Ray Ortlund’s book “Marriage and the Mystery of the Gospel” looks at what we can learn about marriage through the Bible. Genesis is clearly foundational but Ephesians 5 is central! Here is what he writes in one section about the “breathtaking reason why human marriage exists”, page 100.
“here in Ephesians 5, the “Therefore” points back to the fact that we are members of Christ’s body. So then, why do people feel the stirrings of romance and start spending time together and take long walks hand in hand and long for one another when apart and write poetry and sing along to “our song” and fall so head over heels in love that they finally jump into the mega-commitment of marriage? There is a reason for this very human experience. And the reason is not only what God did back in the garden of Eden with Adam and Eve but also, and even more, what God has done in uniting Christ with his church. The eternal romance – not, in the final analysis, the love of the couple getting married but the love of Jesus for us and our joyful deference to him – the eternal love story is why God created the universe and why God gave us marriage in Eden and why couples fall in love and get married in the world today. Every time a bride and groom stand there and take their vows, they are reenacting the biblical love story, whether they realize it or not. The Son of God stepping down out of eternity, entering time, taking on flesh, pursuing and winning his bride as his very heart and body with his inmost, sincerest love so that he can fit her to be with him forever above-that dramatic super – reality is the breathtaking reason why human marriage exists. It is truly profound. And Christian married couples have the privilege of making the mystery of the gospel visible in the world today by living out the dynamic interplay of an Ephesians 5 – quality marriage.
We should not think that Christ and the church are the metaphor in this passage, but the reverse. Christ and the church are the reality of realities, and our Christian marriages are the metaphors.”