My wife and I recently began premarital counseling with a young couple from our church. We’re excited for the opportunity to invest in them and build a friendship with them that, Lord willing, God will use as they begin their marriage and family for the glory of Christ. As I was preparing for our time with them, I plowed through a handful of the best gospel-centered marriage books out there. Married and unmarried Christians alike have much to be thankful for these days, as there are tons of great resources available to help us understand what the apostle Paul himself calls a “profound mystery” (Eph 5:32) – the physical/spiritual union between husband and wife that displays for the world the glory of Christ by revealing the nature of the gospel.
The world assumes that marriage is for the benefit of the married. When successful, it helps establish economic stability, provides a basis for social acceptance, and offers a long-term romantic counterpart to guard against loneliness and insecurity and to satisfy our sexual appetites. But the Word of God teaches that marriage isn’t actually for the married – though they do benefit from their marriage – rather it is for Christ and his glory. Biblical marriage is patterned after the relationship between Christ and the redeemed people of God – the Church. Thus the ultimate purpose of marriage is to display the covenant between Christ and his Church to the world. My marriage – at is core – is intended to display to all people the love, grace, humility, and mercy that Christ has shown me. So is yours. Let us pray that each of our marriages would be so consumed by the glory of Christ as revealed in the gospel that we would display Him faithfully to the world.
This morning I came across this video. Its worth eight minutes of your time if you have it, as it beautifully illustrates how the glory of Christ is both the means and the purpose of marriage.
If you’re interested in more, the best book available on marriage (in my opinion) is the one mentioned in this video, This Momentary Marriage, by John Piper. Coming in a close second is The Meaning of Marriage, by Timothy Keller.