by Julie Bruce
The best example we have of a perfect relationship is found in the Trinity: God the Father, God the Son, and God the Holy Spirit. Within the Trinity we see tenderness, compassion, mercy, being open and transparent, demonstrating goodness towards the others, sacrificial love, perfect communication, being honest and truthful, righteousness, perfect knowledge and understanding of each other, being reliable and faithful, working together to accomplish a goal/task, and voluntary subordination. Do those traits sound like a perfect marriage to you? Look back through that list and identify the characteristics that are true for your relationship with your spouse.
God intended for us to have many of these same characteristics. However, because of the fall and sin of man, a relationship with all these characteristics is only possible with God. When a Christian man and Christian woman join together in marriage, they are also united by God into “one flesh.”
This is why a man leaves his father and mother and bonds with his wife and they become one flesh . Genesis 2:24 (HSCB)
The unity between God, the Husband and the wife starts in the marriage covenant. The word “Covenant means “a coming together.” It carries the idea of “cleaving,” or sticking together like Super Glue. It is an eternal commitment with God. This covenant is intended by God to be a lifelong relationship between a man and a woman. Marriage is a vow to God, to each other, our families and our community to remain steadfast in unconditional love. While some couples choose to write their own marriage vows, the traditional marriage vows state:
“I,___________________ , take thee,________________ , to be my wedded husband/wife, to have and to hold, from this day forward, for better, for worse, for richer, for poorer, in sickness and in health, to love and to cherish, till death do us part, according to God’s holy ordinance; and thereto I pledge thee my faith [or] pledge myself to you.”
In the vow above, fill in the your name after the word “I” and your spouse name after “take thee.” In what parts of life did we vow to hold on to each other through? Isn’t it better to have someone to hold on to through these things to be alone through them?
How long are you to love and to cherish? How long are you to “have and to hold?”
The vows that you said to each other on your wedding day was your covenant to God. A covenant is not a “contact.” Contracts are based on protection and mistrust. They are enforceable by law. They have loop holes and exist clauses. People can negotiate out of contracts, but not a covenant. Contracts are centered on protecting your rights. God never made a contract in the Bible. He always made covenants. Your covenant between God, you and your spouse was “until death do us part.” Look at some of the differences between a contact and a covenant. Which side would you rather your marriage be like?
|A Contract Says…||A Covenant Says…|
|I take thee for me||I give myself to thee|
|You had better do it!||How may I serve you?|
|What do I get?||What can I give?|
|I’ll meet you halfway.||I’ll give you 100% plus.|
|I have to||I want to.|
It is in the covenant itself that God has outlined the basic ways for husbands and wives to live out their lives to make marriage work. God instructs that the husband is the head over his wife. He is both to lead her and tenderly care for her. The wife obeys God by subjecting herself to her husband. As his faithful teammate, she aims to make him successful. A spirit of unity will develop as these major roles for the husband and wife are applied in their marriage. As they do, the husband and wife will begin to function as one.
Look at Anna’s triangle. You’ll notice first that it demonstrates the Biblical relationship God intended for marriage. God (or Jesus in her diagram), is the head over all, so He is at the top. God chose the man to be the head of the wife and he is at the bottom left of the triangle. The wife is his helpmate and she is on the bottom right corner. While both the husband and the wife have individual relationships with God, they should also have a close relation ship with each other. The arrows on the side indicate their relationship to God while the bottom arrow represent their relationship to each other.
What happens when the man and woman move up the triangle? As they move up, they get closer to whom?
As they get closer to God they also get closer to each other.
This means that a vital part of the relationship between the husband and wife is their individual relationship with God. What would happen if the wife is growing closer to God but the husband is not? The triangle’s shape gets out of balance. Therefore it is important that both the husband and wife are growing together in their spiritual walk with God. Individual time with God is important, but the couple also needs to have a time where they are praying together daily, seeking God’s will for their lives, family, and marriage.
What does your marriage triangle look like? Are the two of your growing closer to God and closer to each other? Are you both still at the bottom and getting no where closer to God? Is one of you move up, but not the other, creating a lopsided triangle? What do you need to do today to begin moving up the triangle together?