That is why a man leaves his father and mother and is united to his wife, and they become one flesh.
Husbands, love your wives, just as Christ loved the church and gave himself up for her.
However, each one of you also must love his wife as he loves himself, and the wife must respect her husband.
There is plenty that has been made about what marriage is and isn’t and what it should and shouldn’t be. In its simplest, most basic form, marriage is a bond between a man and a woman. Originally it was not a function of the government nor of the church. It was an agreement entered into by the two participating families, particularly the two people who were actually getting married.
Love should be at the center of marriage. This seems so simple that it might not need to be stated but there are other reasons that people get married. Jacqueline Kennedy once said (paraphrasing here) that the first time you get married for love, the second time you get married for money, and the third time you get married for companionship.
Of course we need to qualify what love in marriage looks like. We often use the word love but it means completely different things to say that we love cookies, we love our dog, and we love our spouse. The verses above give us a bit of a clue as to what love in marriage looks like, but of course it isn’t all inclusive. This entire set of devotions doesn’t even cover the whole scope of what love in marriage is but it at least gives an overview.
The first thing involved in marriage is the leaving of parents in order to be combined with a spouse. This does not mean that one totally abandons their parents but this is no longer the most important relationship in their life. When one gets married, the relationship with their spouse must take first priority (behind one’s relationship with God though.) That doesn’t mean that you break all ties with family and friends, but your spouse comes first. On the other hand, you should be aware that your spouse will have important relationships outside of your marriage.
The other major part of love in marriage involves sacrifice. This has been spoken about in other sections so it won’t be rehashed here. This ties in with the idea that the relationship with your spouse is the most important one however. It means that you might have to sacrifice time with friends or other things in order to honor your spouse.