Your Marriage is the Gospel
There's a lot of different ways to define marriage. Asking somebody to define something is another way of asking, "What, would you say, is the most important thing about this?" Depending on who you asked, you might get any of the following definitions:
- A legal and/or spiritual union between a man and a woman.
- A legal and/or spiritual union between any two individuals.
- Just a piece of paper.
- An antiquated form of oppression designed to control women's bodies and limit their opportunities by identifying as the property of man.
We here at Not Easily Broken Ministries prefer the following definition, "Marriage is the living, breathing mirror image of the sacrificial love that Christ and the Church share."
Enter Amy and Steve.
Amy and Steve were about as ready to get divorced as two people can be without having papers in hand. They had been separated for years. Steve had started seeing another woman while claiming to want to work on the relationship and Amy had just found out. Amy consulted a lawyer. Their relationship was broken and dying.
But something miraculous happened. The Spirit of God got a hold of Amy's heart and transformed her anger into a desire to love - bravely and sacrificially. People told her she was crazy. She was asking for trouble. Steve was just going to do it again. But deep inside her Amy knew that God wanted her to forgive, as she had been forgiven.
Now, all is not perfect in the marriage of Amy and Steve today. All of this happened only a couple of months ago, and wounds are still fresh. Trust issues abound. We meet with Amy and Steve every week to support them through the process of healing and learning to be vulnerable with one another again.
But, every week, we walk away so inspired by their marriage. Amy and Steve are the gospel to us, and to everyone they meet. Every time we see them choosing to love, choosing to be honest, choosing to confess, choosing to forgive, we see Christ's sacrifice on the cross, his resurrection from the dead, the forgiveness of sins, and the response of love from the Church. Their marriage is a living, breathing mural of the Good News about Christ.
I think one of the reasons for their success it that Amy and Steve get this. They see their marriage and its resurrection from the edge of death as a responsibility they carry into their families, their friendships, and their community. They challenge us to ensure that our marriage preaches the same message to our community.
Nobody's marriage is perfect. Everybody has struggles, everybody has pain. But God designed marriage to be this picture of Christ and the church, and every marriage has the responsibility to portray that picture as accurately and fully as possible. Amy and Steve show us every week just how powerful that picture can be. We hope they inspire you, too.
*names have been changed to protect confidentiality*