What is Marriage?

By Maurice W Armstrong  |   Submitted On April 22, 2017

1. Marriage is, and always will be the union of a man and a woman, in a holy covenant as established by God. (Genesis 2:18-25) Any alterations of this divine concept will result in confusion and gross abnormalities.
(A covenant is a two-way commitment to the promises made–sealed by a vow.)

2. In marriage, the husband is to the wife, what Christ is to the church, and the wife is to her husband, what the Church is to Christ. The mystery of Christ and the Church is revealed in marriage. (The church is his bride.)
3. Marriage is that divine crucible into which two people may enter, and by a series of humbling, God ordained transformations become one with each other.
Ephesians 5:31 says, “They two shall be one flesh.”
Contrary to popular belief, you cannot become one with your spouse while maintaining your individuality. We and us must replace I and me.
Indeed, any two people can have a wedding, but it will take more than lips and hips, six-pack abs. or six-figure incomes, to have a marriage. Be warned-the emotional and physical demands are far greater than butterfly romance and tantric sex. “O for a closer walk with God” is going to be the deep desire of everyone who dares to walk to the altar and vows “I do.”
The ceremony may sometimes last a few hours, and cost a few thousand dollars, but the marriage is meant for life and will cost more than most couples are willing to spend. The cost of marriage is far more than the proverbial arm and a leg, it’s a total sacrifice. Not a matching 50/50, but each spouses committing one hundred percent.
4. Marriage and Christ-likeness are synonymous. Marriage demands that a man must love his wife to the measure of Christ love for the church.
To love like Christ you need the indwelling of the Holy Spirit. If you abide in me and my words abide in you, you can ask what you will and it will be done… (St John 15:7). “To Err is human but, to Love is divine.”
5. Marriage has no I did, or I will, only–I do. Yesterday is past. Tomorrow holds no promises. Every day from that memorable moment at the altar, each spouse must continually say to the other–I do. Therefore, the foundation and strength of a marriage cannot be based on the initial attractions or the honeymoon experiences. Changes in physical appearances, finances, health and many other issues will occur–so that, some of the exciting things you shared during the courtship may not be practical in the marriage.
There’s a greater purpose for commitment–the promises made by the vow in the covenant.
“To have and to hold–I do
To love and to cherish–I do
In sickness or health–I do
For richer or poorer–I do.
For better or for worse–I do
Till death do us path–I do.
Each statement of promise is lived out every day.
It doesn’t matter how you feel–I do.
Even when you don’t feel anything–I do.
When you’re unhappy with each other–I do.
Regardless of the circumstances–I do
Every day should be a new day–a new beginning, for, all you’ll ever have is the boldness of now–today. So, over and over and over again, I must be willing to do until all that I do is because of all that I’m becoming. Daily sacrificing while progressively reconciling all accounts, until one plus one equals one.
Following the Pattern: Walking.
For even hereunto were ye called: because Christ also suffered for us, leaving us an example, that we should follow in his steps. (1 Peter 2:21)
When Moses was about to build the tabernacle in the wilderness. God said– “Do all things according to the pattern showed thee in the mount.” Numbers 8:4, Exodus 25:40, Hebrews 8:5. Moses obeyed God.
Likewise, in marriage, we cannot deviate from the God-ordained pattern stipulated in Ephesians 5:21-33.
1. Submitting yourselves one to another in the fear of God. Verse 21.
2. Wives submit yourselves unto your own husbands as unto the Lord. Verse 22.
3. As the Church is subject to Christ, so let the wives be to their own husbands in everything. Verse 23.
4. For the husband is the head of the wife, even as Christ is the head of the church… Verse 23.
5. Husbands love your wives even as Christ loved the church, and gave himself for it. Verse 25
To ignore these instructions is to guarantee a failed marriage or even divorce. The statistics are a clear indicator of how far we’ve strayed away from the biblical precepts. None of our fig-leave efforts can or will ever be successful.
The answer to our marriage problems is not counseling, but a willingness to return to the word of God, and simply–do whatsoever he says.
It was Mary the mother of Jesus who–at the wedding feast in Cana, admonished his disciples “Whatsoever he saith unto you, do it.” The results were miraculous-Jesus turned water into wine. If we would learn to obey the word of God, that which seems impossible can very well be possible.
Marriage is not complicated as many would have us to believe. Jesus said, “My yolk is easy and my burden lite.” However, complex issues do arise, and times can get difficult, but, that’s when we draw closer to God. He makes all things work together for our good, as we continue to love him. The Bible says,” We walk by faith and not by sight.” (2 Corinthians 5:7) Meaning… there are times when we’ll have no clue as to what to do, or where to go; when all our senses are screaming give up–It’s over–walk away. But, it’s in those times you keep walking, even though it’s dark, it hurts, and the pain is unbearable. Like Job in the Bible, you and I must learn to trust God, even when we feel forsaken, cast down, despised and even rejected.
The Bible says we must walk– by faith.
Walking is a natural, step by step physical activity most of us were able to master by age two. Similarly, we can all learn the discipline of walking by faith-step, by step, by step. Simply follow the Instructions.
From my book: As Christ Loves the Church.
Maurice W. Armstrong– Writer, Pastor/Teacher. Husband.