There are few things that will teach your children more about the gospel than your marriage.
Because of that, we’ve decided to start a new series of brief blog posts that will help you to think about your marriage. We know that being parents puts particular pressures on marriage, and so we thought it might be helpful to have occasional posts that focuses on our marriages – remembering that strong marriages will help us as we seek to share the gospel with our children.
Let’s start with a caveat. We know that not all of our readers are married. Some are single parents, and that can be for a variety of reasons. We’ve spoken to some of you who have spouses that aren’t Christians and we’ve thought with you about some of pressures that come through that. If you’re reading this series as a parent in either of these groups, then we hope there still might be some things that are useful for you – even if it’s simply to help you support marriages within your church.
We started this post with a pretty strong sentence: “There are few things that will teach your children more about the gospel than your marriage.”
How can we make such an extreme statement?
Well we don’t think we’re overstating things.
The new testament teaches that marriage was designed by God to be a small picture of the relationship between Jesus and the church. So as our children look on at our marriages, they have an opportunity to see a mini picture of that greater relationship.
As well as this Jesus-church relationship, we can also say that the marriage relationship shows us something of God himself, too. In the account of the creation of humanity, the writer of Genesis reminds us that humanity is made in the image of God. This means lots of different things – much ink has been spilled on this topic – but one of the ways that the writer shows us what it means to be an image bearer is found in Genesis 1:26-27:
“Then God said, ‘Let us make mankind in our image, in our likeness…
So God created mankind in his own image,
in the image of God he created them;
male and female he created them.”
God is a Trinitarian God – a God who for all eternity has been in relationship – Father, Son and Spirit loving each other. This God creates humanity to display something of himself, and God says let us make man in our image… male and female he created them.
In marriage we see united yet distinct people in a relationship of love. At it’s best moments, this displays something of the God it’s meant to image – a God who is three persons, united in love.
So that’s the idea behind this series. When marriages function as they should (and even when they don’t but we respond in godly ways), we demonstrate something of the gospel to our children. When they don’t, the damage can be deep and the scars can often last for a lifetime. God is gracious and powerful and can work through that anyway – but we all want to work on our marriages to try to avoid that. Broken marriages and fractious relationships can serve to undermine the gospel that we’re speaking to our children. So we must seek, with God’s help, to make our marriages strong.
Our marriage isn’t perfect. If yours is, do let us know your secret (but we’re not holding our breaths!).
But marriage matters. That’s why we’ve named this series what it is. And there are all sorts of matters (see what we did there!) relating to marriage that it’s worth thinking about – not only for the sake of our marriages themselves and our witness to the world, but also because our marriages are hugely significant as we seek to live out gospel-centred parenting.
We hope you enjoy walking through this new series with us.