Many Christian homes are un-Christian in their practice. A married couple may profess to know Jesus Christ as Lord and Savior, but how they think, act, and live in their marriage betrays, or at least conflicts with that profession.
The Bible puts it clearly that marriage is a picture of Christ, who is the bridegroom, and the church, which is the bride (Ephesians 5:22-33). In order for marriage, therefore, to be honoring to the Lord, it must have Jesus Christ as its head, not only in name, but also in practice.
The apostle Paul declared in Philippians 1:21, "for me to live is Christ...." That is an astounding statement, and full of importance. What would it look like if professing Christian couples applied that statement to their marriage?
"For us, to live in our marriage is Christ."
Here are at least three things to consider in this regard.
First, Christ must be the Master of our home.
While the wife is called upon to respect and submit to her husband, the husband is under the headship of Christ (1 Corinthians 11:3). The man is not "the king of his castle" as the thought is often communicated. The husband is not the master of the home, nor is the wife. Jesus Christ is the Master of the Christian home and marriage. Therefore, we must adopt his mindset; we must follow his path; we must live how he directs us to live.
Second, Christ must be the Model of our marriage.
If our living is wrapped up with Christ, then we will have him as our model, our blueprint, and our guide for living. Jesus always did those things that pleased his Father (John 8:29). Therefore, that is to be our pattern to follow as well. It is therefore our responsibility to strive to please our Father in all we do, say, and think in our marriage. For instance, husbands are to love their wives like Christ loved the church (Ephesians 5:25). while wives are to respect and submit to their husbands, even as the church does to Christ (Ephesians 5:22-24) and even as Christ submitted to the Father.
Third, Christ must be the Message of our marriage.
First Peter 2:9 tells us that we are to publish, to herald, to show forth, God's praises. How we live out our marriage will proclaim something of Christ to all who observe. What kind of message are we sending with our marriage? What are we communicating to our children about Christ through our marriage? What we are communicating about the gospel to all who observe us, both within and outside the church family.
The relationship between our Messiah and our marriage cannot be ignored. Yet there are many professing Christians who ignore Christ in their lives personally and in their marriage. Many fight for their own interests rather than Christ's, pursue their own goals instead of Christ's, and value their own finite ideas over Christ's perfect ideas for their marriage.
Marital struggles are real and they are painful, but they do not have to be terminal. However, it takes two people who are willing to submit to Christ and his Word.
Here are a few practical suggestions on how to keep Christ central to your marriage:
--You must each spend quality time each day devoting yourself to the Lord and his headship over you. Read God's Word; pray; desperately depend on him.
--Discuss as a couple how Christ is/is not at the center of your marriage. Be willing to listen with the intention to understand your spouse's thoughts. Take active measures to change together.
--If you and your spouse end up in frequent arguments that go unresolved, it is a sign that the gospel of Jesus Christ is not central in your life. You have been forgiven an infinite amount; you must forgive a minimal amount (Matthew 18:23-35). Seek biblical counsel from your pastor and his wife or some other godly couple you trust and ask for help in this area.
There is too much at stake for Christian marriages to fail. I know every marriage is made up of two sinful people, but with Christ on the throne of our marriage, failure should not happen. When Jesus Christ is central to our marriage, it will produce a beautiful, God-honoring, truly fulfilling, and utterly amazing marriage.
Your marriage is ugly without Christ central in it.
But with Christ on the throne of your marriage, it is truly beautiful!