The Dancing Puritan

Friday, February 14, 2014

Marriage: The Place for Old and New Delights

As I think of my dear wife on this day, February 14, 2014, my tongue is like the pen of a ready scribe (Psalm 44:1).

Our marriage is not the ultimate thing, Christ is! Our marriage is a drama that points to Christ and his great love for his people. As Christ delights in his people, so I delight in my beloved. Yet my beloved and our marriage must not be allowed, to become ultimate. If they are, God is dishonored and joy is lost.

My marriage is about another marriage; it is about the marriage of Christ and the church. The truth that our marriage is not first of all about our marriage, in no way lessens our joy, lessens our romance, lessens our intimacy, or lessens the delights of our marriage in any way. It is just the opposite. Knowing that our marriage is about Christ and the church strengthens, fuels, enables, and fills up our marriage with hope and with vision. To think that our humble little marriage has been designed by God to be a giant arrow that points people to Christ is staggering. 

Today as I think of the beauty, glory, and princess-regality of my friend, I see a greater glory. I see the church, as a princess, led to the King. I see a great wedding hall filled with joy, gladness, music, and hope. 

How should this impact the day-to-day relationship with my wife?

As Christ delights in his church, I am to delight in my wife. "Let your fountain be blessed, and rejoice in the wife of your youth" (Proverbs 5:16).  

As Christ desires to hear from his people, I am to delight in the voice of my wife. "O you who dwell in the gardens, with companions listening for your voice; let me hear it" (Song of Solomon 8:13). 

As Christ has a particular love for his people, I am to desire my wife in an exclusive way. "I am my beloved's and his desire is for me" (Song of Solomon 7:10).

As Christ has given his life for his church, I get to give my life for my wife. "Husbands, love your wives, as Christ loved the church and gave himself up for her . . ." (Ephesians 5:25).

Christ has delighted in me. Why would I choose to not delight in my wife? Christ, the King of Glory, desires to hear my voice in prayer. Why would I choose to close my ears to my wife? Christ has set his particular love on his church. Why would I choose to act in a non-exclusive way towards my wife? Christ gave his life for his enemies? Why would I choose not to love my friend in an exclusive way?

Understanding the ultimate purpose of marriage strengthens every joy in marriage.

When a husband and wife refuse to make their marriage the ultimate thing and choose to embrace the purpose of marriage then they are able to say:

The mandrakes give forth fragrance, and beside our doors are all choice fruits, new as well as old, which I have laid up for you, O my beloved (Song of Solomon 7:13).

The gospel-saturated marriage is a banqueting table that is filled with choice fruits. Old delights are rekindled and enjoyed again. New delights spring up from creative hearts, bathed in grace.