Picture This: Marriage

I’ve been thinking a lot lately about marriage. And no, not in the “I want to get married” kind of way. I’ve been thinking about the beautiful picture that is marriage that is laid out in the Bible, and how much sense it makes. Consider this passage. It’s quite long, but the Bible is always worth reading.

Ephesians 5:22-32

black-and-white-art-photo-bride-groom-3Wives, submit to your own husbands, as to the Lord. For the husband is the head of the wife even as Christ is the head of the church, his body, and is himself its Savior. Now as the church submits to Christ, so also wives should submit in everything to their husbands. Husbands, love your wives, as Christ loved the church and gave himself up for her, that he might sanctify her, having cleansed her by the washing of water with the word, so that he might present the church to himself in splendor, without spot or wrinkle or any such thing, that she might be holy and without blemish. In the same way husbands should love their 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 Christ does the church, because we are members of his body. “Therefore a man shall leave his father and mother and hold fast to his wife, and the two shall become one flesh.” This mystery is profound, and I am saying that it refers to Christ and the church.

Culture is obsessed with romance. My “friend” Daisy somewhat referenced this obsession in her post “Looking for Love?” . Basically, the idea is that God put a longing in our hearts to be one with someone, and that someone is God. Marriage is a picture of that oneness. God has literally made us one with himself by giving us the Holy Spirit to dwell inside of us. We will all celebrate at the Marriage Supper of the Lamb, celebrate our redemption through Christ. By understanding marriage, we can understand our relationship with God better.

There are many facets to this metaphor, so I’m only going to examine one right now, that of submission. The idea that a wife should submit to her husband has come under fierce attack in the church in recent years, mostly due to changing cultural ideas of womanhood. But submission is a beautiful example. When a woman submits to her husband, she is a literal representation of the submission every one of us should exhibit to Christ, our head. Not only are we to submit, but we are to submit in everything.

That might sound unpleasant.

But women have been given a kind of advantage in some ways. We have more practice in submission than men do. Therefore, it is easier for us to submit to Christ. Honestly, I have never seen Christ as clearly displayed as in the married women in my life, who understand what it is to submit to both their husbands and to their Lord Jesus.

And it’s beautiful.