A Profound Mystery
Many have used Ephesians 5:23-31 to expound on the roles and guidelines of marriages, and rightly so, but the Apostle Paul was actually pointing to something much deeper. He said, “Husbands, love your wives … and the wife must respect her husband.” He then concludes the passage with a surprising statement, “This is a profound mystery—but I am talking about Christ and the church” (Eph 5:32).
Though he was talking about marriage, he was actually illustrating Christ’s relationship with the church. I believe that a healthy marriage can reveal the nature of Christ to the world in three distinct ways.
One of the amazing things about a healthy marriage is that someone can know and love the REAL you. Not the “all-together” you that you want everyone else to see. I’m talking about the real you, that is sometimes selfish, maybe a little pig-headed, or rude, and whose breath sometimes stinks. Yes, they know your strengths and successes, but they also know your challenges, your weaknesses, your shortcomings, your mistakes, your issues, your fears, and even your failures. Yet through it all, they inexplicably love you anyways. In fact, some of those very things actually cause them to love you even more. They love the REAL you. The best marriages are built on UNCONDITIONAL LOVE!
This is the beauty of the love of God. Somehow, Christ knows everything about us, including our innermost thoughts, and LOVES us regardless. We can’t hide anything from Him. He knows everything about us – yet loves us unconditionally!
Also, anyone married for any length of time knows that marriage has a way providing a lot of opportunities to practice UNRESTRICTED FORGIVENESS. A wise person once said, “Marriage is the union of two good forgivers.” Couples in strong marriages will find themselves forgiving over and over and over again. In fact, it’s required. Otherwise, those same couples would end up critical, bitter, and unhappy. Forgiveness is the very essence of Christ’s message. And because of His amazing grace He forgives us over, and over, and over again. He grants us UNRESTRICTED FORGIVENESS.
Finally, healthy marriages are built on the foundation of UNWAVERING COMMITMENT. My wife knows that regardless what happens, I am not leaving. I’m not walking out. It doesn’t matter what she says. It doesn’t matter what she does. I am completely committed to her! Unwavering commitment provides security and confidence. Couples will feel comfortable to be themselves. This is why marriage is intended to be “until death do us part,” because it represents God’s unwavering commitment to us as eternal. Jesus said, “I will never leave you, nor forsake you” (Heb. 13:5).
Understanding and practicing these three principles will lead to the happiest, healthiest and strongest marriages. More importantly, it reveals the nature of Christ to our friends, our families, and the world. People will ask you, “How can you love him when he acts like that? How can you keep forgiving? Why do you stay with her?” The answer: “Because Christ loves me when I act like that. He forgives me when I mess up and He never leaves me no matter what I’ve done. I still see the value, the good, and the reflection of God in that person, just like Christ does with me.”
Healthy marriages reveal Christ to the world by displaying unconditional love, unrestricted forgiveness, and unwavering commitment. It is a profound mystery.