In the Bible, so much of the marriage language about weddings, brides, and grooms is discussing the relationship between God and his people. In the Bible, in spite of humanity’s sin, turning away from God, the Lord is depicted as a faithful groom.
In the New Testament, the church is depicted as the bride and Christ is the groom. That’s part of the reason why our passage said “husbands love your wives as Christ loved the church and gave himself up for her.”
Jesus has a sacrificial love for the church. In Ephesians 5, the Apostle Paul says: “This mystery is profound, and I am saying that it refers to Christ and the church (Ephesians 5:32).”
What Paul is saying is that marriage itself is a picture of the love that Jesus has for his church. The gospel gives a picture of what marriage is supposed to be.
Marriage is about faithfulness. God is faithful to his people. He is faithful to his promises.
Marriage is about forgiving. Because we sin. And the closer a person is to us, the deeper the wounds we can afflict. And nowhere is that truer than in marriage.
Marriage is about grace. You are to love your spouse unconditionally. They don’t earn your love or approval. We can’t earn God’s love. God freely offers the love that we could never earn.
Marriage is about love. Because “God so loved the world that he gave his only son that whoever believes in him shall not perish but have eternal life (John 3:16).
The Bible says that “Love is patient and kind; love does not envy or boast; it is not arrogant or rude. It does not insist on its own way; it is not irritable or resentful; it does not rejoice at wrongdoing, but rejoices with the truth. Love bears all things, believes all things, hopes all things, endures all things (1 Corinthians 13:4-7).”
The gospel gives marriage its greater meaning. Jesus is the groom who sacrificed everything for his bride.
Despite all of our imperfections, our mistakes, our times of selfishness, the worst things we’ve ever done, in spite of that, God offers to love freely and unconditionally. God loves us at our worst. God does not love us because of what we have done, or how we make him feel. He loves us because he loves us. And all we have to do to receive that love is to accept it. To know there is grace.
When marriage is done right, there aren’t many things better than that in the whole world. Two people who love each other who have fun with each other, who bring out the best in each other.
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Josh Benner is the associate pastor at Cornerstone Evangelical Free Church in Fergus Falls, Minnesota and has a Master of Divinity from Trinity Evangelical Divinity School. He enjoys writing about faith and culture. He lives with his wife Kari in Minnesota.