Love is the glue binding two married people into one. It cements them together. That “Oneness” is the unique goal of a Christian marriage. “Holding fast” and becoming “one flesh” talked about in Genesis 2:24 is so much more than sexual union. Oneness defines a Christian marriage and sets it apart from all others. But, what is it? How do we get and keep it?
The mystery of this oneness is glimpsed in the Trinity. As we have seen in the previous post, the Father loves the Son and speaks of him as “the Beloved.” The Son loves the Father so much he agrees with his salvation plan and willingly dies for others. His deepest agony is in his separation from the Father that is the essence of hell. The Spirit loves the Son and wants only to glorify him (John 15:26;16:14). There is only one God. But, within the Godhead, there is a unity between three persons that is so wonderfully mysterious that Jesus prays for it to be like that among those who would follow him.
I do not ask for these only, but also for those who will believe in me through their word, that they may all be one, just as you, Father, are in me, and I in you, that they also may be in us, so that the world may believe that you have sent me. The glory that you have given me I have given to them, that they may be one even as we are one. I in them and you in me, that they may become perfectly one, so that the world may know that you sent me and loved them even as you loved me (John 17:20-23).
The mystery is in the cement. No wonder Jesus said that love summed up all the law and the prophets. Love another the way you naturally love yourself. Love is like cement, binding people together, taking diversity and making unity. Christian marriage is to be like that. Not a battle for control or an erasing of individuality, but a binding together through love.
Nancy and Ronald Reagan gave us an example of this cementing love. Nancy wrote,
If either of us ever left that room, we both felt lonely. People don’t always believe this, but it’s true. Filling the loneliness, completing each other–that’s what it still meant to us to be husband and wife (“I Love You, Ronnie,” Random House, 2000, p. 130).
Ronald Reagan wrote,
It’s amazing what that four letter word, “wife,” covers when it’s applied to you. It means a companion without whom I’m never quite complete or happy. It means the most desirable woman in the world who gets more desirable every day. It means some one who can make me lonely just by leaving the room.
I live in a perpetual warm glow because of you. Thank you for being my wife (p. 130-132).
And again in 1980 during the campaign for President of the United States,
I guess when I was young I thought marriage might be this way for a while: I never knew it could go on and on, getting better and better year after year.
By now you must have figured out that I’m hinting, I love you more than anything in the whole, wide world. I’m running for re-election as your own totally dedicated husband (p. 134).
Then, on a Thanksgiving in the White House, the President wrote his First Lady,
YOU ARE THE REAL WHIPPED CREAM ON THE PUMPKIN PIE OF LIFE! & boy am I a desert man?!
The President was raised on Christian moral principles and several of these he applied to marriage. Do you think he might have heard,
Husbands, love your wives, as Christ loved the church and gave himself up for her,…In the same way husbands should love their wives as their own bodies. He who loves his wife loves himself. For no one ever hated his own flesh, but nourishes and cherishes it, just as Christ does the church, because we are members of his body. “Therefore a man shall leave his father and mother and hold fast to his wife, and the two shall become one flesh.” This mystery is profound, …let each one of you love his wife as himself…(Ephesians 5:25-33.)
I once heard a Christian psychologist, Dr. Larry Crabb, explain the command for husbands to love their wives because a woman’s basic need is to be loved. Dr. Crabb went back to the result of the fall, when Eve was told that her desire would be for her husband (Genesis 3:16). A wise husband will love his wife and tell her and show her his love. She thrives in a loving relationship.
How wonderful if this has been true of your husband as it was for Nancy and I. There was never any doubt to myself or others that I was loved. I saw it in John’s eyes on about our third date. And my, I liked being the apple of his eye. It drew me to him. It made me feel attractive and secure. I dropped everything and all caution and married him as soon as possible!
WHAT IF THIS ISN’T TRUE OF YOU?
If your marriage hasn’t been a portrait of love, a broken heart could lead you to despair. Your emotions are much like my current grief. You don’t suppress or deny how you are feeling, but Christians are called to self-control. So don’t despair, instead, attempt to focus on the love God has for you. Get off by yourself. Cry, if need be. Then, start to think. Think about doctrine like the above paragraph on the love within the Trinity. Read Ephesians 1 and John 3 and Romans 8 and Psalms 23 again about how God has set his love upon you and nothing can separate you from that love. Think about Solomon’s allegory of Jesus’ love for his bride… you, if you have trusted in Christ Jesus:
You are altogether beautiful, my love …You have captivated my heart, my sister, my bride…How beautiful is your love, my sister, my bride! How much better is your love than wine, and the fragrance of your oils than any spice! You are beautiful as Tirzah, my love, lovely as Jerusalem, awesome as an army with banners…How beautiful and pleasant you are, O loved one, with all your delights! (Song of Solomon 4:7; 9;10; 6:4; 7:8)
Here is how Solomon pictures the Bride’s response:
Let my beloved come to his garden, and eat its choicest fruits (Song 4:16; My beloved is radiant and ruddy, distinguished among ten thousand…This is my beloved and this is my friend…I am my beloved and my beloved is mine; I am my beloved’s, and his desire is for me.. (Song 5:10;16;6:2;7:10).
Sometimes it is hard to connect this sensual picture with our love for God. Don’t miss the point. The Groom loves His Bride! You are the Bride of Christ. The Father has set his love upon you. Whether your marriage reflects this as it should or not, you are loved by the Beloved. Take awhile and mull this over.
There is something freeing about being loved. It makes you feel more attractive, more secure. Love cements you to God, and nothing (not even an unloving husband or a missing one through divorce or death) can separate you from the love each person of the Trinity has for you. Ask the Holy Spirit to comfort you by making this love real to you. He will bring truths to your memory and warm your heart as you believe them. You will find yourself loving God more and singing his praises.
This mystery of oneness in Christian marriage is, first of all, brought about through love.