God’s Design for Marriage: A Story and a Song
Then I heard what seemed to be the voice of a great multitude, like the roar of many waters and like the sound of mighty peals of thunder, crying out, “Hallelujah! For the Lord our God the Almighty reigns. Let us rejoice and exult and give him the glory, for the marriage of the Lamb has come, and his Bride has made herself ready; it was granted her to clothe herself with fine linen, bright and pure”— for the fine linen is the righteous deeds of the saints. And the angel said to me, “Write this: Blessed are those who are invited to the marriage supper of the Lamb.” And he said to me, “These are the true words of God.”
— Revelation 19:6–9 —
What is marriage supposed to look like? What is its design? Who gets to set the standard? And how do we test whether one’s marriage is good or not, let alone pleasing to God?
These, and dozens of other questions, haunt us today. They haunt us because marriage has been redefined and repackaged into a million different Do-It-Yourself romantic projects. Yet, the original still remains—one man and woman united by covenant until death.
The reason the original design remains intact is because the shifting shadows of marriage on earth cannot alter the substance in heaven. And it is the heavenly marriage to which all history lunges toward—namely, the blessed union of Christ and his Bride.
On Sunday, I will preach on the good design of marriage and how the future vision of marriage protects us from the erasure of marriage in our day. To help prepare my heart and yours for that message, I share a story and a song that should fire our moral imaginations for what marriage lived in light of eternity should be—indeed, can be when we let Scripture shape our affections.
A Two-Part Story About Marriage
This is a story about Ian and Larissa and what true love really looks like.
You can read more about Ian and Larissa’s story in their book, Eight Twenty-Eight: When Love Didn’t Give Up.
A True Love Song
Tragically, almost every love song I know celebrates young love, illicit love, or sexual lust without the protections of marital love. It’s no wonder people who read the Bible may still consider divorce or adultery when uncritically they sing along to such music. In response, we don’t need to burn our CD’s or erase our playlists (although in some cases that might help), we need to sing and write more songs that actually celebrate the seasons of love. We need love songs that grip our hearts to love our spouses long and invite us to grow up and grow old in love.
How many affairs and divorces have been fueled by playlists which invite mid-lifers to look for new flings, instead of remaining faithful in marriage? How many could be thwarted if we wrote more marital love songs? For truly, if actions follow our imaginations, and songs fuel our imaginations, then we must find new songs to celebrate longsuffering in marriage.
To that end, few songs capture God’s design for life-long, covenant-keeping marriage better than Andrew Peterson’s Dancing in the Mine Fields. Husbands, listen to it and go love your bride. Wives, listen to it and embrace your husband. Singles, listen and long for something more than effervescent, summer love.
So, as you head to church this Sunday, don’t forget who you are—if you are a follower of Christ, you are a part of his bride. If you are not, the invitation is open–the Spirit and the Bride invite you to join his wedding feast. For everyone who takes seriously this final wedding reservation, it has the power to change everything about how you pursue marriage in this life.
To that end, may we gaze upon in wonder the Marriage Supper of the Lamb and seek to live our lives waiting and watching for that day. But to do that we need stories that fire our imaginations and songs that capture our hearts. To that end, may Ian and Larissa’s story and Andrew Peterson’s song spur you on toward love and good deeds.
Soli Deo Gloria,