I was given a task to answer the question: what does marriage means to me?
Not that I given this topic much thought as I wasn’t in a relationship or never really thought about marriage (or at least thought about it seriously). I always find it fascinating that marriage was already define in second chapter of Genesis. It is after the creation story and right after God create man and woman. It is almost as a high priority in God’s eyes to put marriage as a relationship between man and woman.
So here’s my thoughts. I thought it was rather Biblical (at least my interpretation of marriage). Of course I would and could share more and dig through other passages…but I was given a 500 word limit.
It’s also interesting to note that it has little in similarity with the marriage we know as of today. With the wedding bells, the ceremony, the glitter and glamour of the event, focus on financial (car, house, living expenses etc.)….my definition is probably not the most romantic and probably won’t sweep someone’s off her feet. But if it does attract someone, then she and I have something in common :O))
It is interesting to note that the author of Genesis put not only the origin of human in the beginning of the Bible, he also include marriage right after it. In fact, if we take a look at the story of creation in Genesis 2, we can see that the story of creation and marriage is one story (Genesis 2:4-25). Right after God created woman by taking a rib from Adam, the man said:
“This is now bone of my bones, and flesh of my flesh; She shall be called Woman, because she was taken out of Man” (Genesis 2:23 NASB).
The author then use verse 23 to explain why man shall leave his father and his mother and be joined to his wife to become one flesh (verse 24).
When I think about marriage and all that it contains; the wedding, bearing a family, living with one together, cry and laugh with one another, the purpose of marriage goes back to what Adam said. There’s such closeness between husband and wife that they will be as close as to bones and flesh.
This is also the same description how Paul instructed the husbands in Ephesians 5:28-30. The husband is to treat his wife as if she is his own body and flesh (like bones and flesh). In NASB translation, he is to ‘nourish and cherishes’ (verse 29b) his wife, just as Christ does to the church.
When I read the passage about the roles of husband and wife in chapter 5 of Ephesians, specifically from verse 23 till the end of the chapter, Paul first instructed the husbands their role is to be “the head of his wife, as Christ also is the head of the church.” Though the passage is talking about role of husband to take care of his wife, Paul is also interchangeably using the same analogy and one-ness of husband and wife to describe the Church and Christ.
The husband is the head of the wife (just as Christ is the head of the church). Husband is to love his wife, just as Christ loves the church (verse 24). Plus, the husband ought to sanctify her with the Word. There’s an Old Testament sacrificial imagery from using water to cleanse and purify the wife and so to present the wife as no spot, or wrinkle and be holy and blameless (verse 27).
The role of the he husband is the spiritual leader in the household and in marriage. He first has to know the Word so he can help his wife grows toward the Lord. I heard from a friend’s wedding that the groom told in front of the congregation that it is his job to help his bride love God more than him. This is as close as cleansing and sanctifying a husband can do. The husband ought to help the wife loves Christ more than him.
Lastly, back to the Genesis 2, the reason why Eve was created was because Adam needs a suitable helper. The purpose of the marriage is for the husband and wife to help and encourage one another. They are to support one another in doing the Lord’s work. Just as in Ephesian 5, the Lord lays His life for the church, that’s the sacrificial love that the husband ought to bear for his wife.