In our world it is easy to see marriage as nothing more than a piece of paper. But marriage is about more than a simple, legal binding between two parties. It is about two people before God, their family, and their friends making a promise.
This isn’t about negotiating a contract.
It’s not about scoring the better end of the deal. It’s not about making sure your benefits outweigh the costs. It’s not about making sure that you’ve made out better than the other person. This is not about being a consumer seeking a good bargain.
Our world loves bargains and business deals. But marriage is not one of them.
Marriage is about two people making vows. It’s a promise to one another and a promise to God.
This promise between a husband and a wife actually reflects the promise that God himself makes to his Church. Paul describes this in Ephesians 5 when he says, “Husbands, love your wives, just as Christ loved the church and gave himself up for her.” This is the promise we see kept by God. Jesus Christ sacrifices his life for us despite our unfaithfulness.
Imagine that kind of promise. An unconditional, faithful, and forever love.
Although we’ve sinned, although we’ve fallen short, and although we do not deserve it - Jesus continues to love us. He gives up everything so that we might have everything. He makes us holy and clean. And in marriage, we reflect this same promise. If it were a contract, it would be about negotiating terms. But instead this is a covenant; it’s about making a vow. A vow to give sacrificially, to serve humbly, and love unconditionally just as Jesus himself did for every one of us.
Contracts are about the piece of paper. Contracts are about the legal agreement. Contracts are about what you can get from the other person. But this isn’t about the paper, it’s about vows.
But marriage is a promise that says, “I’m binding my life to yours forever.”
Marriage isn’t about a contract, it’s about a promise. The marriage part matters not because the piece of paper matters, but because in the promise to be a spouse, there’s a commitment that fulfill God’s calling to love and serve each other in your marriage.
In marriage we have a joining of two people that cannot be separated. In marriage, two are bound together. They are glued to one another for life. Sickness, tragedy, trials, and pain - none of these can separate the couple that has committed themselves to each other “till death do us part.”
You’ll notice this same language reflected when describing God’s relationship with us:
“For I am convinced that neither death nor life, neither angels nor demons, neither the present nor the future, nor any powers, neither height nor depth, nor anything else in all creation, will be able to separate us from the love of God that is in Christ Jesus our Lord.” - Romans 8:38-39
No change in feelings, no loss of job, or no tragedy can separate the two that have been joined together. In marriage, we commit that even when the passion fades, the promise will always remain.