The Holy Space of Marriage

My marriage is a holy space.

There's a popular song in Christian music right now by Casting Crowns called Broken Together. A line in the song refers to marriage as "hallowed ground". Every time I hear this song, and that line specifically, God takes my mind to my marriage and the mental images He gives me of what it means that marriage really is a holy place.

I don't know that the Bible ever specifically mentions marriage being holy. I can't point to a specific verse that says, "Hey, remember your marriage is a holy thing - treat it that way." But I think the way the Bible defines and describes marriage definitely points us in that direction.

Let me flesh this out a bit...

God is a holy God. Holy meaning set apart, perfect. God is holy, perfect, sinless. And our holy, perfect God set up this great thing called marriage in which a man and a woman mirror God's relationship with His church. They commit to each other for life, as God commits to His church for eternity. Since we humans fell into sin, marriage is no longer the perfect union it was set up to be back in Eden. But, it's still that picture, still that image, albeit broken, of God's relationship with us. It's still a holy thing - marriage is still meant to be set apart for God's purposes. And I think if the Apostle Paul was living today he probably would say something like, "Hey, remember your marriage is a holy thing - treat it that way." In fact, Ephesians 5 talks about this very thing.

Or, as Leviticus puts it,

Lofty expectations from a lofty God! Expectations that we can never meet, without Jesus coming to meet each and every expectation placed upon us. We have a God of expectations, and a God of love and forgiveness.

So, a holy marriage... a marriage on hallowed ground... how does that work with two sinner/saints, holy/unholy, unlovable yet dearly loved people? 

I don't really know. I've only been married for two and a half years! But, I can tell you how I've seen God take our marriage and make it a holy place every day.

1. We're in this for life.
Jeff and I agreed before we got married that for us, divorce isn't an option. We believe what the Bible says about a man and woman committing to a life together - for life. I wish I could tell you we're in this mindset all day, everyday, but I can't. In our sinfulness, at our worst, the thought of quitting has crossed our minds. Quitting would be easier, but it's not what we signed up for. He's mine and I'm his. Just like God claims us as His. He takes those who believe in His Son, Jesus, and makes us His for life. And life in God's eyes is more than the temporal here on earth - it's for eternity! Much longer than we'll be His here on earth, we'll be His, living in His presence in heaven, for all eternity! Marriage is a beautiful picture of that - especially when it's working the way it's intended.

2. We're in the business of forgiving.
This has been a vital part of our marriage. Forgiveness is huge. And I think being able to look at each other and speak words of forgiveness when something's gone wrong is God bringing us another step closer to Himself and making us just a little holier - a little more like Him. It takes intentionality and thought to forgive. It's easy to say "it's okay". It changes your mindset when you say "I forgive you". Where would we be with God without forgiveness? Well, for starters, we wouldn't be with God. Forgiveness of sin was the whole reason Jesus came to earth in the first place.

3. We have boundaries.
We do what we can to keep our marriage safe and protected. For us, it means paying attention to who we're with, and reading movie and TV ratings carefully. This can be a difficult one to manage, but we find the fast forward and skip buttons on the remote come in handy when unexpected scenes creep up on us. We don't actually use the term "boundaries" in everyday language, but really, that's what we're trying to do - create a relationship that's a safe place for both of us. Without those boundaries, we open ourselves up to unnecessary temptation. God gave us, His bride, boundaries too - the 10 Commandments, and couched within those are the two greatest commandments - loving God and loving our neighbor.

4. We (try to) communicate.
Sometimes it's texting and phone calls. Sometimes it's yelling and slammed doors. Occasionally it's the silent treatment (I've gotten better about that one). Sometimes it's a gentle touch and snuggling on the couch. And once in a while it's catching the other's glance and knowing we're thinking the same thing. Communication is tough in any relationship. God is huge on communication and even provided us a way to talk to Him through prayer. Jeff and I have found that if our communication with each other is lacking, it's very possible our communication with God is lacking too. So we sit and pray. It's not an immediate fix, but it's taking steps closer to that holiness God desires of us. And keeping up on our collective and individual communication with God helps us be better for each other.

We're new at this marriage thing. But it's a great gift - one we keep learning about every day. And while we're never be completely holy and our marriage will never be completely holy, we rest in the knowledge that we have a holy God in our corner pulling for us. He pours out His holiness on us and gives us constant reminders that our marriage is definitely a special, unique, safe and holy space.


A Wife Like That

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