Today marks 22 years that Kim and I have been married, so I thought I would give you a word of encouragement about the two most important things we have both learned about marriage during the course of two-plus decades: the purpose of marriage and the power in marriage.
- The Purpose of Marriage
“For this reason a man will leave his father and mother and be united to his wife, and the two will become one flesh.” This is a profound mystery—but I am talking about Christ and the church. (Ephesians 5:31-32)
Paul is telling us here that the purpose of marriage is to put the covenant-keeping love of Jesus Christ and His church on display. In other words, marriage is designed to point to our Master. Without understanding the purpose of marriage, we have a tendency to make our marriages about meeting our needs rather than displaying the love and grace of Christ.
You see, because God designed marriage, it must be more than just us; it’s about Him! Jesus underscores this truth in the following passage:
“But at the beginning of creation God ‘made them male and female.’ ‘For this reason a man will leave his father and mother and be united to his wife, and the two will become one flesh.’ So they are no longer two, but one. Therefore what God has joined together, let man not separate.” (Mark 10:6-9)
Jesus is telling us that the making of a marriage is primarily the work of God, not man. It is God who has joined together both the husband and wife. Because of this, God is to be the central focus of marriage, and we are to put His covenant-keeping love for us on display for all the world to see, to the praise and glory of His name.
- The Power in Marriage
Submit to one another out of reverence for Christ. Wives, submit to your husbands as to the Lord. For the husband is the head of the wife as Christ is the head of the church, his body, of which he is the Savior. Now as the church submits to Christ, so also wives should submit to their husbands in everything. Husbands, love your wives, just as Christ loved the church and gave himself up for her to make her holy, cleansing her by the washing with water through the word, and to present her to himself as a radiant church, without stain or wrinkle or any other blemish, but holy and blameless. (Ephesians 5:21-27)
I would turn this blog into a Bible commentary if I were to unpack all the truth in this passage, so for our purposes today, I simply want to focus on the first verse: “Submit to one another out of reverence for Christ.” The power in marriage is the Lord Jesus Christ. To be sure, this passage beautifully lays out the different and divine roles husbands and wives are called by God to play in marriage. But every aspect of it is rooted in submission—by both parties!
When we focus more on laying down our lives for each other, we exalt Jesus to His rightful place in our marriages—on His throne—which means He always gets the last word. The more we submit to Jesus, the more we live in the only power that can crush every marriage-wrecking thought, word, and deed.
I said at the beginning that I hoped this article would encourage you; I hope you’ll indulge me as I close today with a few words of thanks.
I thank God for 22 years of marriage and the grace that was sufficient in every season of life we have faced so far.
I thank Him our four precious children: Brock, Jenna, Katie, and the Tank. You have witnessed it all, and, by God’s grace, I pray you will live out your marriages far more smoothly for having lived through both our successes and our failures along the way.
Finally, to my beloved Kim . . . THANK YOU! Thank you for walking alongside of me every step of the way. I could not have imagined the reality of our vows when we said them . . . in sickness and in health, in plenty and in want! Yet these words have marked our marriage, and God has used it all to transform us and conform us, a little more each day, into the image and likeness of His Son.
Kim, I cannot presume on God for another 22 years, but I hope He has ordained many more years together. I am just starting to get the hang of this “husband” thing. But regardless of the time we have left, I pray God will continue growing me into the husband He has called me to be and the husband that you deserve. I love you more than these words can possibly express.
HAPPY ANNIVERSARY KIM!
Your best friend,