A lot of Christian women like to use this phrase.
I understand why.
Ultimately, marriage represents Christ and His bride the church. He is “the heavenly Bridegroom” for believers – the body of Christ. We have the promise that we will share the Marriage supper of the Lamb together with Him in heaven. Then we will live “happily ever after” with Him forever.
The Bible describes many metaphors for the relationship between God and His people: a vine and vine dresser, a shepherd and his sheep, a king and his people, a father and his children, a master and his servants, a potter and clay, a king and his army of warriors. All of these metaphors help us understand God and His love for us.
God describes being a Husband to His people in Isaiah and Hosea. Jesus calls Himself the Bridegroom. It is my favorite picture of Christ and the church.
But… is it possible to take this too far?
Yep. Probably so.
Ultimately, no metaphor perfectly explains God’s relationship with His people. There is no equivalent relationship!
I don’t believe it is healthy for us to literally picture Jesus as being our flesh and blood husband or that He takes the place of a flesh and blood husband. He is GOD. We are not going to be physically intimate with Him. We are to be one in Spirit with Him. We worship Him. He is the focus of our lives. We desire Him above everything else. We find our purpose, contentment, joy, peace, satisfaction, fulfillment and identity primarily in Him. We seek to please Him and serve Him with all our our hearts, souls, minds and strength.
Jesus has His proper place and my husband has his proper place in my heart. They are two different places. We are one SPIRIT with Christ – part of His Spirit enters my spirit and my body. We are one FLESH with our husbands – part of his body enters my body – as a picture of the one Spirit relationship with Christ. If I put Jesus where my husband should be – I have a mess. If I put my husband where Jesus should be, I also have a mess.
Although my love and response toward Jesus and my husband share similarities – my relationship with each of them is NOT the same. They do not compete in my heart for a place.
THINGS TO THINK ABOUT:
If a Christian single woman begins to think of Christ as being her literal husband, and she talks about that to the single men around her – quite honestly, that kind of creeps out some Christian men. It makes it seem like there is no room left in her heart for a real man, possibly. And, I think it conjures up images of a woman having some kind of sensual feelings for Christ. I’m not sure that is what Christian women are doing with this concept, but that is what it can seem like to men. If we are imagining Christ being our physical lover – that seems to me to be a gross distortion of what our relationship with Him is meant to be. Not to mention – it makes attempting to be close to Christ something seemingly repulsive to men who do NOT want to picture an erotic love with a masculine God. God designed erotic sexual love between a man and woman. That is not the kind of love and attraction with which we love Jesus.
Sometimes we can also expect men to literally BE Christ to us – to never sin, to love us with what we define as “the way Christ loves the church and gave Himself up for her,” to be totally responsible for our happiness, to do anything we want just because we want them to do something. This is not a good idea!
I think we need to be careful with these things.
- Yes, in marriage, the picture is that of Christ and the church with the husband representing Christ and the wife representing the church (Ephesians 5:22-33). But it is an imperfect picture, a type of living parable or metaphor. It is a reflection of the relationship between Christ and the church. It is not literally the relationship between Christ and the church. It is between two sinful humans, not between a deity and a human. Hopefully, we will only marry men who are committed to Christ, but even then, our men are sinful – just like we are. There is no sinless human husband on the planet. And there is no sinless human wife on the planet, either. We will be called upon to extend overwhelming grace, mercy, unconditional love, unconditional respect and forgiveness in marriage – often. We don’t have to do that with Christ. Sometimes because the husband/man is to represent Jesus, we expect him to be as perfect as Jesus. That is not possible.
- “The way Christ loves the church and gave Himself up for her” – this does not equate to “a flesh and blood man has to love me exactly the way I WANT to be loved” or “I need to FEEL loved every moment for him to be properly portraying the love of Christ.” How are we defining “the way Christ loves the church?” That’s an important question! Jesus loved the church and gave Himself up for her because He loved God the Father primarily and because He submitted to His will. He also gave Himself up for her because she couldn’t save herself and He was the only one who could save her. He did what was ultimately best for her in the big picture. That doesn’t mean that He does everything we want Him to do. Sometimes what we want is not what is best for us. THANK GOD that He says “no” and “wait” to us sometimes. Thank God that He chastises us, prunes us, refines us and sanctifies us (uses suffering to make us more and more like Jesus and more holy). Sometimes when a man loves his wife with the love of Christ, she may not FEEL loved at the moment, but sometimes he will have to make tough choices to do what He believes is right before God even though his wife does not agree with him. That is his duty and responsibility before God – to please God above pleasing his wife!
- We are responsible for our own obedience to Christ, our own sin, our own happiness. It is not right to expect that another person be responsible for the things that ultimately we are responsible for before God. When I make my husband responsible for my happiness – which I did for a long time – I also become a powerless victim, waiting on him to make me happy. If I wasn’t happy, I blamed him. Then I tried to force him to do what I wanted so I could be happy. This is NOT a godly path to take! God gives us a Spirit of power, love and a sound mind. I am not a victim when I belong to Christ. I have the resources and riches of heaven at my fingertips to flood through me like Niagra Falls to meet my spiritual needs and to bless others with along my path as well. I am able to live in contentment no matter if my needs in my marriage are being met or not – because I depend on Christ primarily for my spiritual needs to be met. I don’t lay the burden of my spiritual needs at the feet of another human. Only Jesus can meet my deepest spiritual needs perfectly. My husband has the ability to meet some of my needs. It’s wonderful when he does. But I can be ok no matter what happens because I have Christ in His proper place in my heart.