Updated: May 12, 2020
Ephesians 5:31-32 “For this reason a man will leave his father and mother and be united to his wife, and the two will become one flesh.” This is a profound mystery—but I am talking about Christ and the church.
Tomorrow marks two years of marriage for my Jeffery and me. Two years is a blink of an eye but one thing is for sure…two years is just the right amount of time to speak with absolute certainty about the one to whom I’ve vowed forever.
For the past week I have been reflecting on our marriage in light of Ephesians 5:31-32. How does our marriage reflect Christ and His Church? If His goal for us is to love our spouse in a way that reflects His love to the whole world this is a question that has tremendous significance to me, especially now. Like many of you, we’ve hunkered down together in quarantine the past two months. Now, more than ever, nothing is hidden. Everything that is in our hearts is openly displayed on a daily basis.
As a counselor I have lost count of the times I have ruminated with clients over the importance of marrying the person you want to be in isolation with. In this Coronavirus crisis, recent statistics reveal skyrocketing inquiries to divorce attorneys and a dramatic upsurge in separation filings. What is my response? Am I metaphorically crossing my fingers hoping it won’t happen to us or am I actively, prayerfully pressing in to Jesus to receive all He promises to give me so I can live and love for His Glory?
Personally, I have never been more sure of the “I do” I promised to my beloved on May 12, 2018. If one thing has been revealed to me in the past two years and unequivocally confirmed in the past two months; I married a man who loves me like Jesus does. More importantly, he serves as an example for me of how I am to love others on a daily basis.
My reflections first took me back to our courtship, yes, you read that right, our courtship. We never dated. Jeff was too intentional for dating. He was never casual about me. He never played games and he never wavered from his commitment to know me, all of me. While we were still very “new” he wrote to tell me that he had cut off communication with the other women he had been getting to know. “You are very special Kerri, I want to put all of my free time and energy into us, I want to invest only in you. I don’t want to get to know anyone else, I want to know you. I choose you. I don’t expect you to do the same, I just want you to know where I stand and how I feel about you.” I remember how it rocked my world when he so fearlessly spoke these words so early in our relationship. Never had I felt more valuable, seen, desired or pursued. Never had I experienced my Heavenly Father’s pursuit of me so tangibly and two years into our marriage I feel exactly the same way. Today, Jeff’s intentionality shines best in his commitment to the verses directly preceding the passage I shared above. Ephesians 5:25-28 “Husbands, love your wives, just as Christ loved the church and gave himself up for her to make her holy, cleansing her by the washing with water through the word, and to present her to himself as a radiant church, without stain or wrinkle or any other blemish, but holy and blameless. In this same way, husbands ought to love their wives as their own bodies. He who loves his wife loves himself.” Honestly? I never fully understood this passage until I experienced it in marriage. Jeff leads us to our Heavenly Father together. He regularly reads Scripture over us on the weekends so we can discuss how we can apply it to our marriage. He wakes up early to spend time with Jesus, leads us to church (even online) and often initiates watching biblical marriage series online to further strengthen our bond. He is prayerful about his decisions and careful to communicate with me so we are always operating as one in a true partnership. He doesn’t have to tell me that he doesn’t take me for granted because he shows me on a daily basis by reaching for me mentally, emotionally, spiritually and physically. He puts my needs before his own and prays for strength to love me like Jesus does. Jeff’s unconditional love these last two years of marriage has brought tremendous healing to my heart. This healing has allowed me to receive more of God’s heart for me and, subsequently, for us all. It’s often been said that even if you were the only human on earth God would have sent His son Jesus to die for you. Don’t let the familiarity of that statement lessen the power of it for you, that’s intentional! God’s design for marriage is to illustrate His love for us and His desire for an intimate relationship with us. Marriage gives us but a glimpse and a taste of His heart for us.