“This mystery is profound, but I am talking about Christ and the church. To sum up, each one of you is to love his wife as himself, and the wife is to respect her husband.”
What Fuels Our Love?
What kinds of tropes do you think of when you consider the genre of romance? Think of this question in terms of the books we read and the movies we watch on television. It’s usually the same old story of boy meets girls, followed by some completely avoidable conflict taking over. After this predictable chaos ensues, there’s a big grand gesture, and they all fall madly in love. The end.
But then what happens to them after the ending credits? And what could it possibly be that fuels these characters’ love on their worst days? We don’t know the answer to either of those questions. But for Christ’s followers, we know what marks a godly marriage: when we are identified by our selfless love.
As Christ to His Bride
Paul had many wise words to speak to the church on the topic of marriage. However, this is especially true as he writes on how we should treat one another and how it relates to Jesus’ treatment of His bride. We can find this huge metaphor all throughout the Scriptures, with Christ’s character as the groom and His church as the bride.
Here in Ephesians 5, we see that love and respect are what tether this sacred union together. This is contrary to the power, greed, or pride that could easily overtake our relationships. Just as Jesus was identified by His selfless love towards us, our marriages ought to speak that same message. Especially to the audience of a world struggling to view this eternal union as a sacred and holy venture.
What God Has Joined Together
It’s a wonder that Christ in His goodness, holiness, and perfection would seek to love a people like us—as imperfect and selfish as we might be. But just the same, marriage paints the picture of two imperfect people who trust in the strength of an endlessly loving God. We must trust in Him to lead our relationships as we seek Him amidst all our many challenges. If this is true (and we know it to be!), then we must lean into Him as the source of our selfless. Only then may we truly be identified by our selfless love.
The world is watching to see how our relationships within the church are able to work and to thrive through the means that God has established in His Word. How can your marriage (or future marriage!) paint that same picture of continual love, truth, and forgiveness?
Reflect on Christ’s love and how set apart it is from the love we know from the world. How does the selflessness and honor He extends to you guide the ways you love others, whether you are married or not? Who in your life could you encourage with the truths of God’s love for us?