Why Is Marriage So Challenging | By Robert Peterson

Did you know that marriage is a living metaphor of the gospel?

Christ died to redeem the church, to bring her into a saving relationship with the Father. We talk a lot about Jesus making that sacrifice, giving his life to pay the price for our mistakes, our sins that separate us from God. That is the big penalty of sin; it drives us away from God, away from the creator, who made us to be in relationship with Him. The breaking of our relationship with the Father brings death. Jesus brings life, by grace we are saved and not by anything we do, but by what he has done for us.

The gospel is a big deal. It is central to all that we do as followers of Christ and like Paul reminds us, if the gospel isn’t true, if Jesus didn’t rise from the dead, then our faith is in vain (1 Corinthians 15:14)

Paul tells us that marriage is a living metaphor of the gospel.

In an often abused and misused scripture Paul tells us:

Wives, be subject to your own husbands, as to the Lord. For the husband is the head of the wife, as Christ also is the head of the church, He Himself being the Savior of the body. But as the church is subject to Christ, so also the wives ought to be to their husbands in everything. Ephesians 5:22-24

Sounds like a mandate for power and control. The husband is the boss and the wife must submit to his demands, she is his subject. Her obedience is tied to her faithfulness; to her husband and to Christ.

It is sad to me how easily these biblical truths are twisted to fit our cultural norms. Power and control are worldly concepts and only lead to abuse. In Christ there is no power and control, it all belongs to the Father. If we are obeying Christ, we love the Lord with all of our heart all of our mind and all of our strength. Our living should be in an effort to please Him.

It is disappointing to me to read about the breakdowns in our culture. Men abusing women, in the workplace, in relationships, and even in the home. It is sad to me that these same behaviors are prevalent among Christian men and even in their marriages because they fail to see their role in terms of the gospel.

Paul continues in Ephesians:

Husbands, love your wives, just as Christ also loved the church and gave Himself up for her, so that He might sanctify her, having cleansed her by the washing of water with the word, that He might present to Himself the church in all her glory, having no spot or wrinkle or any such thing; but that she would be holy and blameless. So husbands ought also to love their own wives as their own bodies. He who loves his own wife loves himself. Ephesians 5:25-28

Love your wife as Christ loved the church and gave himself up for her.

Marriage is not about power and control; it is about love and sacrifice.

In my experience, it is women who are sacrificial in their love, willing to give up their choices for their husband and their children. Yet God’s word directs the husbands to be sacrificial, to give up their lives for their wives.

Love is about choices, and more specifically, how we make those choices. Our relationship with the Father should direct our choices and our marriage should direct our choices. In the world where sin dictates, selfishness drives most decisions.

A biblical marriage is one where choices are made sacrificially, giving up what one wants for the sake of the other. It is the man’s responsibility to lead in that. This is hard. Our first reaction as men is to defend ourselves by claiming that we work hard, making a living to support our families, but that is not the sacrifice that Paul is speaking of, especially in a day and age when women are supporting the household in equal capacity.

Giving up our life, as Christ gave up his.

Marriage is challenging, because in Christ, it represents the gospel, and Satan is doing all he can to destroy the gospel.

So I’ll leave you with these questions. How are you living sacrificially in your marriage? How does your marriage demonstrate the gospel to others?

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