Ah, Valentine’s Day! Today is the day you share your love with that special someone. Now, while I am currently single and unmarried, I do have the hope, if the Lord wills, to one day be married. Thus, as I look to the future and ponder what marriage is, I cannot but be disturbed by our culture and what they have done with marriage and love. Love seems to be a term used much, yet poorly defined, if at all (but that is the subject for another post coming later this month). What I would like to focus on is this false sense of your spouse being the person “who completes you”. This idea lies on a faulty foundation and a misunderstanding of marriage. If a man is looking for a wife to complete him, then he must realize there is emptiness in his life. Yet, to think marriage will fill that hole completely is unrealistic. Don’t miss what I am saying here: Marriage is a good thing. Indeed, God Himself said it was not good for man to be alone (Genesis 2:18). So, I affirm marriage because it is good, but marriage is not ultimate. In a marriage relationship, there will be disappointments, there will be arguments, and there will be hurt. That is because marriage is a unique relationship between two sinners. They will sin against one another and need to ask for forgiveness and grace. Two sinners cannot complete each other; only God can bring true fulfillment and completion through the gospel. Marriage is not meant to complete but to reflect. Genesis 2:24 says, “Therefore a man shall leave his father and his mother and hold fast to his wife, and they shall become one flesh”. This verse from the beginning pages of Scripture is referenced in the letter of Paul to the Ephesians. In chapter 5 he says,
“Wives, submit to your husbands, as to the Lord. For the husband is the head of the wife as Christ is the head of the church, his body, and is himself its Savior. Now as the church submits to Christ, so also wives should submit in everything to their husbands.
Husbands, love your wives, as Christ loved the church and gave himself up for her, that he might sanctify her, having cleansed her by the washing of water with the word, so that he might present the church to himself in splendor, without spot or wrinkle or any such thing, that she might be holy and without blemish. In the same way husbands should love their wives as their own bodies. He who loves his wife loves himself. For no one ever hated his own flesh, but nourishes and cherishes it, just as Christ does the church, because we are members of his body. “Therefore a man shall leave his father and mother and hold fast to his wife and the two shall become one flesh.” This mystery is profound, and I am saying it refers to Christ and the church. However, let each one of you love his wife as himself, and let the wife see she respects her husband. (vv. 22-33)
Essentially, what Paul is saying here is that marriage is a picture of the gospel. Marriage is the mystery in which we are called to reflect Christ and the church. As the husband loves his wife with a sacrificial, sanctifying, selfless love, the wife willingly submits to her husband because she knows it is for their good and God’s glory. Marriage is a picture and reflection of the gospel. In fact, Dr. Hershael York says the marriage relationship is the greatest evangelism tool we have. If we reflect Christ and the church as the Scripture calls us to, people will see something distinct and different in us and will want to know what the secret is to the love and adoration for one another. The conversation toward the gospel, then, is started.
Therefore, when I pray for and think about my future wife and our marriage, I am not looking for someone to complete me; I am praying for someone I can reflect Christ and the church with.
Photo Source: http://connect2orange.org/gather/weddings/