The Symbolism of Marriage

“Our weekly article in the Northport Gazette and the West Alabama Gazette”.

Watering the Tulips


“"For this reason a man shall leave his father and mother and be joined to his wife, and the two shall become one flesh. This is a great mystery, but I speak concerning Christ and the church.” (Ephesians 5:31-32)

Many have never considered the seriousness of marriage. Sadly, our nation places little value on marriage relationships today. But, God takes it seriously.

Outside of the relationship between Christ and the believer, nothing is more wonderful than a healthy marriage. It takes a bit of effort, however, to make a marriage successful. Love is not enough – it takes more. It takes a willingness to do what God has called us to do. To be a faithful spouse, you must be a faithful child of God first.

All that said, what is the purpose of marriage? Most today would say the purpose of marriage is, perhaps, to procreate; or for companionship; or merely for love. But, none of these are correct. The primary purpose of marriage is seen in our text as well as the entire passage. In almost every sentence, a reference is made to Christ’s relationship to His Bride, the church. The primary purpose of marriage is to properly represent this relationship. Have you ever considered this? If you are married, your marriage is supposed to be a symbol of Christ’s relationship to His Bride. How does it add up?

The relationship between Christ and His church is founded on grace. It is built on mercy, longsuffering and love. No human marriage can work until both spouses desire to properly represent Jesus and His Bride in their marriage. Marriages must be founded on these same principles.

Have you ever wondered why God hates divorce (Malachi 2:16) so bad? Consider the relationship between Christ and His Bride. Will it ever be severed? Absolutely not! The church is the Bride of Christ and will one day soon be married to her Husband (II Corinthians 11:2). When marriages are dissolved through divorce, the symbolism is destroyed. God did not design marriage for divorce (Matthew 19:8).

Today, many people fall out of love. Many believe this is a reason for divorce. But, love is not the primary reason to stay together. Don’t misunderstand; marriages should be full of love. That’s the ideal way. But, that is not the primary reason to remain married. The chief reason a marriage should not be broken is to maintain the proper symbolism of Christ and His Bride. Does that not, then, make it more important than most today have ever considered?

If you have successful marriage, thank the Lord. If you have never considered the seriousness of marriage, hopefully this short lesson will give you pause. The relationship between a husband and wife should perfectly picture the relationship of Christ and His Bride. Pray that God will enable us all to work together in the grace of God.

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