Christianity 201

May 5, 2011

Marriage Re-Enacts a Larger Theme

Today’s post appeared on April 11th at the blog of Ohio pastor David Paul Dorr, where it appeared under the title Marriage Doesn’t.

Have you heard the phrase, “marriage isn’t supposed to make you happy, it’s to make you holy?”That sounds about as appealing as a punch in the face.

We say this with good intentions. When we make marriage about our personal happiness, then our well-being is a house built without a foundation. Whenever we don’t feel happy in our marriage we feel insecure about our decision. If we are REALLY unhappy, then we are convinced that the marriage should end.

So to counter this harmful view of marriage, we say marriage is more about character development, i.e. holiness. This means we can stick the marriage out, no matter how we feel. We say, “We might be miserable, but we are committed, and it all works out for the best because this is making me a better person.”

But that is still building on the wrong foundation. God didn’t give me a spouse for personal gratification or personal improvement. He gave me a spouse so I could be a storyteller. Our marriage’s purpose is to tell an age-old tale.  A story of how God loves His people, and how they flourish under His care as they respect and honor Him.

Paul says in Ephesians 5:32 that marriage is a “profound mystery.” It is not a mystery because we can’t figure it out — it’s a mystery (something hidden that now is revealed) because marriage reflects Christ and His church.

So our marriages are like a play. Men, we have the part of Jesus Christ — loving, nourishing, and cherishing our bride. Women, your part is the church — respecting, honoring, and submitting to your husband. To the degree that we “play” our parts faithfully, our marriage will be gospel proclamation. In an evil world filled with broken relationships, love and honor can thrive.  And those in and around our marriage: the couple, the children, the extended family, the church, the community, will get a practical demonstration of God’s love for them.

~David Paul Dorr

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