I heard the following quote in a video production here on campus, and it grabbed my heart and my attention. A counselor is speaking to a woman who feels duped and misled about marriage, and being in love forever. The woman asks why she should try to save her crumbling relationship.
Then the counselor tells her that there are lots of reasons, but not simple truisms. He says this about marriage, and how true it sounded to me: “Marriage is as universal as oxygen and as specific as a fingerprint. It’s unlike any other relationship. It reveals our best and uncovers our worst. In it, we touch hell – we taste heaven. We are closest to who we were created to be – we are never more human. We are never more divine.”
Wow! If you have successfully worked through your relationship with your spouse, enjoying the mountain-top joys while sometimes seemingly bailing water just to keep the marriage boat afloat, you probably can relate to this. I cannot think of a better set of analogies than were used by this counselor. Well, perhaps Paul the Apostle’s description in Ephesians 5 sets the standard. Here Paul describes the wife and the husband’s role in marriage, and then he seems to elevate his vision to the divine example of marriage as a type of our relationship with Christ.
Here is the quote from the New Living Translation, focusing on the husband and this image of marriage as a type of our relationship with Christ: “For husbands, this means love your wives, just as Christ loved the church. He gave up his life for her to make her holy and clean, washed by the cleansing of God’s word. He did this to present her to himself as a glorious church without a spot or wrinkle or any other blemish. Instead, she will be holy and without fault. In the same way, husbands ought to love their wives as they love their own bodies. For a man who loves his wife actually shows love for himself. No one hates his own body but feeds and cares for it, just as Christ cares for the church. And we are members of his body. As the Scriptures say, ‘A man leaves his father and mother and is joined to his wife, and the two are united into one.’ This is a great mystery, but it is an illustration of the way Christ and the church are one. So again I say, each man must love his wife as he loves himself, and the wife must respect her husband.” (Eph. 5:25-33, NLT).
This always blows me away as well: my marriage as a type of my intimate relationship with my savior Jesus, and how He and I are becoming one – Wow! I believe that we cannot be half-way in marriage. We are either all in or not gaining the Divine benefit, the heavenly intentions which God planned for this relationship, and which represents our future with Christ. “Lord God, thank you for my lovely wife. Please help me to show her my love-Your love, oh God. Lord, help me to give up all of my old life to honor my wife, and raise her up in your presence. Help me to be all-in today.”