Marriage; November 3, 2018

Ephesians 5:25 Husbands, love your wives, just as Christ loved the church and gave himself up for her.

I find it amusing to have this passage on a day when I am performing a wedding, because I always read this passage to the couple when I do premarital counseling. That said, this passage is a major reason for the devil’s onslaught against marriage in the world today. He knows that if he can confuse us about marriage, we will have more trouble understanding what Christ has done for us and how we are to be in relationship with Him. These days people get up in arms about Paul saying that wives are to submit to their husbands, but they completely overlook this verse which, as I point out to couples, is far more severe on husbands. I tell women that if their husband demands submission from them to ask him, “Well, Honey, are you loving me sacrificially?” A big part of the problem is that we don’t understand this kind of submission. It certainly isn’t subservient groveling! In a way, how Islamists treat women teaches us a lot, because that is so obviously NOT what this is talking about. The better we understand Christ’s love for us, the more eager we will be to please Him. The closer a man’s love for his wife comes to Christ’s love for the Church, the more blessed their marriage and home will be in every respect.

Cathy’s and my marriage is a wonder to many of the people who know us. We both were blessed to be raised by parents who had very good marriages, so our expectations and goals were pretty right. I have had even Christian couples be disbelieving when I tell them we’ve never had a physical fight. We’ve had a few strong arguments, but not so many even of those. The miracle there is that at the point we got married, neither of us was walking very close to the Lord, and it was several years before either of us did so. (Cathy got there first.) I well remember how amazed the professor was in my Marriage and Family class in seminary when I told him that even before I got married I expected marriage would be the biggest job of my life, but it would carry the greatest rewards. I was right! I have learned a great deal about God’s love for me through how He has allowed me to love my wife. In some ways it is still aspirational, because of my many imperfections, but there is joy and peace in it all that I can’t imagine gaining any other way. It has always amazed me that Paul could have written this passage as a single man, but as I tell couples, I take that as proof that he was writing under direct inspiration, and I’m grateful he did so,

Father, thank You for Your plan for marriage and family. Thank You also for the privilege of sharing that plan with so many couples over the years. I pray that the couple getting married today, and each couple I marry, would discover Your love indeed through their relationship and so turn their hearts and their lives over to You, for their salvation and Your glory. Thank You. Hallelujah!

About jgarrott

Born and raised in Japan of missionary parents. Have been here as an adult missionary since 1981.
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