A friend of mine asked me to write a guest piece for his blog. His name is Warren Baldwin and he writes extensively on family and marriage. (You can access his blog by clicking here.) This is a little something I wrote for him entitled “Marriage Is Love”. This is essentially what I tell all my pre-marital counseling couples.
God is love.
This little phrase is densely packed with theological insight. Scripture teaches that God exists in eternal relationship – Father, Son, and Spirit. The essence of this relationship is love. Prior to creation, prior to anything, there was love – the eternally binding love of Father, Son, and Spirit. Each member of the “Godhead” is distinct and differentiated; Father is distinct from Son who is unique from Spirit. And yet, the “oneness” of these three is found in an essential characteristic: love. We see the depth of this love in that God chose to create us in the first place. Out of His great love, He creates a space where He isn’t – at least not fully – in order for differentiated creation to exist. Out of His great love, He wills us to exist within His good creation. And out of His great love, He imbues humanity with the potential to bear His image within the created order (Gen. 1:27).
I believe marriage is the greatest context for humans to bear God’s image to one another. In marriage, we experience the unconditional love of our mate. On your good days, on your bad days, on your mundane days, and on your worst days, the loving presence of your spouse is a constant amid life’s turbulent seasons. In this way, marriage is held up to the world as a reflection of the unconditional, self-giving love that binds the Triune God in eternal relationship. We hold marriage up to the world and we say, “This is how God loves. This is faithfulness. This is commitment. This is love!” When we love our spouses unconditionally, we stand as God’s proxies in their lives, a breathing embodiment of the covenantal love of God. In marriage, we give ourselves over to being fully known – warts and all. Yet, our fears are allayed by an unconditional promise: “I love you and I always will love you. It’s okay. You can be yourself around me.” Again, we say to the world: “This is who our God is. For our God knows us fully and completely. And yet, He pursues relationship with us. He never wavers from this pursuit. He is love.” More than any other institution, marriage holds the potential for the image of God to be played out most fully, most intimately, and most precisely.
God is love.
And so is marriage.