submit to your husbands as 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.”
At the same time, the submission of a wife to her husband is an example of how we submit to God as the Church and as His followers, as seen in 1 John 4:10-11: “This is love: not that we loved God, but that He loved us and sent His Son as an atoning sacrifice for our sins. Dear friends, since God so loved us, we also ought to love one another.”
Husbands certainly have a part in this, too. Ephesians 5:25 says:
“Husbands, love your wives, just as Christ loved the church and gave Himself up for her.”
When husbands love their wives with a selfless, sacrificial love, they show the world an example of Christ’s love for His Church and, therefore, for each of us. This kind of love allows a wife to overcome her fears and willingly submit to her husband’s leadership.
In 1 John 4:18 we read: “There is no fear in love. But perfect love drives out fear.” A wife has no need to fear her husband’s leadership when he loves her like Christ, for she will know he only wants her very best, even above his own good. In the same way, each of us can overcome our concerns and willingly submit to Christ’s leadership “because He first loved us” (1 John 4:19).
When a husband and wife love like this, they will stay together and work things out rather than divorce when times get hard. This lifelong commitment demonstrates God’s love and unfailing commitment to us.
When Israel went through difficult times because of their sin against God, they accused Him of abandoning them. But God told them through the prophet Isaiah: “This is what the LORD says, ‘Where is your mother’s certificate of divorce with which I sent her away?’” (Isaiah 50:1). In other words, in spite of their sin, God did not abandon His people. Our faithfulness in marriage exemplifies God’s faithfulness to us.
The entire book of Hosea is an example of this. God used Hosea’s commitment to his marriage vows, in spite of his wife’s continuous adultery, to show His faithfulness to us in spite of our continual sin. Hebrews 13:5 tells us: “God has said, ‘Never will I leave you; never will I forsake you.’” And God’s promises can be trusted.
So what about your marriage? What do people see when they look at your relationship with each other? Does it well reflect a biblical marriage? Is it an accurate portrayal of selfless and sacrificial love, like that of Christ? Or is the picture somehow distorted?
Take time this week to pray together and ask God to make your marriage a beautiful testimony of Christ’s faithful love to the world.
In next week’s Couple’s Bible Study post, we’ll see how God uses a biblical marriage to help us get through anything that comes our way in life.
May the Lord bless you in all His wonderful ways!
Unless otherwise noted, all Scripture taken from THE HOLY BIBLE, NEW INTERNATIONAL VERSION®, NIV® Copyright © 1973, 1978, 1984, 2011 by Biblica, Inc.® Used by permission. All rights reserved worldwide.
Featured photo by confused_me via Pixabay.com (text added)