Marriage: it’s heady stuff, y’all.
Get this: God created the relationship between a husband and wife, and then declared that it is the closest earthly equivalent to the relationship between Himself and His Church. God Himself!
And then, for some reason that I don’t understand, God permits sinful people like Greg and me to enter into this holy relationship, to be a bride and bridegroom like The Church is the Bride and Christ Himself is the Bridegroom.
I was riding my bike in a totally floored state about all of this yesterday, talking to God while I rode.
“God, you’re letting – no, encouraging – Greg and me into a relationship that prefigures that between Jesus and the Church?”
“Me? With Greg? I am seriously twisted inside. Seriously. I really, really don’t deserve him. And I certainly shouldn’t be permitted to echo the role of your Church. I mean, do you even know me?”
Yes, my child. Better than you know yourself.
That shut me up.
I realized later that my feeling of being utterly inadequate and undeserving, and yet still getting to spend the rest of my life with someone as wonderful as Greg is exactly the point. While the Church deserved nothing more than death, her Bridegroom Christ died for her to make her pure. She got what she did not deserve. Wow.
And then (as if this weren’t enough), on Greg’s side, Paul tells husbands to love their wives like Christ loved the Church. How did He love the Church? He “gave himself up for her, that he might sanctify her, having cleansed her by the washing of water with the word, so that he might present the church to himself in splendor … that she might be holy” (Ephesians 5:26-27, emphasis mine).
I can’t quite think of a command stiffer than that. By God’s great grace, I have a man who is walking this path.
That’s the key, though, isn’t it? Grace. Grace and mercy. The only thing that can support such a high view of marriage as foreshadowing Jesus’ marriage with the Church is God’s great mercy and grace. His mercy allows Greg and me to grant one another mercy when we fall, and His grace will keep us ever-journeying towards a better marriage, until one day we both stand before Christ at the great Wedding feast.
I also know that I, as of yet, have no clue what I’m talking about. So there you go.