Mike Johnson explores the biblical purpose of marriage and how couples can build relationships that reflect their faith in God
The fact that we are seeing marital trends in society reflected in the Church should not come as a surprise because we do not exist in a parallel universe; the Church is a microcosm of society. However, as people of faith, we are called to higher standards and appreciation of spiritual things. ‘Not as the world’ do we live, love or grieve. So how do we prepare to enter and maintain fulfilling marriages?
Step one is to ‘Understand the Purpose of Marriage’. Believers need to look at the heart of marriage and realise it has a deeper, eternal purpose.
The physical relationship cycle includes the first meeting, dating, engagement, marriage, honeymoon, and setting up home. All these have a spiritual equivalent, and they are used by God to reveal His plan of salvation. The spiritual cycle sees Christ declaring that He knew us before we were formed. When we fall, He woos us with words like, “Come, let us reason together.” We become engaged to Christ when we give our heart to Him, and publicly express it in baptism. Our wedding ceremony takes place in the sky when Christ comes again to receive His Bride (His Church. Our honeymoon is the 1,000 years we’ll spend in heaven, and then we’ll return to the re-created Earth to live with Christ forever (Revelation 21). The spiritual purpose of marriage is intended for the mutual salvation of each other.
Step two is to ‘Understand the Call to Marriage’. Marriage is good and honourable, established by God to serve multiple purposes, but is it for you? There is no compulsion to marry, but society and the Church can make single people feel inadequate for being single. The call to marry and the choice of a partner should be carefully evaluated; they may meet your physical profile but what about the spiritual connection? The Holy Spirit gives us the answers before we do things, but our desire to please self overrides the warning, resulting in our churches being littered with failed marriages because individuals decided to go ahead and “hope for the best”, and now find themselves in loveless relationships.
Step three is to ‘Understand the Mathematics of Marriage.’ Too many single people feel incomplete unless they are united with another. If you enter a relationship in that frame of mind, you will always be looking to someone else for your fulfilment. The mathematics of marriage is one plus one equals one — two ‘complete’ individuals coming together to make one in mind and purpose, working for the mutual salvation of each other.
Step four is to ‘Understand the Language of Marriage.’ ‘For the husband is head of the wife, as also Christ is Head of the Church’ (Ephesians 5:23). We tend to stop at the headlines with this one, but there’s a little pin that, when it is pulled, obliterates the thought of the husband lauding it over the wife. It’s the word ‘as’ and means that the husband is being compared to Christ as Head of His Bride (the Church). What did He do for His bride? He loved His bride so much that He sacrificed everything for her.
Step five is to ‘Understand the Hurts Within Marriage’. Infidelity, abuse, separation and divorce are the most hurtful aspects of marriage. None of these are in God’s physical or spiritual plan for marriage. Under no circumstances should you remain in an abusive relationship, but should you kill the marriage? Consider how many times you have been unfaithful to Christ. You pray and seek forgiveness and believe that you are forgiven, and the next time you fall, you do the same. So, should we treat erring partners the same way? That’s not a mandate for anyone to go and do what they want and think ‘My partner will forgive me.’ If we think that way with Christ, it’s called presumption and is not recommended. In (Malachi 2:16) the Lord says He hates divorce. We know He has had to ‘put away’ Israel, but He never cut them off; His love for them has never diminished. It was always with the proviso that ‘when they came to their senses’ and returned to Him, He would receive them back.
A successful marriage is one where two equals enter to become one and to work in co-operation with the Holy Spirit for the mutual salvation of each other — one in which we treat each other the way we expect Christ to treat us.
Mike Johnson is founder and CEO at Life Radio UK, a Christian radio station sharing the Gospel and covering topics on health, family and the community. Visit www.liferadio.uk for more details.
Written by : Mike Johnson