by Heather Tietz
With all lowliness and humility, with patience, bearing with one another in love; being eager to keep the unity of the Spirit in the bond of peace.
We love the Apostle Paul’s writings because of his ability to explain heavenly things in down to earth terms. And nothing is more down to earth than marriage. It is the most vulnerable of all relationships. Married couples are fully aware of the blemishes, weaknesses, grumpiness, sicknesses, uncleanliness and bad habits that each other have. Marriage exposes the niceties and etiquette following that strangers and even friends are afforded as mere cover-ups for our truer nature.
And yet is in this bareness where the greatest love humans are capable of can be displayed. Paul says it is a place for respecting, cherishing, giving, honoring, leading, following, and selfless giving.
It may seem odd that a bachelor like Paul would give some of the most trusted marriage advice ever given. Although he did not marry, he had at one point been “caught up in paradise and heard inexpressible things, things that no one is permitted to tell” (2 Corinthians 12:4). What he did tell us is that the closest thing to paradise this side of heaven is a marriage that reflects Christ’s love for the church.