White Hot Marriage

19 05 2020

As we progress through Ephesians, the Bible now gives us a picture of a Christian marriage that is so beautiful it is nearly too brilliant to gaze upon. In my meditating on it, I saw the roles of wife and husband in a new light, and have sought to depict them in the ideal spirituality of God’s design.

In so doing, I am keenly aware and sorry that such a depiction causes some pain in all of us, for whether by divorce, unchosen singleness, estrangement, sin, or death, none of us can fully live out marriage as God intended it. Let us receive it wholly in the grace of our God.

Admiration of the husband – the wife’s joy

“Wives, submit to your own husbands, as to the Lord. For the husband is head of the wife, as also Christ is head of the church; and He is the Savior of the body. Therefore, just as the church is subject to Christ, so let the wives be to their own husbands in everything” (Eph.5:22-24).

Look at my husband, how handsome, how honorable.
How he is seen by the community. How he manages his affairs. How he provides for his household.
His reputation is one of dignity, industry, fairness, generosity, mercy.

Do you know why? Because he has me as his wife.
The ways I have loved him have made him aspire to greater things.
I have been his encourager, his cheerleader, his confidant.
He has never had to worry about my support, or question my loyalty.
I have not belittled him, or teased him. I have been honest with him; told him the truth, in love.
By God’s grace, my husband gladly says that I have helped him be more like Christ.
My support and respect for him has changed him. He wants to be more like Jesus because he wants to be worthy of such love. This is my life’s work, my greatest calling.

Adornment of the wife – the husband’s joy

“Husbands, love your wives, just as Christ also loved the church and gave Himself for her; that He might sanctify and cleanse her with the washing of water by the word, that He might present her to Himself a glorious church, not having spot or wrinkle or any such thing, but that she should be holy and without blemish” (Eph. 5:25-27).

Do you see my wife? Look at her. She stands out from all others, so shockingly beautiful to me.
Others come to her for prayer and counsel. They need her perspective, her words of assurance.
She takes care of our home, and brings her creative touch.
Her heart longs for more of God; she clings to what is good, to joy. She tends to the hurting, and watches for those in need.

Do you know why? Because she has me as her husband.

The way I have loved her makes her want to be this way.
I have led her, have sacrificed for her, have encouraged her. I have bragged about her, and accentuated her strengths.
I treat her with dignity and respect, and overlook her faults.
I build her up, and honor her opinions. By God’s grace, my love for her has increased her love for Jesus.
In her devotion, I picture the surrender of the bride of Christ to her Husband.
And when she one day stands before Jesus, glorious and pure, she will say her husband was the main reason she is so.

Intimacy in marriage – physical pleasure and spiritual mystery

So husbands ought to love their own wives as their own bodies; he who loves his wife loves himself. For no one ever hated his own flesh, but nourishes and cherishes it, just as the Lord does the church. For we are members of His body, of His flesh and of His bones. ‘For this reason a man shall leave his father and mother and be joined to his wife, and the two shall become one flesh.’ This is a great mystery, but I speak concerning Christ and the church. Nevertheless let each one of you in particular so love his own wife as himself, and let the wife see that she respects her husband” (Eph. 5:28-33).

Our bodies are not perfect, my wife and I, but I love the shape of her, and she loves me to come close. It seems our bodies were made to wrap together in pleasure.

And do you know why? Because we married each other; we committed to oneness, and we became one.
We put our original families in second place, and joined in covenant with God.
Our bed is honorable and pure, exciting and free.
Possibly, someone will see Jesus in the way we love. They may long for closeness to Christ when they sense our intimacy.
For this is what is happening with us. The closer we grow, and the more pleasure we explore, the greater we realize there are untapped depths of intimacy with Christ. The people of God, members of His beautiful body, can be one with Him, bonded together in eternal covenant.

So, brothers and sisters, let this be our ideal.

Where we have failed, let us weep on the altar of His mercy and receive grace. Let His tears of forgiveness stream down and blend with our tears of sorrow.

Where we are struggling now, let us take up arms and enter the fight to keep this sacred call.

Where we have slumbered, let us wake up and rise to fulfill this dream.

Where we now live this wonder, let us be glad. And vigilant.

For it may turn out that there are no more important people in time and eternity than a husband and wife, together in intimate love.