The Meaning of Marriage

What does marriage mean?

I recently started asking myself, “what does marriage mean?”

Several years ago, I was privileged to be able to perform two different friend’s weddings. I can remember the nerves I had as I walked them through their “I dos” – “…For richer, for poorer, in sickness, in health…” We all know the classic wedding vows. But beyond all the wedding formality what does marriage mean on a day to day level? There’s several profound scriptures that I rely on to give me right meaning. However, on a daily basis, there’s the actual working, applied meaning.

The Meaning of Marriage - The Journey Home Family
An old wedding picture of us. We were 26 years old, no kids.

Here’s my top 5 answers to “What does marriage mean?” (from a Husband’s perspective):

1. Marriage means my wife is the most loved and most valued treasure I have in this world.

My little boys often tell me they love me the most. It’s fills up my heart! But then they also ask, “Daddy, do you love me the most too?” to which I remind them, “I love Mommy the most. But I love you and your sister the next most.” Loving my wife the most means that everything I do is for her first and for her good. In real speak, “she my Bae.”

I don’t get to put myself first. It’s not because i’ve chosen some tortured state of being where I magically become humble. When I love, treasure and pursue her first, I find myself more alive, more satisfied and more fulfilled. Loving her first is right. I vowed to love her; not just to stick it out when things got hard. I vowed to pursue her, to give her my all. Beyond that, God instructs me to love her in the same way that Jesus loved the Church. If you don’t know what that means, it means that I need to love her to the point of death. That’s hard! That’s some that I daily need God to help me with. Treasuring my wife is not a burden; it’s not some ball and chain. When I fulfill God’s design through loving my wife, I find joy and satisfaction! She is my love, my everything!

2. Marriage means sacrifice

I’m a morning person. My sweet wife isn’t a morning person, truth be told, she’s not a night person either. My wife’s current week day routine is: Awake at 7:15AM, Sleeping at 10:30PM. My routine looks more like: Awake at 5:45AM, Sleeping at 11:30AM. I’m not a hero, I’m not great. But I made a commitment to my wife, that i’d serve her. That she’d come before me and before the kids. Whether i’m prepping lunches, giving her a massage, cleaning the house, reading, or working on extra contracts for extra income (and sometimes watching TV), there’s a lot that needs to get done. It’s not usually what I feel like doing. I can say without a doubt that my wife does the same for me. She sacrifices for me daily in so many ways. Keeping the house clean, remembering to pay bills on time… the list goes on.

I know it’s hard. There are times when I’ll go days without recognition or thanks for my service to the family. But there’s also a greater amount of days that I’m the recipient of her sacrifice. I signed up for this. I love her.

3. Marriage is staying faithful

“Faithful” is described in the dictionary as: true, steady, trusted, believed, loyal and constant. When I think of all the things that can cause me to be unfaithful it’s embarrassing. We often lump all of unfaithfulness into having some sort of affair. But affairs never just happen. Affairs are subtle. Affairs are issues of the heart. Everything from checking out the girl running by in Yoga pants, to mindfully scrolling through images on Instagram or spending time away from home are all subtle affairs of the heart. Paul David Tripp describes it so well in his book.

Faithfulness in marriage is physical, mental, spiritual and emotional. So many things can test my faithfulness to her. I don’t always win; my heart isn’t always faithful. My goal, my aim is to be my wife’s husband, all the time. Faithful in mind, faithful in heart, faithful in eyes, and faithful in deed.

The meaning of marriage - The Journey Home Family
An old engagement photo of us. Still in love, 11 years later!

4. Marriage means treasuring God above my wife or my family.

It’s easy to get my priorities out of order. I get a lot of things ahead of my relationship with God. In Matthew 22, Jesus makes it really clear that it’s God first, then others. At first glance it’s easy to get confused and think that this passage of the Bible is either wrong or means something else. Why would I possibly love anyone more than my sweet wife. It’s not until you dig a bit deeper that you realize that loving God first is what actually enables me to love my wife to the fullest! God is love. My love will run out. But when I draw love from the author of love himself, there’s a supply that I can’t exhaust.

My loving and staying true to Him first gives me what I need to love my wife the way I described in the first meaning. Loving her in the way that God intended allows me to love her in the best possible way. My motives need to be checked all the time. The only way to do that is by continual renewal of my heart and mind. That renewal comes through prayer, reading the Bible and listening to God’s spirit.

5. Marriage means loving who she is.

When I think about my wife, there’s distinct qualities that make her who she is.

  • Her personality is loving and warm.
  • She is beautiful and kind.
  • Her heart is selfless and empathetic.

Despite all the wonderful things about her, I’m sad to admit that there’s times when I wish she was different. I momentarily get distracted and wish she was something other than who God created her to be. I somehow create another version of her in my mind. It’s a version of her that does everything I want, when I want, how I want.

That’s not marriage, that’s servitude. Additionally, it’s not love; on the contrary, it’s selfishness.

God made her to be her. My role as husband is to draw out who she is by loving her. I need to give her grace, mercy, kindness, adoration and when needed, conviction. And so, I strive to love my wife for who she is in the way that Jesus does.

This is by no means an exhaustive list or definition of marriage. But I hope that my attempt at answering “What does marriage mean?” is in some way practical and helpful to you as I also work on keeping myself grounded.

What does marriage mean? It means loving your wife. When it’s hard and you don’t feel loved back, love her. Husbands, we set the tone for our marriages. So much of what we do gives her, gives our kids queues for how to love. The world isn’t for your marriage. In fact, the world is avidly against your marriage. Stay in community with others who will hold you to your desire for a good and healthy marriage. Above all, cling to Jesus. The Gospel can take all the imperfections in your love and help you to begin making them right.

Journeying with you,

Your friend,






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