God's Gift of Marriage
Marriage is a gift from the Lord our God. He is the author and sustainer of it. He established this institution right at the beginning of creation.
After creating the first man out of the dust of the ground and putting him in a garden in Eden, the Lord God made the first woman out of man's side. He then brought the woman to the man joining them in marriage (Gen. 2:22).
The Lord God also blessed the man and his wife and told them to "be fruitful and multiply and fill the earth and subdue it" (Gen 1:28) and to live together as one flesh in holy union (Gen. 2:24; cf. Eph. 5:31).
Although sin entered the world and disrupt the harmony between God and man and between man and his wife, marriage remains to be the means God uses to fill the earth with His image-bearers.
To remain faithful in marriage though is no easy task. But God is able to accomplish His purpose in marriage. He is able to help both the husband and the wife stay and grow together in marriage in spite of sin entering the world. Sin makes marital relationship difficult. It makes both the man and his wife selfish and self-centered.
Without the work of the Spirit of God, married couples will remain self-centered and will only think of their own benefit rather than the welfare of their spouse.
However, by the grace of God, at those times when the husband mirrors the loving headship of Christ, the wife’s submission and respect will positively enrich her womanhood. And together they accomplish the will of God in marriage.
Thus the apostle Paul says, "[E]ach one of you must love his wife as he loves himself, and the wife must respect her husband" (Eph. 5:33). This is how husband and wife live godly lives and become "imitators of God" in Christian marriage.
To build and experience a strong and healthy marriage and family life, we need to acknowledge this sinful tendency in us. We also need to repent from our selfishness and to come to Christ and learn from Him. Not just once but always.
Christ alone breaks down barriers in marriage. He alone reconciles us with God. He alone reconciles us with one another. He alone cleanses us from our sins by His blood. He alone enables us to "leave and cleave" as husband and wife.
The Lord has sent the Spirit to dwell and to produce in us Christlike character. By the Spirit's power, the wife is enabled to submit and respect her husband ‘as to the Lord’. And by the same Spirit the husband is empowered to love his wife just as Christ Himself loves His body, the Church.
When both husband and wife faithfully fulfill their responsibilities in marriage according to the Word of God, marriage may still not be that easy or always happy, yet it would be more enjoyable. It would be more satisfying and God glorifying!