“A man shall leave his father and mother and be united to his wife, and the two shall become one flesh. This is a profound mystery..” Ephesians 5:31-32
If you have been married, and maybe even if you haven’t, you know that marriage truly is a great mystery. Often I wonder where the “happily ever after” is in marriage. It’s all throughout the movies. Marriage is supposed to be easy, endlessly romantic, and according to Hollywood, make me perfectly happy!
But after 12 years of marriage, I know the Hollywood view of marriage isn’t realistic! I love my husband more today than I did 12 years ago. But marriage is hard work! It hasn’t always been easy for us to love each other for we are often selfish and unwilling. The romance comes and goes in waves, and while he is my biggest encourager and supporter, my husband can’t meet my every need even though he often tries. As Tim Keller says, “Sometimes you fall into bed, after a long hard day of trying to understand each other and you can only sigh, “This is all a profound mystery!”
So what did God intend marriage to be? The answer: God created marriage to be the most important relationship between humans. You see, in the beginning there was God and his first man, Adam. Although Adam was in relationship with God, God said it was not good for him to be alone. Adam needed God but he also needed someone on Earth, someone who would be bone of his bone and flesh of his flesh (Gen 2:22-25). He needed someone to love and to love him, to share the joys and sorrows with, and someone who would walk in the image of God with Adam to show the world what God is like. After our relationship with God, marriage is the most profound and important relationship that exists.
Over the next few months, we will look at marriage, through blog posts online, a 9 week marriage series on Sundays and in our Missional Communities to see how our culture perceives marriage and what God intended for us through it. As the divorce rate grows (50% of marriages end in divorce today versus 25% in 1960), it is an important time for us to understand God’s design for marriage and to lift it up in its importance!
If you are married, begin this week by asking God to reveal to you the true priority of your marriage. Is it the most important relationship in your life after God? Many of us say marriage is our top priority, but do our actions and time reflect that? How often do you think about your spouse? When was the last time just the two of you went on a date? How are you encouraging, serving, praying for your spouse? How we spend our time reflects our true priority. Rank realistically where your marriage falls and talk with your spouse about how you make your marriage top priority.
If you are not married, take some time to reflect on your own views of marriage. How has the culture influenced your view? This series and these posts are for you, too. Our goal is to give married and unmarried people a vision for what God intends marriage to be. This will help you in your over-desires or under-desires of marriage and should also help you in considering a prospective mate.