Remember the song we used to taunt one another with when in grade school. It went…”First comes love, then comes marriage, then comes a baby in the baby carriage.” The song was silly, but it did convey the logical progression of relationships God intended for men and women. It showed love is not only for our pleasure, it’s meant to produce something that outlives us.
This post is being published on Valentine’s Day. Today, I want to write something for those who are married or someday hope to be married. I know this might not apply to everyone, but even those who are not married, and don’t intend to be, can still benefit from knowing God’s purpose for marital love.
Today, we celebrate romance. Such a focus dwells on the mutually pleasurable feeling we all crave in such a relationship. Marriage is meant for such feelings, but it is also about so much more.
It all starts with how God defines marriage. He defines marriage…
- As divinely instituted. Jesus said, “at the beginning the Creator ‘made them male and female,’ and said, ‘For this reason a man will leave his father and mother and be united to his wife and the two will become one flesh.’” (Matthew 19:4-5) Marriage is God’s idea.
- As between a man and a woman. God created the genders as stated above and did so to then ordain that they be sacredly joined. Our culture has been debating other arrangements, but for God there has never been a debate. Marriage is for a man and a woman.
- As a relationship of oneness. Jesus said, they are to “become one flesh.” There is to be a deep closeness that is in part expressed by sexual union.
- As the foundation of a family. Never was the marriage relationship meant to only serve to provide exhilarating experiences between couples. To be sure that is one of the blessings, but marriage is the foundation of the most basic unit of society, the family. Strong marriages equal strong families. In the same way you would not want to build a house before you had set a firm foundation, it is dangerous to build a family without the foundation of a strong marriage.
- As a covenant relationship. The Lord refers to marriage as a covenant. (Malachi 2:14) It is a promise for life that is made before God. It is sacred and holy. It is a big deal.
But there is more. God’s plan is that he would be glorified through marriages. How so?
- Marriage displays God’s image in the world. God created us “male and female.” Marriage displays both of those dynamics of God’s image to the world.
- Marriage is a symbol of Christ’s relationship to his church. The Bible speaks of the husband and wife relationship as being a reflection of how the church is to relate to Jesus. (Ephesians 5:22-23) How you relate to your spouse is a witness to the world of Jesus and his love for us.
- Marriage is also for the rearing of a godly generation. The Lord wills that a couple would live for him, but also wills for those who can have children to have them and rear them to likewise live for God. (Malachi 2:15)
And for us, God’s plan is to provide a special kind of love through marriage.
We are to love our spouse…
- Emotionally. Woman, your man hungers for honor and respect. Men, your lady craves your affirmation and attention.
- Physically. Marriage is meant to provide the occasion for shared affection and sexual union. These are important aspects that must not be neglected. (1 Corinthians 7:2-5)
- With Provision. It is in marriage that we promise to provide for each other. It is all about working together to provide a home and the things we need to thrive.
- With Protection. Men, you can protect your lady’s esteem, by affirming her and not tearing her down. Women, you can protect your husband’s honor, by lifting him up and not nagging him.
I challenge those of you who are married to engage in your marriage as an act of worship. God is calling you to reflect his glory through your love of your spouse.
Question: What are ways you suggest that you can better glorify God by loving your spouse? You can leave a comment by clicking here.