Every marriage is either Christian or idolatrous. Even two Christians may have an idolatrous marriage, although they may not know it
The difference between the Christian and the idolatrous is the difference between giving and demanding, enjoying and consuming, sharing and manipulating. This is the difference we see between humble gratitude and self-forgetful selfishness. But even a marriage traumatized by disproportionate expectations can be healed by awakening understanding. Any marriage can become a glorification of Christ and a source of life for both spouses.
Let’s take a look at two biblical perspectives on marriage that will allow us to find encouragement for each family.
The privilege of marriage
The privilege of marriage is that “a man will leave his father and mother and cleave to his wife, and they will both become one flesh” (Genesis 2:24).
The verse above is the biblical understanding of marriage, given to us at the dawn of humanity in the garden of Eden. “One flesh” is one man and one woman walking hand in hand through life, completely belonging to each other. This is the only such Union. Healthy friendships involve limitations, and marriage allows two people to open up to each other completely and without shame (see Genesis 2:25).
It is important to understand the glorious right to marry: when God drove Adam out of the garden of Eden, he did not take away his right to be married. And over the years, marriage has not become the equivalent of an extra finger-thousands of years after creation, Jesus still calls our imperfect and broken marriage sacred and unbreakable (see Matthew 19: 3-6).
Thus, marriage is a reminder, a remnant, a piece of the Paradise that was given to us in the garden of Eden. Within the Union of one flesh, which includes only you and your spouse, you are allowed to create something beautiful that will become a witness of Christ and Paradise to the rest of the world.
How to come to this, given the everyday life and fatigue accumulated over the years of living together? The answer to this question is found in the second biblical view of marriage.
John 1: 4 says ,” in Him was life, and the life was light to men.” The life we all crave – not yourself, not your husband or wife. It is only in Christ.
The life of Christ is the light that sanctifies our gloomy existence. His life is more than just power: it awakens us to hope, wisdom, and longing. In Christ, we cease to exist on the verge of death and live fully. In Christ, we stop wandering and see the world around us. Because that’s what Christ is.
When we believe that He is our life and open ourselves to Him, our marriage begins to change. We no longer love our spouse above all else – which is not really love, but idolatry – but rather cultivate our love for Christ more and more. And as a result, we love our spouse… better.
His love is in her
Your “other half” is not your life and light, because it is simply not given to them. The wonderful person you married is secondary, and just like you, created, dependent on God, dependent on people, and easily fatigued.
Only Jesus Christ is primary, only he is independent of anything, free, powerful – not at all like you put together. When two sinners enter into the Union of one flesh and together strengthen this Union with God, then they become more tolerant of each other, more grateful to God, and by their marriage illustrate Paradise as God intended It.
When I embrace my wife, the love I feel doesn’t just come from her – it’s the love of God himself through her. And the fact that God’s love for me comes to me through a person does not make this love any less divine – it is still the same love from God, and thanks to it, I seem to see my wife in a new way.
Her love is God’s gift of life, which is given to me every minute, and the light that flows to me from everywhere. But this is a gift I would never have known if love only began and ended with a person. When I pass this understanding through my mind and through my heart, then I love my wife more and glorify God even more sincerely, I feel like I’m in that primeval Paradise.
The main thing comes first
Christ himself not only sanctifies our marriage, but also protects it from the habits of idolatry.
When I remind myself that Christ alone is the source of life and light, I do not demand it of my wife. And I see our life together as a glorious miracle of the constant presence of Jesus Christ. Our imperfections most clearly show that we are only worth Them.
Christian marriage is not just a Union of two Christians. Christian marriage is the Union of two people who turn to Christ for help. It’s not the skill set that will save him – although skills are useful everywhere, even in Cycling. Christian marriage is an established habit of constantly seeking God with the eyes of faith, practiced jointly by both spouses. Such a marriage is the joy of two people that God is among us, that he has given us life and light to overcome the darkness.
I will end my story with the words of Clive Lewis: “When I learn to love God more than anyone else on earth, then I will be able to love my own people on earth better than I can now. When the main thing comes first, the secondary does not disappear, but increases as it should.”