A Christian Marriage
A Christian marriage is the union of a man and a woman together for life. But it is more than that. A Christian marriage is a joining of two people together in a union and covenant with God. Both the bride and groom promise to make Christ the center of their relationship, to remain faithful to one another, to continuously work to know, love, and obey Jesus, and, to follow Jesus’ example while exemplifying the love God has for them individually in the love they extend to one another. This is obviously a tall order! The example Jesus offers is best illustrated by a passage in Paul’s letter to the Philippians:
Philippians 2:5–8 (NIV84)
5Your attitude should be the same as that of Christ Jesus: 6Who, being in very nature God, did not consider equality with God something to be grasped, 7but made himself nothing, taking the very nature of a servant, being made in human likeness. 8And being found in appearance as a man, he humbled himself and became obedient to death— even death on a cross!
So Jesus, being God, made Himself nothing for us— even dying for us. If God is willing to become man, and die for us, should not we be willing at least to recognize what is actually true about our lowly, humble state? Should not we be willing to make some sacrifices for our spouse on Jesus’ behalf, if so instructed? Paul gave practical application in his letter to the Ephesians: “Submit to one another,” he said, “out of reverence for Christ.” (Ephesians 5:21) It is interesting to note here that, submitting to one’s spouse is, not optional— it’s commanded! Further, submission to one’s spouse is not to be understood as related to the behavior of one’s spouse. It would be inappropriate then to say, “I would submit to him were he to treat me better.” No. The Christian is commanded to submit to his/her spouse based solely on his/her reverence for Jesus, the Christ. In the following verses, Paul went on to detail how a man should serve his wife and how his wife should serve her husband; all of it relates back to Christ’s role as the sacrificial head of the church.
In most relationships, one gives to the relationship in proportion with what he or she is receiving from it. But, it is quite another thing to serve someone when he or she is being particularly difficult. Paul was calling believers to selflessly serve his or her spouse, regardless of the response. Imagine a relationship like that. Imagine two people dedicated to serving one another, no matter what. That is a relationship that cannot fail! That is a Christian Marriage!
In truth, we don’t see much of that. Most people who claim the name of Christ, do marriage pretty much like everyone else— consequently, they divorce at a rate that is virtually consistent with others as well. The reason: they haven’t put Christ at the center of their marriage, and they do not draw strength from their relationship with Christ.
If Christ is at the center of the marriage, and both the husband and wife are committed to growing closer to Christ, they will inevitably grow closer to each other. In the image above one can see an approximation of how this works. The closer the husband and wife get to Christ (at the center and apex of their marriage) the closer they will get to one another as they move up the sides of the triangle (Eph 5:23-30). Take Christ out, and all you have are two people in a tentative relationship trying to make things work. With Christ at the center, as a fundamental commitment, the husband and wife are inexorably linked— to betray the other is to betray Christ. Conversely, to live sacrificially for each other, drawing on the strength of God through Christ, is to reveal Christ and Lord.
Bottom line: the ability to stay the course in difficult times comes from a commitment to each other, a commitment to Christ, and the strength that God provides. When one lives in this close relationship with Christ, the strength of God is pervasive. In fact, the statistics show that Christian marrieds devoted to Christ (meeting certain criteria such as an agreement about fundamental doctrine, regular time alone with God, church attendance, etc) almost never divorce… the last survey I saw reflected less than a 1% divorce rate among such couples.
The Modern Marriage
Many a young couple has launched headlong into marriage, blinded by infatuation for one another, only to find how difficult marriage can be. Indeed, this is usually what happens. Maybe the most glaring difficulty in marriage is the proper appropriation of time spent together— enjoying one another. Prior to marriage, and usually early in the marriage, the couple spent hours together regularly focused on one another. However, the tendency in life is to accumulate responsibility over time; and there is an inverse relationship between responsibility and the availability of discretionary time. So, the longer couples spend together, ironically, often, the less time they have for one another.
This is where The discovery Game proves invaluable. The game provides a great way for infatuated, young, married couples to spend time together; but it is also a no-prep, no-expense way for busy, even exhausted, or troubled couples, to focus on each other. Do you want to experience marriage as God designed it to function? The discovery Game was purposed toward this end. Why not give it a try?