Before writing about this topic, I needed to ask myself one question – ‘’Am I really qualified to talk about marriage when I myself am not married?’ But then I remembered Paul, and I was encouraged. Paul himself was also not married, yet some of the most profound lessons on marriage and relationships that we know today were taught by him.
As a young boy, I had many curious questions on marriage: Why would I want to get married? What does God say about marriage? Why wedding receptions are even something that we do? My list of interesting questions goes on. After much investigation and meditation, I’ve decided to share with you my thoughts on the topic. Please note that my goal is not to explain marriage fully, but rather I aim to simply share my insights with you. I pray that as you read may you be blessed.
A QUICK NOTE ABOUT MARRIAGE
Throughout the scriptures, we see one common thread: “God is always reaching out to man”. It is not always that man really seeks God, but that God has always been the one extending an open invitation to man.
“In the Beginning was the Word, and the word was with God, and the word was God (John 1:1)”
“And the Word was Made flesh, and dwelt among us… (John 1:14)”
The word that was with God and that was God at the beginning became flesh and lived among us. God came to man. God couldn’t have been closer. People saw him, touched him and ate with him. They lived everyday life with him. God couldn’t have been closer. God, quite literally, lived with man. 1 John 1:1 also agrees with this. Even when Adam sinned at the garden, it was still God who first spoke to Adam. Adam hid himself, but God came to Him. What a show of love, right after he sinned.(Read Genesis 3: 1 -13 (emphasis on vs. 9)). In another example, it was God who first spoke to Cain after he killed his brother. Throughout the Bible, there are so many stories that remind us that God always tries to reveal himself to us, more than we try to seek him.
“That is, that God was in Christ reconciling the world to Himself, not counting people’s sin against them (But Cancelling them)… (2 Cor. 5:19)”
Notice the above verse, it was God who was reconciling the world. He came first, Not Man!
In a bid to come to man, God often illustrates his kingdom to us using simple representations that are relatable to man. Let me exemplify:
Water. The Mystery of Eternal life can be illustrated in water. When someone is thirsty and he drinks water, he can then be satisfied and no longer be thirsty. In the same way, when we drink of ‘eternal life’ the deepest trenches of our soul can be satisfied and no longer empty. This secret was coded in water so that we can understand and be continuously reminded about it.
Read the discussion between Jesus and the Samaritan woman at the well at John 4: 6 – 14. (Emphasis is on vs. 14)
“But whoever drinks the water that I give him will never be thirsty again. But the water that I give him will become in him a spring of water (satisfying his thirst for God) welling up (continually flowing, bubbling within him) to eternal life” (John 4:14)
Musical Notes: “Do-Re-Mi-Fa-So-La-ti-Do’-Re’-Mi’-…. God is the “Beginning and the Ending” (Rev. 1:8). For a long time, I knew this, I said it, but I couldn’t just understand it. Until my eyes were open to understand it through the musical notes. Notice the second Do’ (it is the ending of a pitch and at the same time the beginning of another higher pitch). So when it is ending, it is actually beginning, and this time on a higher note. God is also like that.
Often-times we arrive at junctions when we feel our lives are finished. We feel hopeless. We feel like giving up. What we don’t know is that God is ending a phase of our lives in order to begin a new phase on an even higher pitch. He can successfully and beautifully finish that academic phase for you, and start a higher one. He can end that job for you, and start a bigger one. He can end your single-hood and start a bright marriage for you. He is the Beginning and Ending at the same time. He is not just there at the beginning and at the end. It is Him, Himself that is the beginning and the ending. He is the doorway to the end and at the same-time the entrance to the beginning. He is both the exit and the entrance. If you need anything to begin or end in your life, seek him.
Most importantly, He is the exit out of this old and decaying World and the entrance into the New World (which is without sickness and death), and only through him can we get into that World. That’s why we preach Jesus and what He did (His death and Resurrection).
The Human Body: Maybe, up till now we might not have understood the importance of the unity of the church, if the Holy-Spirit had not through Paul compare the church with the Human Body. He says that some part of the church are the eyes, some are the hands, and others are the feet of the body. In this illustration we understand that as the church, we need one another to fulfil God’s divine purpose for us.
Now back to our discussion about Marriage., According to scriptures, the purpose ofmarriage is to represent the union between the Church and Christ. In order to fully understand relationships and marriage, we must understand the love between Christ and His Bride, the church. This simple illustration tells us that.
1. Marriage is between two Christian believers I don’t think an unbeliever can play either the role of Christ or the role of the Church in this model. . He/she doesn’t even know God yet, so how can he/she understand this union? In-fact, it’s not even for a believer with an immature faith. And never think that you can save an unbeliever by getting married to him/her. Marriage is not an evangelism voyage. An unbeliever and a believer don’t agree on the fundamental fabric of their being, therefore they will not walk in sync together.
“Can two walk together except they agree” (Amos 3:3)
Sisters, a moral man is not automatically a man of God. He is either a Christian or not. I always make a joke that if you get married to an unbeliever, be ready to have the Devil as your father-in-Law. He can come into your house at any time and disturb you as he likes.
2. Marriage is a Holy-Spirit directed activity. I think in this area , we haven’t learned. I see too many people hurrying to get married for no good reason. Perhaps maybe because culture presents marriage as a sort of achievement so everyone is hurrying to get their ‘medal’
3. One Church, One Christ means One Man and One woman. Anything apart from this is not Christian Marriage.
Marriage is a Ministry. It is a Calling. It is not a joke. Your Marriage is supposed to deliver a message. Marriage is not just for you to have a sex partner. Being in a relationship or being engaged is not to have someone to cuddle around on the streets. Oftentimes I see young people like myself wanting to get married and they don’t even understand these things, and I ask “why do you want to get married?” Just because your friends are getting into relationships, doesn’t mean you are matured enough to start one.
If many people who get married understand this truth deeply, we won’t have the issues of divorce or irresponsibility or break-ups as rampant as it is today. Both parties will understand that Jesus can never break-up from the Church. Jesus will always show His church care, love and affection. I have often said that Christian brothers are supposed to be the most loving and caring because we have experienced and understand God’s love more than un–believers.
We won’t have issues with love, respect and submission in marriage if we understand well enough the relationship between Christ and the Church. Paul continually uses this fact.
“For the Husband is the head of the Wife even as (just as) Christ is the head of the Church and He is the saviour of the body” (Eph. 5:23)
“Husbands, love your wives (seek the highest good for her and surround her with a caring, unselfish love) just as Christ loved the church, and gave himself for her” (Eph. 5:25 AMP)
“For no one ever hated his own body, but (instead) he nourishes and protects and cherishes it, just as Christ does the Church” (Eph. 5:29 AMP)
Notice: The comparison in this facet of marriage has always been “even as” or “just like” Christ and the Church. My simple advice for anyone planning to get into a relationship or marriage is that you should take time to study well enough the union between Christ and the Church because marriage is meant to show s this secret to everyone, both to unbelievers and believers.
Don’t Forget, the purpose of marriage is to show the union between the Church and Christ. It is a day-to-day illustration of display of the beautiful union between the Church and Christ played out by the lives of two believers.
Written by Samson Afolabi