It has been said that marriage is old-fashioned. That is true. Marriage is from the beginning:
Therefore a man shall leave his father and mother and be joined to his wife, and they shall become one flesh. (Genesis 2:24)
Marriage is a covenant between a man and a woman that has been instituted by God. It undergirds the family which is the bedrock of a civil society.
Some have said that the institution of marriage has failed. It has not. Marriage is based on the foundation of love. Love does not fail:
If I speak in the tongues of men or of angels, but do not have love, I am only a resounding gong or a clanging cymbal. If I have the gift of prophecy and can fathom all mysteries and all knowledge, and if I have a faith that can move mountains, but do not have love, I am nothing. If I give all I possess to the poor and give over my body to hardship that I may boast, but do not have love, I gain nothing.
Love is patient, love is kind. It does not envy, it does not boast, it is not proud. It does not dishonor others, it is not self-seeking, it is not easily angered, it keeps no record of wrongs. 6 Love does not delight in evil but rejoices with the truth. It always protects, always trusts, always hopes, always perseveres.
Love never fails. (1 Corinthians 13:1-8)
But some will say that marriage is difficult. It is not difficult. It is impossible. It is impossible without God. God has established certain commandments concerning marriage which guarantees the success of marriage. Let us see how the Apostle Paul defines marriage:
Wives, submit yourselves to your own husbands as you do to the Lord. For the husband is the head of the wife as Christ is the head of the church, his body, of which he is the Savior. Now as the church submits to Christ, so also wives should submit to their husbands in everything.
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.After all, no one ever hated their own body, but they feed and care for their body, just as Christ does the church— for we are members of his body. “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. However, each one of you also must love his wife as he loves himself, and the wife must respect her husband. (Ephesians 5:21-33)
Surely these commandments are outdated? Not so. The commandments are necessary. The reason they may seem outdated is that, for some, God has become outdated. Notice that before a man and a woman submit themselves to one another they must first submit themselves to God. God is the One who enables us to keep His commandments.
But aren’t the commandments unfair? Doesn’t it seem that the woman must do the most submission? That may seem true, but which is easier: to wife submitting herself to a husband or the husband loving the wife as Christ loves the Church? This is where Christ enters into the marriage. Marriage is a sacrifice. It is not 50/50. Marriage requires 100 percent from both partners. That means that if one partner does not live up to their end of the bargain the other must still give 100 percent. This concept cannot be understood without understanding the commitment which Jesus made for us. He laid down His life for us so that we might have eternal life with God the Father. Our sacrifice cannot compare to His. Nevertheless, we are required to make a sacrifice. Marriage teaches us how to make that sacrifice.
Can we imagine that there will be no arguments in heaven, that people will not need to always be right and the other person wrong? That might be difficult to imagine on earth, but certainly not in heaven. Paul states that marriage is a mystery. It is the closest earthly example of Christ and the church. The Church is the closest example of heaven. Marriage is training for heaven.
How does the Bible describe Christ and His Church? We read in Revelation:
Now I saw a new heaven and a new earth, for the first heaven and the first earth had passed away. Also there was no more sea. Then I, John, saw the holy city, New Jerusalem, coming down out of heaven from God, prepared as a bride adorned for her husband. And I heard a loud voice from heaven saying, “Behold, the tabernacle of God is with men, and He will dwell with them, and they shall be His people. God Himself will be with them and be their God. (Revelation 21:1-3)
Then one of the seven angels who had the seven bowls filled with the seven last plagues came to me and talked with me, saying, “Come, I will show you the bride, the Lamb’s wife.” And he carried me away in the Spirit to a great and high mountain, and showed me the great city, the holy Jerusalem, descending out of heaven from God, (Revelation 21:9-10)