What is marriage?
I’ve been thinking and reading about this question.
Ephesians 5 gives us the picture of what marriage should look like – how men and women – husbands and wives are to live with one another.
“Husbands, love your wives, just as Christ loved the church and gave himself up for her” -Ephesians 5:25
We get this picture of servanthood. It’s basically saying, “Just as Jesus did, do that.” As Jesus sacrificed himself for us, we serve and sacrifice ourselves for our spouse when we are married.
And then it clicks – marriage itself is ministry.
We think of going on a trip, serving the poor, helping the elderly, participating in Bible studies, praying for others – that’s ministry. Not marriage.
It is pretty easy to think marriage is about us – all about how perfect they will be, what they can give emotionally and physically, the value and worth they will provide us.
But it’s not about us.
When we get married – our spouse is our number one ministry.
As a man, that means my calling is to sacrifice for her, serve her, support her. Pray for her, encourage her, protect her, give her my whole heart. To be there for her emotionally and physically. To work hard so I can buy things for her, and provide what she needs.
And it’s done out of joy – of love.
Marriage is about selflessness, sacrifice, surrender. And when you think about it, that’s what ministry is too.
As powerful as those things are when we capture that vision and it changes our heart and life, it’s powerful because Jesus first demonstrated this ministry – this love – to us.
Jesus died, not because we were or are so awesome, but simply because He loves us.
No cost was too great for God.
He gave everything – His own Son – for us. Not because we could give him anything, but because He wanted to give us something we could not have on our own. Let’s face it, we are pretty ugly without Him. But still, Jesus sacrificed for us.
I want to be married someday. But for too long I had it all about me. Selfishness was in my heart, even though on the outside I acted “Christian.” Music, movies, the internet, all the voices that I listened to largely reinforced that selfish attitude of relationships.
But we were created for sacrifice – for selflessness – for ministry.
Relationships are ministry.
If we are surrendered to Jesus – our hearts are in the place where we can minister (surrender) to our spouse – and reflect Jesus’ love to the world that needs to see Him.