The Truth About Marriage
MARRIAGE: A SOCIAL CONSTRUCT OR SOMETHING MORE?
For millennia, marriage has been a consistent value in the lives of those who’ve come before us. In many cultures throughout history marriage has been synonymous with love, security, and legacy. However, as we journey into the 21st century, marriage has seemingly evolved from something sacred to a social construct.
Today’s society tells us that love comes easy. We’re taught from an early age that true love only comes from magical moments. When things get hard, it’s okay to hit DELETE and move on to the next best thing (or person, in this case). There’s no question that this post-modern view has permeated the Christian standard of marriage!
So, what does that mean for today’s Christian? Let’s see what scripture has to say about marriage.
HOW GOD DESIGNED MARRIAGE
Our first look into the narrative of marriage begins in Genesis with Adam and Eve.
Genesis 1:27 says, “So God created man in his own image, in the image of God he created him; male and female he created them” and, “It is not good for man to be alone. I will make a helper suitable for him.” Two things jump out at me immediately. First, it is not good for man to be alone. Second, both man and woman were created in one image – the image of God. It’s here that we begin to see God’s great design unfold.
God knew that man needed a companion. But, to make him a suitable one, God needed to take something away, making man incomplete. Genesis 2:21-23 says, “so the Lord caused the man to fall into a deep sleep; and while he was sleeping, he took one of the man’s ribs and then closed the place with flesh. Then the Lord God made a woman from the rib he had taken out of man, and he brought her to the man”. God knew that for man to thrive, he needed not just a helper, but a companion that made him whole.
This story shows us that one without the other, man without woman, is incomplete.
In fact, we need those differences to thrive. Take the body for example. We have a left hand and a right hand. A left and right foot. Both are similar, none are identical. If both were identical, we would fall before we took a step. And just as the body has a right and left hand, so must we also be in our marriage. Similar, but not identical. Different, and working for one cause. Because of this, man and woman’s differences work together perfectly to fulfill God’s design. And atlas, it is here in this design we find the purpose of marriage.
THE PURPOSE OF MARRIAGE
What scripture reveals about marriage is wildly different from what the world teaches. The world tells us to find someone exactly like us. Compatibility, excitement, and fun is valued above all else. But what scripture wants us to know is that compatibility is fleeting. Butterflies are fleeting, and perfect matches simply do not last. The purpose of marriage is not compatibility. The true purpose of marriage is to teach unconditional love, and that by learning to love unconditionally, we become more and more like Jesus.
So how does this happen? Well, when we get married, we marry someone who can account for and excel in the areas we lack. Vice versa, we marry someone who is lacking in the areas we thrive. It is a delicate dance of differences and it is here we must make a choice.
Differences are not easy. Differences can be tough, frustrating, and even infuriating at times. When we encounter these uncomfortable moments, we have a choice to make. Do we follow the world who tells us to run once things get hard? Or will we lean into a greater opportunity; choosing to love unconditionally. It is in this choice that we fulfil the purpose of marriage, becoming more like Christ every step of the way.
A MAN: PROTECTOR, LEADER, LOVER
When examining differences in a marriage, the roles of husband-and-wife triumph. However, the topic of gender roles has become quite taboo in our society. The truth is that there are biblical standards for man and woman, and even some churches have gotten it wrong.
Starting in Ephesians 5:22, Paul writes, “Wives, submit to your own husbands, as to the Lord. For the husband is the head of the wife even as Christ is the head of the church, his body, and is himself its Savior. Now as the church submits to Christ, so also wives should submit in
everything to their husbands” and then in verse 25, “Husbands, love your wives, as Christ loved the church and gave himself up for her, that he might sanctify her, having cleansed her by the washing of water with the word, so that he might present the church to himself in splendor, without spot or wrinkle or any such thing, that she might be holy and without blemish. In the same way husbands should love their wives as their own bodies. He who loves his wife loves himself.”
Let’s break this down a bit. First, submission has become a dirty word in both secular and church circles. Submission for wives does not mean surrendering all autonomy to the husband, it has a far greater and glorious meaning. For a wife to submit to her husband, she is allowing, supporting, and serving him in a way that allows him to be the protector, leader, and lover that he has been called by God to be. What this means is this: Husbands have been sovereignly called to lay down his life for his wife, a daughter of Christ, and to serve her as Christ loved the church and gave his life up for her.
And how did Christ love the church and give himself up for her? By going to the cross.
What might this look like for men? Unfortunately, this goes far beyond going to work and providing financially for the family. This means praying with the family. Spending intentional, quality time with his spouse. Leading and pouring his life into her by loving, caring, and serving her. Additionally, among so much more, it means having the spiritual maturity and character to meet every adversity and hardship when it comes with strength and wisdom.
Now, where do we go from here? Maybe your spouse does not align with these ideals. Maybe you feel lost, or that there is no hope left for you or your marriage. This is where unconditional love must meet us. If you find yourself here, pray for your spouse. And while praying for your spouse, ask God to help you make the choice to love them unconditionally. It all comes back to this.
A CHILD: A LEGACY
Children play their own unique part in the design of marriage. A blessing and a legacy, children are a heritage from the Lord, as said in Psalm 127:3-4. However, the thing about children is that they provide a new obstacle for husband and wife to dance around! Remember the delicate dance of differences? Well, children are the new two-step!
Married couples with children must seek spiritual maturity daily, as the choices and actions of both parents determine the health of their child. Parents have a responsibility to provide a safe, loving, and secure home as their child grows. However, children often end up carrying burdens that are not theirs to bear.
We must remember that parenting is a huge responsibility that requires the wisdom of God. As Ephesians 6:4 says, “Fathers, do not exasperate your children; instead, bring them up in the training and instruction of the Lord.” Likewise, Proverbs 22:6 says, “Train up a child in the way he should go; even when he is old he will not depart from it.” Mankind has been given the unique opportunity to raise up the next generation, and healthy parents are vital in building the kingdom of God.
LET’S TAKE THE NEXT STEP, TOGETHER
If you are struggling in your marriage, seeking help through marital counseling is a great first step. Wonderful things can happen when hearts are willing and open to being healed by God. I believe in teaching and nurturing both mental and emotional health by providing effective and proven counseling methods founded upon the Word of God. Faith and science can work together to bring healing to your marriage. Don’t wait, let’s take the next step, together.