25 .. husbands, … love your wives, just as Christ loved the church. He gave up his life for her.… 31 As the Scriptures say, “A man leaves his father and mother and is joined to his wife, and the two are united into one.” 32 This is a great mystery, but it is an illustration of the way Christ and the church are one… Ephesians 5:25, 31-32
Parables and other forms of the metaphor are very much a part of our cultural imagination. One analogy often overlooked is why God chose to create the marriage bond monogamous between one man and one woman. God would create for Adam only Eve to form a “oneness” that culturally has been all but lost since their quest to discover what “evil” was all about. Jesus regretfully lamented on divorce, “because of the hardness of men’s hearts” [Mark 10:5].
Divorce along with same-sex unions, and polygamy were not God’s design because God intended the marriage union as a metaphor representing “Christ and the Church” [Ephesians 5:32]. The mystery of marriage “oneness” is a spiritual bond. Perhaps this bond is only recognizable after decades of working through confrontations, arguments, and misunderstandings. Perhaps, a couple only after many years begins to recognize their love has climbed somehow to a higher level unseen in all the busyness of life. Nonetheless, in later years, to their utter surprise, even without the flowers and weekly dinner dates, something has happened to “cement” [the Bible word ‘cleave’] them together.
Husbands are enjoined to love their wives “just as Christ also loved the church and gave Himself for her” [Ephesians 5:25]. Somewhere alone in the memory of our first parents, we can assume, is a moment when such a love as this made sense to them. But a spiritual depravity would rob us of the insight to see that this “oneness” in marriage is worth pursuing.
Most husbands since “the Fall” might only complain about the lack of submission and respect wives show—missing Paul’s point entirely. Nonetheless, this metaphor serves to highlight the mystery which only begins to reveal its secrets to those few couples whose love has endurance and longevity.
Some husbands enjoy the leadership role when society is passing out accolades but they cringe away and hide in the shadows when the task requires sacrifice. Yet, Christ’s love for His Church put Him in the fore when evil needed to be defeated which, as we know, led to His crucifixion.
There is, or should be, a consciousness that almost instinctively moves a man to risk all for family. Little boys dream of such adventures with punches thrown in defending fair maiden. But this seed of manliness must be culturally watered to germinate and the gardener is another man, a “father.” A true lover, a man who knows the secret of an enduring romance, is the only one who can cultivate in a boy both the desire to defend love and the tenderness to recognize that love when the time comes.
In the same way, husbands ought to love their wives as they love their own bodies. For a man who loves his wife actually shows love for himself – Ephesians 5:28
This verse interpreted: If a married man cares about his own happiness, he will focus on hers. Happy Valentines Day!