In the covenant of marriage, husband and wife give themselves to each other. It’s not fifty-fifty; it’s one hundred-one hundred. At any given time either spouse won’t have 100 percent to give, but this does not diminish the other’s commitment because they are not in a contract but a covenant. As in the covenant of grace initiated by God to save sinners, one party can give 100 percent even if the other gives nothing.
In a gospel-centered marriage, you give yourself to your spouse regardless of the goods or the services because that’s what true love is and because that’s what glorifies God.
If everything goes great and you find out as you start your life together that the marriage is exactly what you expected, you’re in. But if you’re like very other normal human being and things get a little problematic, and you find out you married a sinner who’s got some crazy he or she was hiding away, you’re still in.
This is why biblical marriage is so serious—and why divorce is so serious. Ephesians 5 helps us see the weight of the glory of the gospel. Submission is weighty. Sacrifice is weighty. They are weighty like the good news of Jesus Christ is weighty. They are as heavy as the cross.
And in forgiving and loving our sinful spouse, we begin to understand on a much smaller scale what it meant for our holy God to forgive and redeem us.
God’s relationship to the church is not contractual; it’s covenantal. And what’s mind-blowing about God’s covenantal love toward the church is that God fulfills the obligations of both parties! God has put on my life the command that I am to love my wife, Lauren, as Christ loved the church. That is God’s command on my life—regardless of whether or not she reciprocates that love. I don’t love her as Christ loved the church in order to get something from her; I love her that way because that is what God has commanded me to do, and that’s the way he has loved me.
* What is the difference between a contract and a covenant? Do you show this one-way, unconditional, covenantal love to your spouse? What steps can you take to show more of this type of love?
Marriage Like Christ and the Church22Wives, be subject to your own husbands, as to the Lord. 23For the husband is the head of the wife, as Christ also is the head of the church, He Himself being the Savior of the body. 24But as the church is subject to Christ, so also the wives ought to be to their husbands in everything.25Husbands, love your wives, just as Christ also loved the church and gave Himself up for her, 26so that He might sanctify her, having cleansed her by the washing of water with the word, 27that He might present to Himself the church in all her glory, having no spot or wrinkle or any such thing; but that she would be holy and blameless. 28So husbands ought also to love their own wives as their own bodies. He who loves his own wife loves himself; 29for no one ever hated his own flesh, but nourishes and cherishes it, just as Christ also does the church, 30because we are members of His body. 31For this reason a man shall leave his father and mother and shall be joined to his wife, and the two shall become one flesh. 32This mystery is great; but I am speaking with reference to Christ and the church. 33Nevertheless, each individual among you also is to love his own wife even as himself, and the wife must see to itthat she respects her husband.EPHESIANS 5:22-33~Solomon’s Wedding Day7“Behold, it is the traveling couch of Solomon;Sixty mighty men around it,Of the mighty men of Israel.8“All of them are wielders of the sword,Expert in war;Each man has his sword at his side,Guarding against the terrors of the night.SONG OF SOLOMON 3:7-8