Scripture tells us in Ephesians 5 that marriage is a reflection of Christ and the church.
Look to Jesus first. He is always available. He gave His whole self up for us. If we aren’t drawn to close intimacy with Christ, it’s our doing.
As His bride, we don’t always desire Christ. We don’t always want to submit to His commands, we don’t always trust that His way will lead to greater joy in our lives. We are hot and cold in our faith. We like this or that about Jesus, maybe we like the community aspect of the body of Christ but we don’t fully submit to Him or fully follow Him.
I find it interesting that in general, it is more common for the husband to be the higher drive spouse. I’ll speak in general terms, and of course there are exceptions. I’m also not intending to describe my own marriage.
A husband is available for his wife. He makes His entire self available to her. She may not want the gift, but He continues to offer himself. She may not always desire him, but he desires her. What she will take is the parts that work for her, but she doesn’t believe that it’s necessary to submit to him in the marriage bed. As a refuser, she could not believe that this kind of submission will ever be enjoyable or return a blessing for her. Besides, it’s hard for her, so he should just be happy with what he has. She doesn’t give her whole self to him but offers only what serves her own desires or what she finds comfortable. She also has the ebb and flow of desire naturally in her monthly cycle.
Do others see this parallel? Could we be wired this way to teach us something far more important? Have you considered these things before, or thought of spiritual parallels while dealing with your marriage relationship? Or everyday life? While raising children? Or feel free to share whatever is on your mind.
This is interesting and although I see what OWM means, and actually agree, I also like to find the parallels and learn from them. In one way, it is like a fan of a certain movie franchise watching them over and over and looking for little moments, sometimes called Easter eggs, in the movie that a casual movie-goer might miss–the little call-back to a previous installment, the reference to another character, the foreshadowing to a future climax. It’s thrilling to find those things in something as temporal as cinematic art, so how much more so to discover God’s “Easter eggs”.
One that has seemed apparent to me for some time is the parallel between the euphoria of orgasm, which happens at the moment when husband and wife are as close and as in union with one another as much as possible. I believe that there can be a similar euphoria of the soul during prayer and connection to God, but just as sex between husband and wife should happen in private, so should those moments of pure connection to God happen in private. I believe sex is (partially, OWM!!) an illustration of absolute unity between a believer and Christ. Now, being all in favor of any number of PDAs between husband and wife, I am also in favor of openly sharing one’s closeness to God, but I don’t like to see those moments when someone is totally entranced in a song or prayer or other means of worship. I feel like an intruder.
I’ve had people disagree with this perspective before, but it’s what I feel.
Interesting thoughts. Thanks for stimulating our minds.
Personally, I don’t work that hard at finding parallels. When they come, I appreciate them. Scripture and the things of the Kingdom do have multiple levels and yes, parallels are abundant. Having said that, Hungry, please don’t take my comments negatively toward yourself. These thoughts have been in the back of my mind for some time and I haven’t had the opportunity to share and test them. I invite your (and others) patience.
I don’t know what others think, but in my mind marriage is a big enough thing to God that we don’t have try to increase its value by linking it to other things – including something “bigger” than it. I may be wrong, but I feel some people are seeking to elevate it’s importance by being quick to link it to the relationship of Christ and His Church. Or validate it more or give it greater meaning, or set it up as a symbol in order to make it important or significant.
I’m not saying those connections don’t exist. Rather, for me, marriage doesn’t need to symbolize something to be of worth and meaning. I believe it is that in its own essence. It can stand alone; as what God has planned. When I hear some people, it feels like what marriage is becomes secondary to what it is supposed to symbolize. I’m not sure that is the kind of pragmatism God uses. I get a sense that their theology is such that they feel like they need to find Christ in everything or need to infuse everything with spiritual meaning by linking it to something else. Isn’t marriage as God has designed it, amazing enough on its own?
I’m not sure I’m expressing myself clearly enough. For me marriage is unitive – not only to symbolize that God is one (though it does that) – but rather because God is one and that is how He wants His creation to live. For me marriage is intended to be a life-long covenant relationship – not only/merely to reflect the relationship God has with His covenant people, but rather to live the way God lives and wants us to live. The marriage bed isn’t meant to be kept pure only to point to the righteousness of God, but to live out the righteousness of God in daily life! That’s the practical nature of God’s Reign in and through Jesus.
For me marriage is more than a symbol and its purpose is greater than being symbolic of something else. Rather, in its very essence it should be the lived-out life that God lives/gives and also expects of His people via His Spirit.
Interesting thoughts, thanks for sharing them. There is a reason that Paul describes it as a “mystery”, I believe there are a lot of things in there that we aren’t fully aware of.
I found it interesting that you said, “A husband is available for his wife. He makes His entire self available to her.” This gives the impression that you, or men, believe that by being sexually available, that is him giving his “entire self” to her or being available for her. First, I recognize that this means that the meaning of sex and the core of who a man is, is tightly connected to his sexuality… therefore, I can see that he may feel like he is making his “entire self” available. That is beneficial for a wife to know. Yet, how many times have we heard that women connect in a different way? So when a husband is not available in other ways, emotionally, mentally, physically (presences, not sexually), spiritually…. and he is fully, but only available sexually, that is not him presenting his “entire self”, at least in a wife’s eyes.
I would echo what Seeking Change said, and in fact I was actually thinking about this today. I think sex is a much bigger part of a man’s identity and for women, often feelings, emotions and thoughts are a much bigger part of their identity. It often seems that to men, the deepest most intimate thing to share is their sexuality, and I think often for women the deepest most intimate thing to share is feelings, emotions and thoughts. At least this played out this way in my marriage. So my husband was their trying to give me his “whole” self through sex, but withholding sharing his spiritual self with me, and often his deepest thoughts….which left me feeling used and like all he wanted me for was sex. And, for many different reasons, I struggled to like sex, want to be sexual, connect with sex, but was trying to give my “whole” self to my husband by wanting to do devotionals with my husband and talk. We were both left feeling rejected. We were both messing things up.
@MEN, With what both Wheat48 and I shared, it would be interesting to know if men are understanding what we are saying? Do you think we are misunderstanding the whole dynamic? Do you have any thoughts about the two perspectives presented, the OP and ours?
Thanks for this good @MEN question!
The parallel drawn between Christ and the Church and Husband and Wife is incomplete without the understanding and agreement that ‘husbands are to love their wives.’ Our love, as husbands, ought not to be on our terms but in the interest of our wives. That means we ought to understand and appreciate their needs and desires.
Men (I speak for myself) all too often project our needs and desires on to our wives expecting them to have those same needs and desires. Certainly sex is one of them, particularly if the husband is the HrD spouse. All too often my joy of sexual intimacy with Mrs. Oldbear colors the way I see my availability to her.
The humorous, yet ‘truth be known’ video “It’s Not About the Nail” captures the disconnect between husbands and wives. We men often think we ‘get’ our wives and believe that we are available and responding well to their needs. Therein lies the problem. Being available and responding isn’t ‘it.’ Listening to and appreciating and understanding (or at least seeking to understand) our wives is being available.
Availability isn’t ‘here I am, I love you, come and get it.’ Yet, that’s often how men (myself) think . . . no, believe . . . we are available. Sometimes Mrs. Oldbear just wants me to listen and honestly understand and genuinely agree with her. The best way that happens is honest sensitivity and appreciation of her. When I do this, she is secure in my love for her as I make myself truly available.