By Rick Cowman
Since we’ve been on the subject of love, these next few weeks we’ll be looking at the subject of marriage and how biblical marriages are a picture of Christ and His relationship with His Church.
In Ephesians, chapter 5, we find God’s design for marriage. Let’s look at verses 31 and 32: “For this cause a man shall leave his father and mother and shall cleave to his wife; and the two shall become one flesh. This mystery is great; but I am speaking with reference to Christ and the Church (NASB).” A mystery by definition is something unexplained, unknown, or kept secret. While the writer here is talking about the mystery of becoming one in Christ, I think we could agree that God’s design for marriage is also a mystery to many! Most couples go into marriage with wrong expectations and wrong information concerning what marriage is designed to be. Like many of you (I’m dating myself here), I grew up with Ozzie and Harriet, Leave It To Beaver, Father Knows Best, and The Donna Reed Show. And with these models of marriage and family life, we assumed people just got married and lived happily ever after! Others of us grew up in a very dysfunctional homes, and have believed the lie that a good marriage is more than a mystery; it’s a myth! Both of these assumptions are incorrect!
Based on the dreadful statistics of failed marriages, I think we can safely conclude that a lasting, vital marriage relationship is definitely a mystery to many people! And unfortunately, the statistics are no better for those couples who profess to be followers of Jesus Christ. You see, being a Christian doesn’t guarantee we will have a great marriage; but having a vital relationship with Christ and knowing God’s design for marriage gives us the tools necessary to go the distance!
The “mystery” the writer is talking about in verse 32 is the mystery of “oneness” God designed for the marriage relationship. It is the mystery of intimacy between a husband and wife, and the picture it portrays of God’s design for intimacy between Christ and us as His Church! Paul said he was “speaking with reference to Christ and the Church.” Many times in the Scriptures the “church” is referred to as the “bride of Christ” and He is called the “Bridegroom”. It is “for this cause” a man and woman will be joined together. What cause? I believe the reason God instituted marriage was not just to populate the earth, but to set up an institution which would model His ultimate plan to have a relationship with us through Christ. Marriage was the awesome plan of God to reflect the intimacy of “oneness” He desires to have with each one of us!
So the question for us to chew on for a while is this: Can anyone see Christ’s love for them by looking at your marriage? Can they see it in mine? Here’s something to think about. How can we expect those close to us, especially our kids, to be drawn to God’s love for them when our marriage doesn’t model it?
Next week we will look at the role of the husband in making marriage what God intended. As we close, here’s an encouraging word: A great marriage doesn’t have to be a mystery!