The Marriage Goal
My husband and I were going over this passage the other day with a couple. You know it, and if you don’t, you’ve heard of it. But I am not going to talk about wives submitting to their husbands, if that is what you are gearing up for. I am going to talk about verse 26. I will let you read it, and soak it in.
Wives, submit to your own husbands, as to the Lord. 23 For the husband is the head of the wife even as Christ is the head of the church, his body, and is himself its Savior. 24 Now as the church submits to Christ, so also wives should submit in everything to their husbands. 25 Husbands, love your wives, as Christ loved the church and gave himself up for her, 26 that he might sanctify her, having cleansed her by ithe washing of water with the word, 27 so that he might present the church to himself in splendor, without spot or wrinkle or any such thing, that she might be holy and without blemish. 28 In the same way husbands should love their wives as their own bodies. He who loves his wife loves himself. 29 For no one ever hated his own flesh, but nourishes and cherishes it, just as Christ does the church, 30 because we are members of his body. 31 “Therefore a man shall leave his father and mother and hold fast to his wife, and the two shall become one flesh.” 32 This mystery is profound, and I am saying that it refers to Christ and the church. 33 However, let each one of you love his wife as himself, and let the wife see that she rrespects her husband. Ephesians 5:22-33 (ESV)
Here is another way of putting it (NLT):
For husbands, this means love your wives, just as Christ loved the church. He gave up his life for her 26to make her holy and clean, washed by the cleansing of God’s word. 27He did this to present her to himself as a glorious church without a spot or wrinkle or any other blemish. Instead, she will be holy and without fault.
In this passage, we see Christ as the example, giving up his life to make the church pure, and holy, and right. Reading through this passage, I had a lightbulb moment. It made me realize what The Goal was. You know, the reason we go through this messy, wonderful thing called marriage together. We are to give up our lives for the other’s sanctification. Now that is a mouth full! When the bible talks about sanctification, what it means is becoming more holy (now we all learned our one thing for the day, and it’s not even lunch! Bonus!).
In your marriage, what are you sacrificing for the other person? How are you loving them towards Christ? How are you helping the other person become more Godly, more Christ like? Our goal is not to be happy, or satisfied, or fulfilled in our spouse. That’s a void only our savior can fill. The goal is to lay down our lives for each other, pointing the other towards Christ.
Lord, make your word vibrant and fresh in our eyes. We know your word is holy and good, applicable to our lives today. Make us realize The Goal; set our eyes on you. Show us ways to love our spouses, pointing them always towards you. Convict us where need be, and sanctify us. Give us the courage to love our spouses sacrificially, always in order to help them become more Christ-like. Let us be a light in the darkness of this world. Use us mightily.