Ephesians 5: 32-33
‘For this reason a man will leave his father and mother and be united to his wife, and the two will become one flesh.’ This is a profound mystery – but I am talking about Christ and the church. However, each one of you also must love his wife as he loves himself, and the wife must respect her husband.
Genesis 2: 18; 21-25
The Lord God said, ‘It is not good for the man to be alone. I will make a helper suitable for him.’…
…So the Lord God caused the man to fall into a deep sleep; and while he was sleeping, he took one of the man’s ribs and then closed up the place with flesh. Then the Lord God made a woman from the rib he had taken out of the man, and he brought her to the man.
The man said,
‘This is now bone of my bones
and flesh of my flesh;
she shall be called “woman”,
for she was taken out of man.’
That is why a man leaves his father and mother and is united to his wife, and they become one flesh.
Adam and his wife were both naked, and they felt no shame.
In the movie 'Juno', the main character wistfully says to her father: “I just need to know that it's possible that two people can stay happy together forever.” Her father pauses before responding: “Well, it's not easy, that's for sure.”
Our culture is obsessed with the idea of falling in love. Movies, TV shows and popular music focus on the many aspects and intricacies of romance, passion, desire, lust, breaking up and making up. Falling in love has never been easier. Twenty years ago we actually had to speak to the person we wanted to ask out on a date. Now we simply send a text message or Facebook them. In the past we had to physically go to locations where we would meet members of the opposite gender and approach them. Today we scroll through hundreds of faces on a dating app until we see one that we find attractive. The potential number of partners we can meet has increased exponentially, but often, with increased choices and options, comes greater complexity and indecision. We long to meet ‘the one’ – that individual who whisks us off our feet, causes our heart to flutter, makes all our dreams come true, compliments us perfectly and with whom we will live happily ever after.
Yet, as we look around us we see so many damaged relationships, broken hearts, shattered dreams and unhappy couples. While it’s never been easier to fall in love, staying in love is a different matter altogether. The reality is that falling in love might get you married, but falling in love won’t keep you married. Why? Because feelings go up and down. Feelings change over time.
Any woman married for any length of time will tell you that she does not wake up every morning and look at their husband snoring loudly beside her and think, “I’m so madly in love with you.” Similarly, any man who has been married for years will probably admit that he no longer gets goose bumps every time he touches his wife. In fact, it has been said that, when a man holds his wife’s hand before marriage it’s love, but when he holds her hand after marriage, it’s self-defence.
On your wedding day, it’s hard to imagine that there will be times ahead which are likely to be very difficult, there will be days when you want to be as far apart from each other as possible, you might even think, “Why did I marry him/her?”
Ruth Graham, wife of the famous evangelist Billy Graham, was once asked if she had ever considered divorcing her husband. She replied, “No, I've never thought of divorce in all these 35 years of marriage. But I did think of murder a few times.” Many married couples can echo those sentiments.
It’s in those times that we need to remember the vows we made on our wedding day. Promises and commitments we declared, not just before family and friends, but before God.
It’s in those challenging days, weeks, even months, that we realise more than ever, that we can’t make this marriage work on our own. We need God at the centre of our union, we need Jesus at the heart of our lives and we need the Holy Spirit to empower us to be the husband and wife that we have committed ourselves to be.
As we explore marriage this week, it’s so important that we understand that God really cares about your marriage. All of your relationships matter to Him. But especially your marriage. Why? Because marriage is intended to represent a relationship so much greater and a story so much bigger than both of you. It is supposed to paint a picture to the world of how Jesus loves His church. We’ll think about what that kind of love practically looks like in the next few days. In the meantime:
If you are married, take a few moments today to thank God for your spouse. Be specific in recounting those aspects of their personality and character that you especially love.
If you are single today, why not pray for a married couple you know personally? Ask God to bless and strengthen their marriage.
If you would like to be married, ask God to bring the person you long for into your life. Don’t be timid or afraid in doing that. Be honest and be specific. He is your Father and He longs to hear your heart’s desires.
If you have been married in the past or have been badly wounded by a relationship, you may want to ask God to heal any hurts you are carrying in your soul and to restore the places which were negatively affected by that broken relationship. Psalm 147: 3 says: "He heals the broken-hearted and binds up their wounds."