Continuing on the subject of marriage and its fourfold purpose, I share the next excerpt from my book What Every Woman Should Know, called Temporary Insanity. This text is meant to edify Christians in their marriages and to offer some simple steps to recovery. I in no way profess to be a marriage counsellor or expert. But I did wish to put out there the things I have learned in my studies, because it has helped me and I pray it will help you too.
I will post a couple of more samples from this book. As I rework this book again, ready to put out the Second Edition, I am reminded how powerful this chapter is.
Rereading the Creation account in Genesis, notice that the only thing God considered not good was that man was alone. Procreation was necessary in order for the Master Plan of God to be fulfilled through the incarnation. The final bond of a man and woman is their sexual union. Marriage had to be created to fulfill all of these things. All of this means a couple marries to gain companionship, to procreate and to fulfill sexual desires.
These things are functional. To remain married makes it sacramental. But there is also a symbolism to marriage. The sacrament of a couple staying in this union, no matter how imperfect, displays the ongoing commitment between Christ and the church. And here is the symbolism: the man=Christ, the woman=bride.
So, I can say marriage exists to display God’s glory. We must understand that God formed marriage to pattern that of Christ and the church-the body of the church, not the institution. This pattern is followed daily. It is of heights indescribable. It is mysterious and wonderful and life-long because it points to something mysterious and wonderful and lifelong. It is an earthly symbolism of the eternal relationship between God and man. But I think people are disillusioned because people expect marriage to be great overall, to make them complete, and to make them happy. Their expectations are misguided. Television and marketing can take some of the blame, and Hollywood.
Some theologians pursuing the purpose of marriage have suggested marriage also is purposed to make me holy.
If man is to love his wife like Christ the bride, how good is the church doing? First, I look at how Jesus loves His bride for my example. He loves her selflessly. Humbly. Completely. Passionately. Purely. He suffered so much that He was unrecognizable, this to save her life. He protects her. He adores her with such unconditional love. He will raise her up, like He rose, in the end. He is coming to get her like the Lion from the Tribe of Judah and with such force and might that anyone standing in the way or trying to hurt His bride will be annihilated. Is this how my husband loves me? It seems like a lot to ask!
Certainly, it is overwhelming for a man to know where to begin. It is an impossible target, too, without the help of the Holy Spirit. As for the bride, she should be humble and pure and not become self-centered because of His sacrifice.
Do I know any couples that love like this?
I am pressing my mind and memory hard to think of one. One or two come close, yet still miss the mark. Christ’s love was totally sacrificial.
So, practically applied, for the husband and the wife, this is a scale to judge performance. Hopefully as the years pass, we will move up on the scale, coming closer to the perfect example of Christ. This should help me to see the need to die-to-self, reshaping me ever more to the image of Christ. And this aspect of marriage is a sanctifying one.
Watch this space for Part 5.
Written by Jori Sams