The Beauty of Marriage – A Mother’s Words to Her DaughterJump To Recipe
I asked my mom if she could write a devotional for my bridal shower about 4 months before our wedding. Her heart is so full of wisdom and biblical understanding, she is one of the most spiritual persons I know. My mom and dad have been married since 1981(over 39 years!) I hope you enjoy and glean from her wisdom about the beauty of marriage!
The Beauty of Marriage (from Eph 5:17-33)
Ephesians 5:31 says, For this reason a man shall leave his father and mother and shall be joined unto his wife and the two shall be one flesh. So what is the reason a man should leave and cleave and be one flesh?
Paul answers the question in verse 30 by referring back to Genesis 2:20-24 where Adam said regarding his wife: This is now bone of my bone and flesh of my flesh. And that was because she was made from his flesh- his rib. She was literally part of his body- the two were actually one flesh. So what this was implying is that in marriage God joins a couple together that there may be unity, harmony and love- complementing each other in service to God and family.
But the interesting thing is that Paul changes the quote in verse 30 to refer to our relationship with Christ. He says that we are members of Christ’s body- of His flesh and of His bones. Therefore, marriage is designed to be a union with Christ as well as a union with your spouse. A three fold cord which is not quickly broken. (Ecclesiastes 4:12)
Marriage then is a picture of Christ’s union with believers.
It follows that if you both cleave to the Lord and each other you will have a strong marriage. That’s why the bible says not to be unequally yoked with unbelievers. (2 Cor 6:14)
A second reason that God made them one flesh is in Mal 2:15. “Did He not make them one, having a remnant of the Spirit. And why one? He seeks godly offspring.”
The question is, “How may I cleave to the Lord that I may have a good marriage? Jesus best describes it in John 15:5 “I am the vine and you are the branches. He who abides in Me and I in him bears much fruit; for without Me you can do nothing.” We are like a branch that draws all our life from the vine. We produce nothing by self effort but as we stay close to Christ, His life in us produces the fruit. Verse 8 says this is how we glorify God- by producing much fruit-which God produces in us when we abide.
What does it mean to abide? The Greek word refers to maintaining unbroken fellowship with the Lord such as prayer, meditating on God’s word, singing, praise and thanksgiving. For example Psalm 1 says that those who meditate on the word day and night shall bring forth fruit in its season. 2 Corinthians 3:18 says that if we behold Christ in the light of the gospel, the Holy Spirit changes us little by little. And Romans 8:6 says that the spiritually minded will be filled with life and peace from God. 1 Peter 2:2 says that when we eagerly desire the word of God we will grow.
What is the fruit that God produces in us as we abide in Him?
- Love: This is unselfish love that gives expecting nothing in return. 1Cor 13:4-8
- Joy: This is joy that is not dependent on circumstances.
- Peace: tranquility of soul based on a saving relationship with the Lord Jesus Christ.
- Longsuffering: patient endurance with no thought of retaliation. Gentleness: Kindly disposition with tender concern for others.
- Goodness: Love in action- ready to do good.
- Faith: integrity, faithfulness and loyalty.
- Meekness: The Greek word conveys the idea of having a listening ear to what God has to say; it is not weakness but controlled strength, unselfishness and humility.
- Temperance: restraint, self control of passions and appetites. This is found in Gal 5:22-23. The word fruit is in the singular, meaning God produces one fruit in us with these nine characteristics as we abide in Him.
If you say, “I could never live this way”. This is true- you can’t but Christ can live this way in you as you abide in Him. God delights to show his strength in weak vessels 2 Cor 12. The reason Jesus used the metaphor of the vine and the branches was to show that fruit bearing is not a struggle but occurs naturally.
In Hosea 14:8 the Lord says, “From Me is thy fruit found. Jeremiah 17:8 describes the man who trusts in the Lord: “For he shall be like a tree planted by the waters, which spreads out its roots by the river, and will not fear when heat comes; but its leaf will be green, and will not be anxious in the year of drought, nor will cease from yielding fruit. Jesus even talked about the lilies of the field- they don’t toil or spin- that is they don’t struggle to produce beautiful flowers, they just grow naturally.
Secret to a Successful Marriage
This is true of successful marriages as well- A marriage will grow stronger and grow naturally by abiding in Christ. For example, statistics show that couples who pray together daily have less than a 1% chance of divorce. Yet less that 8% of Christian couples do this. A Tyndale House survey showed that 90% of frequent bible readers feel peace all or most of the time and report having a clear purpose for their life. Additionally, 81% say they are content all or most of the time, and the majority of frequent readers feel joy all or most of the time. But these results did not prove true for those who read the bible infrequently, because they were not abiding in the word. (Eph 5:18-21, Col 3:16)
In Luke 10 Mary was described as one who sat at Jesus’ feet and heard His word. “Heard” is from the Greek word meaning she was frequently listening to Jesus and understanding His word. (Wycliffe) Reading without understanding has little value.
When the Lord is central to your marriage, you learn not to expect perfection from your spouse, nor does he expect perfection from you. This is because our source of life and joy and fulfillment is in Jesus. God produces compassion in us. Because no matter how spiritual, we are all still frail creatures of dust and no human can meet all of our needs all of the time. We look to Jesus to meet our needs instead of blaming our spouse when he doesn’t. 2 Peter 1:3 says, “His divine power has given to us all things that pertain to life and godliness, through the knowledge of Him.