Never have I read a column about marriage written by a single man.
And never, EVER did I think that I (as a bachelor) would be writing one either.
But, the time has come. With all of the back and forth discussion in this column on marriage and equality, it’s time for me to take the plunge as well (marriage pun fully intended).
To preface — this is not an attack, a bridge-bombing response, or a political statement about marriage equality or rights. It is, however, an honest look at what the Bible has to say about the issue.
Recent columns written here by my friends Steve (Hammer) and Diane (Meehl) have led me to dig deeper into what scripture really has to say about marriage — which happens to be a lot.
While some say that scripture doesn’t give us any specific marriage model, it’s incredibly difficult to see how the Bible DOESN’T give us some insight into God’s design for it.
Marriage could be tied all the way back to the creation account. God created man (Genesis 1), saw that it wasn’t good for man to be alone (Genesis 2), and gave Him a helper (or woman — Genesis 2:18). Man then unites with his wife (Genesis 2:24) and they become one flesh.
Marriage between a man and his wife is referred to as a covenant in which God was a witness in Malachi (2:14).
Jesus also brings up the topic of marriage in Matthew 19, “Therefore a man shall leave his father and his mother and hold fast to his wife, and the two shall become one flesh. So they are no longer two but one flesh. What God has joined together, let not man separate” (Matthew 19:5-6).
Instructions are given to both husbands and wives in Ephesians 5 where the analogy of the church is used to instruct married couples on how to love and serve one another — calling the husbands to “love your wives, as Christ loved the church and gave himself up for her...” (Ephesians 5:25). Wives are also instructed to submit to their husbands as the church submits to Christ (Ephesians 5:23-25).
The example of Christ and the church becomes a powerful picture of marriage when we understand that it was LOVE that led Jesus to “give himself up” for the church. It was Jesus, after all, who told us that there’s no greater way to show love for someone than to lay your life down for them (John 15:13).
Paul’s parallel between the church and marriage shows us that not only is biblical marriage important — it’s sacred, and it’s in the most sacred, an intimate relationship that we have the great privilege of displaying and magnifying Christ’s sacrificial relationship with the church.
As husbands (who are broken) love their wives by sacrificing and serving them, and as wives (who are broken) trust in their husbands as they lead them and provide for them, we begin to catch a glimpse of Christ’s covenantal relationship with His own bride (the Church. Which is filled with — you guessed it — broken people).
As I stated before, my intention is not to attack or make a POLITICAL stand on the issue of marriage. In fact, both of my column mates have made great points recently, reminding us that as followers of Christ we are called to “do justice, walk humbly, and love mercy.”
Christ’s call is that we love and serve our neighbors, friends, and the world — even when we disagree with them. But standing by the Biblical model of marriage and defining what is clearly laid out in scripture does not mean that we’re ignoring those commands.
• Colin Noonan serves as the director of Youth Ministries at Mountain View Lutheran Church in Ahwatukee. Keep the conversation going with him at firstname.lastname@example.org.