Marriage is a mystery.
Marriage is God’s Idea
At the very beginning, when God was creating all that is, He included in that creation a man and a woman. This is a divine pattern of marriage that is explicitly heterosexual monogamy. In Genesis, we read the account of God’s creation of and intent for man and woman.
Then the man said, “This at last is bone of my bones and flesh of my flesh; she shall be called Woman, because she was taken out of Man.” Therefore a man shall leave his father and his mother and hold fast to his wife, and they shall become one flesh. Genesis 2:23-24 ESV
The mysterious part of marriage is revealed in the last book of the Bible, Revelation. That’s where the ultimate marriage takes place, between Christ and his bride – the church. In Ephesians, the Apostle Paul explains clearly the relationship between a husband and wife, saying that the original creation of the husband and wife union was created to point to the coming relationship between Christ and his bride – the church. At the same time, Christ’s relationship with the church is a pattern for marriage – yours and mine.
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.
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. For no one ever hated his own flesh, but nourishes and cherishes it, just as Christ does the church, because we are members of his body. “Therefore a man shall leave his father and mother and hold fast to his wife, and the two shall become one flesh.” This mystery is profound, and I am saying that it refers to Christ and the church. However, let each one of you love his wife as himself, and let the wife see that she respects her husband. Ephesians 5:22-33 ESV
A Definition of Marriage
Tim Keller, in his book, The Meaning of Marriage, states
…we are defining marriage as a lifelong, monogamous relationship between a man and a woman. According to the Bible, God devised marriage to reflect his saving love for us in Christ, to refine our character, to create stable human community for the birth and nurture of children, and to accomplish all this by bringing the complementary sexes into an enduring whole-life union. It needs to be said, therefore, that this Christian vision for marriage is not something that can be realized by two people of the same sex. This is the unanimous view of the Biblical authors…(p.16)
From the beginning, God has ordained the institution of marriage to be a blessing to us, yet, even more, to show the loving relationship between Christ and the church. My marriage, and yours, can be a witness to a world that needs to know God’s love.
Let us strive to model the mystery.