Love, romance and marriage must be grounded in grace. The loveliness of marriage is depended on the proper foundation of marriage, which is the gospel. A sturdy house must be founded on a rock.
Marriage, as God intended, is not a grit your teeth and bear it endeavor. Though it will involve soldiering through hard times with a dogged determination, it must not be divorced from the smile. The muscles of marriage require breath. Marriage was not created to be robotic, existing solely to move from point to point. Stiffness is a perversion of both the design and the objective of marriage. The movement of marriage must set sail beneath the wind of grace if marriage is to be received with thanksgiving (1 Timothy 4:3b). Marriage can only be rightly enjoyed when founded on the gospel. Those who receive it with proper thanksgiving are those who believe and know the truth (3c). The gospel requires that one taste and see that the Lord is good (Psalm 34:8).
Romance divorced from the Christian faith, paints flowers without aroma and creates wind mechanically. It airbrushes beauty and drapes pretty exteriors over graceless interiors.
The gospel is not some added insight to secular ideas about love. The gospel is the power of God that delivers marriage from the chains of secular superficiality and gives it a vision that transforms and transcends time and space. The gospel reminds that marriage is a big deal. It is first of all about a man and a woman. It is about the God/Man (Jesus Christ) and a woman (his church). Jesus lived without sinning, died for sinners and was raised again so that the woman (church) could be joined to him in a blessed union of peace, joy and righteousness. That greatest love (Christ for his church) transforms, informs and transcends the earthly love between a man and a woman. Marriage, we learn is about Christ and his love for the church. It is about his glory and his plan to present the church to himself in splendor, without spot or wrinkle or any such thing...(Ephesians 5:27).
The gospel gives power and life to that which was robotic and dead. It brings reconciliation with God and enables man to be reconciled with woman. It provides the foundation for a marriage of love, forgiveness and hope. The wife can forgive her husband and the husband his wife because of the forgiveness that Christ has given them. Husband and wife can bear with one another patiently because Christ has shown (and shows) great patience towards them. The husband and wife can and should do more than move from point to point. They have a vision of ultimate glory. Marriage is sweet, beautiful and full of real aroma because, in a Christian marriage, the husband and wife have tasted that the Lord is good.