The Mystery of Marriage

Marriage is a mystery, according to Paul. A “mega” (great) mystery in fact! Many would agree with that assessment, whether you’re in a brand-new marriage, or a broken relationship, or if you’re ready to walk away from your spouse. It’s a profound mystery to us.

It’s a mystery how men and women manage to get together. And then, when they get together, they find themselves in a relationship with a person that is in many ways the opposite of who they are or who you may have thought they were.

It’s a mystery how to make this thing work. You may, again, be just starting out. The journey from where you stand today looks daunting. How are we going to make it “till death do us part” since the adjustments of the first few months have been brutal.

Or maybe you’ve just given up on your relationship altogether, deciding it’s way too mysterious to figure out how to go back to square one and start again, or how to choke out those words “I’m sorry” or “I forgive you” to the person to whom you are married.

Part of what makes marriage so mysterious is we don’t know how to read what the Creator of marriage said about it. He said things like:

  • “It’s not about your happiness or fulfillment, but your sacrifice.”
  • “It’s not about you always getting your way, but serving”
  • “It’s not about you getting love, but about you giving love.”
  • “It’s not about you winning, but you surrendering.”

Most of us turn to our peers, not the Bible, when it comes time to ask for advice or share our struggles with marriage. Our friends, steeped in the culture of the world, will advise you from the world’s vantage point to do just the opposite of what the Bible says.

The Bible’s counsel for marriage is summarized in Ephesians 5. There we see three “anchor” points or principles that help us navigate when the sea of matrimony gets stormy.

First, we are to exhibit a submissive spirit. Our primary submission is to “one another” in marriage… unto Christ. A submissive spirit, though assigned as the wife’s duty, is first of all to be given to the Lord.

Second, we are to exhibit a servant’s heart. This quality is to be exhibit from the husband to the wife. The husband is to serve his wife as he serves the Lord. His service to his wife is an act of worship to the Lord. We love our wife in the same way we want to love Jesus. No wife will ever resent being submissive to that kind of partner.

Third, we are to display sacrificial love. This is a love that, not only is willing to die for the beloved (as most husbands would claim they would), but that actually dies! Not the death of taking a bullet or throwing himself in front of a speeding automobile to save them, but daily dying to himself; his wants… his needs… for the sake of loving his wife.

This kind of marriage will truly glorify the Lord, mystify the world and please those involved in it. Don’t take your marching orders from the wrong source.

But the mystery extends to what our marriage shows. A Christian marriage demonstrates the love of Christ for His Bride, the church. Don’t give up on the picture. Your marriage is bigger than you, and more important than your momentary trials. The Gospel is seen as you live this out.

Live in the mystery. It is there that God shows His greatest power, and the world sees an astounding witness.

And one day, the mystery will become clear to us!


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