Is marriage still relevant in our society today?
On one hand, we joke about marriage… ‘You’ve been married 27 years? You get a shorter sentence for murder’ ‘Man isn’t complete until he is married… then he’s finished’ ‘Love is holding hands in the street… marriage is holding arguments in the street’…
But on the other hand, the issue of Same Sex Marriage has shown that many people believe all should have access to marriage. Similarly, when a marriage ends we feel sad for all involved. So there are signs that we still see marriage as having significance.
Yet we seem unsure about what marriage even is. Is it just a piece of paper? Is it a case of ‘love makes a marriage’? We probably all agree child marriages, men having multiple wives at once, or incestuous marriages seem wrong, and so there must be some boundaries to what we think marriage is.
Most of us know Christian marriage is the life-long union of a man and a woman from different families. It is a public social union declared through promises made to each other before God and all others in a public ceremony. It is a sexual union, and so is a call to lifelong sexual faithfulness.
Rather than try to win you over to God’s definition of marriage in the Bible, I want to share with you some of His wisdom about marriage that could help us all. I believe strong marriages are essential for our community, not to mention their importance for our children.
Firstly, husbands are to love their wives. When the Bible speaks of love, it has in mind the greatest act of love in history – Jesus Christ loving us to death when he sacrificed his life on the Cross to save his people from their sin. In the same way, God calls on husbands to love their wife to death. That’s not just being prepared to lay your life down for her, or even make sacrifices by mowing the lawn or washing the dishes, it’s also a call to care for her personal and spiritual needs. That will mean giving her your full attention, listening well, encouraging her faith in God, spending your day off with her, and (in honesty my struggle) being proactive in building your marriage. Of course, it also means no abuse – physical, sexual, emotional, or verbal. Love gives your wife your best, not second-best. That’s what Jesus gave us.
Secondly, wives are to respect their husbands. The Bible gives the pattern of how God’s church respects Jesus Christ. Respect for husbands means supporting the husband’s attempts to serve and care for his wife. Respect his attempts to make decisions. It means not nagging even when you are right… which is usually the case! Husbands are sensitive to nagging, criticism, put-downs, and sarcasm as it can be taken as undermining his role as husband – be careful in the words you use when talking to him. Marriage is about supporting each other in the role God has given us. That’s how the church is to relate to Jesus Christ.
These principles on Christian marriage are from the book Ephesians, chapter 5 verses 22 to 33, in the Bible. For a fuller explanation our talk from last Sunday can be downloaded from ‘Bible talks’, or comments can be made below, on this website.
Marriage is hard work. But it’s worth us talking about what it is and helping each other for the sake of our community and generations to come.
In Christ, Tory.