Marriage is …

Coast Guard Chapel, Bois Blanc Island, Michigan

Marriage is a promise.

We’ve been getting married for so long that, in a lot of ways, we’ve forgotten that marriage is a promise. Two people promising to nourish and cherish each other as Christ loves the Church. They promise to love, honor and keep each other in sickness and in health, forsaking all others. It’s a promise for as long as they both shall live.

Marriage is a mystery.

The Apostle Paul, one of the brightest men to ever live, called marriage a profound mystery. In his letter to the Ephesians, he comments on how a husband should love his wife in the same way that Christ loved the church and gave himself up for her. Christ died for the church. A wife must submit to her husband as to the Lord. Christ spent his life serving God’s people. Neither of these conditions make sense to us and they are easily distorted. How can two sinful people become one and promise a lifetime to the other?

The mystery can’t be resolved, but it can be honored in light of God’s grace. We can glorify God, in the mystery of marriage, if we follow those simple instructions from Paul; husbands love your wives as you love yourself and wives respect your husbands.

Marriage is a gift.

God gave us marriage when he created us. On the sixth day of creation, God created Adam and Eve and marries them, straight away. He even gave them instructions that could be passed on to future generations. In Genesis chapter 2, God says, “Therefore a man shall leave his father and his mother and hold fast to his wife, and they shall become one flesh.”

Marriage is a carousel.

The carousel spins and if we don’t hang on, we can fall off. If we understand how the carousel works, we can avoid falling off. Imagine Christ at the center of the carousel, just as he should be the center of a marriage. The further we get from the center of the carousel the harder it is to hang on. The further we get from Christ the harder it is to keep our marriage together. The carousel, like our sin, is trying to throw us off, but Christ is always drawing us to him. Being with Christ, in the center of the carousel doesn’t stop the ride, but it does keep you from getting thrown off and keeps your marriage together.

That’s what marriage is. A gift from God with simple instructions. A promise between a husband and wife to love, honor and keep each other against all odds. A profound mystery we won’t solve this side of the veil, but within it we can bring glory to God.

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