As I officiated my daughter’s wedding a couple of weeks ago, many thoughts passed through my mind. I took the time to contemplate the meaning of marriage, its symbolism, and why I think it is so important. I spoke on a few of these things in the service.
Several years ago I ‘borrowed’ a sermon series idea from John Piper about how staying married isn’t about staying in love. It is a GREAT study on the meaning of the covenant bond of matrimony. This season in my life has me thinking about it again.
Marriage is beautiful. I know some of you may have had terrible marriage experiences, and maybe you’re in that season as you read this, but let me encourage you if I can.
First, read that article by John Piper. Second, read this article by Richard Beck about what marriage is supposed to look like when there is disagreement. Since I don’t have a ton of confidence that you will do either, let me summarize.
Piper paints a wonderful picture of the importance of marriage and how its very nature is to reflect the covenant relationship between the Bridegroom (Jesus) and the Bride (the church). It is a relationship based on covenant, not emotion; on declaration, not whimsy.
Beck discusses how marriage, and more specifically conflict resolution in it, isn’t about the husband finally having that “Biblical right of the last word.” In fact, if you got married so you could pull the trump card (no relation) and make final decisions, Beck would assert that you are seeking and living a completely worldly view of marriage, and I would agree.
We are called to mutual submission to one another, and while one is called to be the head and spiritual lead in the home, don’t lose sight of what that means and how that is played out. Being the spiritual leader means spending far more time on the floor washing feet than, dying to self and serving than it does standing in the gates proclaiming truth and virtue.
If you and your spouse are in a stalemate, look around and see when was the last time you washed the other’s feet. It’s hard to demand your position from down there. Frankly, it’s hard to even see your position from down there. What’s more, as the other attempts to do the same, you may find yourself staring eye to eye on the floor, weeping over your own selfishness.
If ever there were an attack on something in our culture there is a full frontal assault on the marriage relationship. Not because our enemy knows it to be the foundation of our ordered society, not because broken homes are statistically more inclined to fall into sin or other vices, but because it is the clearest picture of the thing he hates most: Jesus’ love and death for a wicked and broken creation.
Satan will do anything to pervert, destroy, undermine, and totally destroy this glorious picture of Jesus’ love for you and me. Don’t give him that satisfaction. Fight for your picture of God’s love. Fight for your marriage. Fight by kneeling, washing, dying to self, living to God.
If you want to pass on a legacy of greatness to your children, love your spouse well. If you are out there on the brink of marital destruction, or maybe you’re just irritated and frustrated. Bend down, grab a towel, and wash some grimy feet.
Your marriage, and the good news it represents, is more important than being right; more important than you.