Jesus’ Joy in Marriage
Husbands, love your wives, as Christ loved the church and gave himself up for her, that he might sanctify her, having cleansed her by the washing of water with the word, so that he might present the church to himself in splendor. (Ephesians 5:25–27)
The reason there is so much misery in marriage is not that husbands and wives seek their own pleasure, but that they do not seek it in the pleasure of their spouses. The biblical mandate to husbands and wives is to seek your own joy in the joy of your spouse.
There is scarcely a more hedonistic passage in the Bible than the one on marriage in Ephesians 5:25–30. Husbands are told to love their wives the way Christ loved the church.
How did he love the church? “He gave himself up for her.” But why? “That he might sanctify and cleanse her.” But why did he want to do that? “That he might present the church to himself in splendor”!
Ah! There it is! “For the joy that was set before him [he] endured the cross” (Hebrews 12:2). What joy? The joy of marriage to his bride, the church.
Jesus does not want a dirty and unholy wife. Therefore, he was willing to die to “sanctify and cleanse” his betrothed so he could present to himself a wife “in splendor.” He gained the desire of his heart by giving himself up for the good of his bride.