May 25, 2024

1 Corinthians 13:4-8 says, “Love is patient, love is kind.” Both Christians and the secular world use this verse at weddings, in movies, in literature and more. However, rarely is the deeper, richer meaning explored. Valentine’s Day is a holiday all about love. Often, we talk about love as being a “what,” but in reality, love is a “who.” The Bible states that God is love itself, He is the essence and personification of love. 

Dr. Christina Gonet, professor of theology, explained the origins of marriage. Marriage, love and romance all began in the Garden of Eden by God’s design. The first humans to walk the earth were also the world’s first love story and marriage. God created Eve from the rib of Adam to be his wife and helper.

“God chose to create men and women to live in this intimate relationship with one another, to have children and to help each other grow closer to God,” Gonet said. 

Biblical marriage runs deeper than just romance. Gonet explained that husbands and wives enter into a covenant relationship that involves unwavering commitment, humility and partnership. According to Gonet, marriage is a gift that needs to be nurtured and protected to reflect God to the world. She has found that Ruth and Boaz are a beautiful example of a godly marriage. 

“After Ruth’s husband, brother-in-law, and father-in-law all die, she stays faithful to her mother-in-law, Naomi, and moves with her back to Bethlehem,” Gonet said. “It is there that she meets Boaz. Boaz is a close relative, and he marries Ruth in order to provide for her and Naomi and to continue Ruth’s first husband’s family line. Boaz and Ruth both put others before themselves and conduct themselves honorably before the members of the family and community. And it is through their family line that God chooses to have King David and Jesus be born.”

Many readers of the Bible may find the book Song of Solomon confusing and struggle to find a gospel tie. Gonet shed some light on the book and its purpose. 

“Song of Solomon is Old Testament wisdom literature,” Gonet said. “It gives us a picture of living rightly before God and with others. The book uses poetry to provide a positive view of the love between a husband and wife. They long for each other, seek each other out and want to be together.”

Gonet noted that Genesis 2:18 states, “It is not good that the man should be alone.” She found this particularly interesting, considering Adam is not alone in the garden as he is with God.

“God makes Adam a ‘helper fit for’ him. The two become ‘one flesh’ and contribute to cultivating a world full of human flourishing as God’s king and queen,” Gonet said. “It is so much more than sex or a contract. Two becoming one is a workmanship of God’s grace that involves all of one’s being.” 

Bella Ponce, CBU alumna in photography, shared her perspective on biblical marriage as a Christian wedding photographer. Ponce explained that the idea of submission and leadership found in Ephesians often carries cultural baggage that lacks the ideas of love, respect and honor that is within God’s design. 

“Submission in no way is degrading despite what culture thinks,” Ponce said. “Because sin has distorted the way we look at things, we must go back to the Bible to see an accurate picture of the word submission. When we look at the Gospels, we read how Jesus was submissive to the will of the Father. It was Jesus’ delight to come under the care and authority of the Father.”

Damaris Alvarado, senior applied theology major, explained the significance of submission.  

“Submission is willfully coming alongside someone in support of their leadership to cultivate human flourishing. Christ-like leadership does not display itself through control, manipulation and abusiveness. It is self-giving and sacrificial,” Alvarado said. 

Ponce also debunked some of the cultural baggage surrounding the word “helper” found in Genesis 2 to describe Eve in relationship to her husband, Adam. 

“While some may see the term ‘helper’ as less significant, it is not because the Holy Spirit is also described as our helper (John 15:26). Is the Holy Spirit characterized as less than in the Trinity? By no means. There is equal value in each member of the Trinity but with different roles,” Ponce explained. 

When thinking of admirable godly couples in her life, Ponce cited her parents’ relationship as being a lovely example of God’s will for marriage.

“My parents’ prayer life together keeps their marriage as strong as it is. One of my favorite things about their marriage is how head over heels my dad still is with my mom,” Ponce said. “Yes, he still takes my mom on dates because husbands are to never stop dating their wives. He loves and cares for her so well.”

Ponce photographs couples and said she loves the front-row seat she gets in Christian couples’ young romance.

“I had the opportunity to photograph my friend’s proposal and something I deeply admire about their relationship is how they have treasured each other’s purity by saving their first kiss for marriage,” Ponce said. “They prioritized getting to know each other’s hearts first before introducing anything else; it’s definitely something you don’t see in today’s culture.”

Alvarado said she admires Jacob’s commitment and sacrifice towards his wife. Jacob worked 14 years to marry Rachel but the Bible tells us it “seemed to him but a few days because of the love he had for her,” (Genesis 29:20).” This passage can be seen as inspiration for our patience in relationships. 

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