My wife and I celebrated our eighth wedding anniversary a few weeks ago, and now we are heading off to see some of our best friends get married this weekend. It’s springtime, so I guess it’s fitting that love and marriage are in the air. In reflecting on my own marriage and the many ups my wife and I have shared, and of course more downs than we would have liked, I appealed to wiser minds than my own to share some wisdom. I hope you enjoy, and for those that are married, God bless you and keep your marriage strong. For those that are single or separated, I pray God’s peace and comfort sustains you to live out His will in your life.
On The Nature of Marriage
“He answered, ‘Have you not read that the one who made them at the beginning ‘made them male and female,’ 5 and said, ‘For this reason a man shall leave his father and mother and be joined to his wife, and the two shall become one flesh’? 6 So they are no longer two, but one flesh. Therefore what God has joined together, let no one separate.’” 7
“According to the Bible, the marriage act is more than a physical act. It is an act of sharing. It is an act of communion. It is an act of total self-giving wherein the husband gives himself completely to the wife, and the wife gives herself to the husband in such a way that the two actually become one flesh.”
“As God by creation made two of one, so again by marriage He made one of two.”
” Be subject to one another out of reverence for Christ.”
This last quote, more accurately its following verses, is often taken out of context. While the Bible does say wives should be “subject” to their husbands, it does so in making a direct comparison between Christ and His Church. Often, Jesus referenced Himself as the bridegroom and His followers as the bride. Jesus also taught, and carried out on the cross, complete servanthood and sacrifice for his “bride.” In making this comparison, the Bible is saying women should subject themselves in a similar manner in which the Church gives itself wholly to the service of God (obviously, the husband is not God and cannot be absolutely right at all times. Sorry, fellas.). Likewise, husbands must subject themselves to their wives in a similar way Jesus submitted Himself to His Church: in a complete sacrifice of self for the love and advancement of his wife. This relationship is not hierarchical; it is codependent just as a body is dependent on its parts in order to survive. This hints at the mystery of how two become “one flesh.” When given the opportunity to fully understand what Jesus and His followers teach about marriage, it is far from suppressive or out-dated, but enlightening, inspiring, and undeniably challenging.
On Love in Marriage
“In sharp contrast with our culture, the Bible teaches that the essence of marriage is a sacrificial commitment to the good of the other. That means that love is more fundamentally action than emotion.”
“Love is patient; love is kind; love is not envious or boastful or arrogant 5 or rude. It does not insist on its own way; it is not irritable or resentful; 6 it does not rejoice in wrongdoing, but rejoices in the truth. 7 It bears all things, believes all things, hopes all things, endures all things. 8 Love never ends.”
-1 Corinthians 13:4-8
“The most important thing a father can do for his children is to love their mother.”
“When I have learnt to love God better than my earthly dearest, I shall love my earthly dearest better than I do now.”
My mother used to describe marriage as a trinity of sorts in which the husband and wife were on equal footing and God was at the center of their union. I believe that is how God intended it. He must come first in all things, but a solid marriage based in His love elevates and advances the ability to do His work in both the husband and wife. It helps them to love one another and their neighbors and to raise their children to do the same.
On a Happy Marriage
“The happiness of married life depends upon making small sacrifices with readiness and cheerfulness.”
“Many marriages would be better if the husband and the wife clearly understood that they are on the same side.”
“The man who loves his wife above all else on earth gains the freedom and power to pursue other noble, but lesser, loves.”
“In marriage do thou be wise: prefer the person before money, virtue before beauty, the mind before the body; then thou hast a wife, a friend, a companion, a second self.”