23 years ago on this day Wendy and I were married. 3 years into our marriage we hit a big wobbly and there was a time when I thought it might all be over. But by the grace of God (and Wendy) we stuck to our vows and over time came to love each other even more than at the beginning. I can say now that 23 years later Wendy and I love each other more than we ever have… even though like all marriages we have our ups and downs. And tonight we will celebrate 23 years of marriage at “The Jewel of India” our favorite “hot” restaurant (which by the way was planned and is being paid for by our 13 year old son).
Now all of that is great and a testimony of God’s grace to sinners like ourselves! But when I read Ephesians 5: 22 – 33 I see an even greater story that these 23 years of marriage point to. According to Paul in Ephesians 5: 32 (and context) these 23 years are a testimony, a pointer, to an even more remarkable relationship… the ongoing faithful love of Jesus the Groom (way more than 23 years) to His Bride the Church! And given how we (the Church) behave what incredible faithful love!
Marriage is totally underrated:
Firstly, because no matter what happens if we stick to our vows and work at loving each other we experience levels of love, grace and forgiveness that we can never experience outside of a relationship where the commitment is so formal and public. Don’t believe the popular nonsense that marriage is just a piece of paper and we can experience just as much love outside of it in less “formal” ways. The Person who designed marriage doesn’t think so and by the way He designed us and therefore knows best.
Secondly, because when marriages continue (no matter what attacks them) it is a powerful witnesses to the gospel because it is (according to Paul in Ephesians) a pointer to the faithfulness of Jesus to His Church.
So let’s celebrate and work hard at our marriages – because if we do we will experience the depths of love like not possible in any other human relationship. We will also experience the grace of God in much richer ways too.
Let’s celebrate and work hard at our marriages – because they will turn people to Jesus. And by the way we should be intentional about pointing people to Jesus through marriage… I think Paul would say, “That is why I wrote that section in Ephesians”.
Let’s pray for marriages (ours and others) that God will by His Spirit give us the strength to live the above because we are weak and can’t do it on our own.
Let’s not make those who have experienced divorce feel guilty. We live in a fallen world where divorce is a reality and God is powerfully using divorced people in our churches and communities as much as anyone else. But let’s not let the high rate of divorce cause us in any way to underrate marriage.
Thank God for marriage!