On Sunday 30th of November, Molly and I will have been husband and wife for 1 year. That is 365 days since we stood on the platform at BPCC, held hands, exchanged vows, kissed one another, and entered into a binding covenant before God and our friends and family. And as I reflect on the days since that wonderful day, I feel incredibly grateful and incredibly determined.
I feel incredibly grateful to God for the gift of marriage. The Bible says something very interesting about marriage: “Let marriage be held in honour by all” (Hebrews 13:4). Now, parenthood is a wonderful thing, and friendship is a wonderful thing, but the Bible does not say, “Let parenthood or friendship be held in honour by all.” This honourific position is reserved for marriage. Why?
The end of the Bible answers our question.
You see, the Bible begins with a wedding (Genesis 2); God gives Eve to Adam (v.22), but it also ends with a wedding (Revelation 21); God gives the redeemed human race to His Son (v.21). So marriage, uniquely among all human relationships, shows us something about the boundless love and endless joy that we shall experience in relationship to God forever. Marriage is not simply a more intense version of other relationships, it is a different kind of relationship all together. Marriage is a picture of the depth, intimacy and intensity with which God loves His people.
And as I have begun to understand this purpose of marriage it has impacted how I think about my marriage. This is why, as I think about the days since our big day, I feel incredibly determined. I am determined to prove to Molly, every single day, that I love her. Not so much in ostentatious displays of romance, or expensive gifts, as great as they are, but rather in my everyday words and actions. This is my greatest responsibility as a husband. Paul says in Ephesians 5: “Husbands, love your wives, just as Christ loved the church and gave himself up for her…” (v.25). It is my responsibility and joy to ensure that Molly never has to wonder if I love her, that she never has to doubt my affection for her.
You see, when I look at the cross, I don’t doubt God’s love for me. I see God’s love for me! So, in the same way that Christ has loved me, I want to love Molly. And this is hard work. Ask Molly, I have failed more than I have succeeded in this area, and that is why I need grace. But it is gloriously hard work because it is only in the security, acceptance and tenderness of Christ-like love that a marriage will flourish.
“Husbands, love your wives, just as Christ loved the church and gave himself up for her to make her holy, cleansing her by the washing with water through the word” (Ephesians 5:25-26).