Discover the love found within the Bridal Paradigm
The Bridal Paradigm, where Jesus and the church are our model for marriage, offers us a beautiful picture of God’s heart for marriage, and it holds the promise of power to transform your relationship with your spouse.
That’s a pretty big promise. But it’s a promise I believe God is eager to deliver on, if we will endeavor to take hold of it.
Love Lives In You
Paul begins his instructions on marriage in Ephesians 5 with this preface.
Watch what God does, and then you do it, like children who learn proper behavior from their parents. Mostly what God does is love you. Keep company with him and learn a life of love. Observe how Christ loved us. His love was not cautious but extravagant. He didn’t love in order to get something from us but to give everything of himself to us. Love like that.
Ephesians 5:1-2 (MSG)
The amazing truth is, as I said in my recent post, Unstoppable Love , love “like that” is not some ideal – out there and yet to be attained. It’s a living love that actually indwells you, because Jesus indwells you.You just need to discover it for yourself and then let it out on your spouse.
A lot of people get all knotted up over what the Bible says about roles of husbands and wives in marriage. I believe that most of it would dissolve away if we would simply focus on the love that is the foundation of the Bridal Paradigm
His Role Looks Like Christ
What wife would not want to be loved by her husband like this?
- He loves his wife unselfishly, not using his position to control her or to push her into conformance, but to bless her.
- He may never be required to literally lay down my life for her, but he must be willing to sacrifice himself (physically, emotionally, financially, etc) for what is in her best.
- He will pursue her relentlessly and fiercely with his love, understanding what pursuit means to her.
- He cherishes her by surrounding her with care and concern for her well-being – clearly demonstrating that he is for her.
- He is consistent in speaking the truth of the Word over her in a way that encourages and edifies her and reminds her who God says she is.
- He provides for her faithfully – which means applying himself diligently, but not to the extent that he neglects her need for time and attention.
- He will do all in his power to establish and maintain a deep connection with her and protect the intimacy of the relationship. Staying connected is more important than being right or asserting his rights.
- He beautifies his bride, as Jesus does, seeing her the way God sees her, perfect and beautiful, through the eyes of grace.
- Above all, he partners with Christ, encouraging her to walk in the fullness of her true identity, toward the goal of fulfilling the destiny God has for her life.
Her Role Looks Like the Church
Before giving you some practical implications for a wife looking like the church, let me preface it by saying that we are all being transformed into the image of Jesus. So in a very real sense, wives are to also emulate Christ.
In light of the Christ-like love bestowed upon her, a wife returns his love in this way:
- She believes in and trusts him.
- She offers her full surrender, to hold nothing back from him, bringing the fullness of her genuine self to the marriage.
- She best honors and enables his leadership by willingly remaining under his covering and protection.
- She honors and respects him by listening to him and knowing his heart, giving importance to things that are important to him.
- She knows that his desire is for her and believes that his intentions toward her are always be good.
- She can come to him with anything and trusts that he will respond with love and grace.
- She puts him first, above all other relationships.
- She comes to him, fully unashamed, taking him as her only intimate lover.
Clarifications and Limitations
Of course, in comparing Christ and the church to the marriage relationship, Paul was not implying that husbands are in any way superior nor wives in any way inferior. Husbands are certainly not diety and have imperfections we will never find in Christ.
However, the truth is that the closer a husband comes to emulating Christ, the easier it will be for his wife to emulate the church.