marriage as a (misunderstood) play

image courtesy of

If the church is a theater,
marriage is a play —
Christ’s good and perfect love
for his church to convey.

[The role of Christ is performed by a husband, and the church is played by his bride.]*

Our hero is steadfast in his devotion to his wife. His love is powerful and unflinching.  With great determination, he sets off to present his bride to the world as unparalleled in beauty, and of revolutionary perfection.  He guards her purity and fights for her honor.  His own life he deems of little import when hers is in danger.  And, in what would seem to be the end of our tale, this husband sacrifices himself in order to give his bride life. But this is not indeed the end of the play.  It is only the beginning.


The world the audience, they misunderstand. And their reactions and reviews vary greatly:

  • Some women are repulsed by the way they were portrayed as weak and in need of salvation.  And you can bet they won’t attend the sequel, which will surely involve both children and cooking.
  • Other women, though, swoon at the mere thought of true love, as they long for rescue — but wrongly believe they’ll find it in the arms of the next man they meet.
  • The men taunt and mock the actors — the husband for his sentiment and emotion, and the wife for donning a much too modest apparel.  “After all,” they complain, “we paid good money for an action-thriller, and we want to see some breasts!”
  • Outside there are demonstrators with signs.  They protest the absurdly conventional director because he didn’t have the backbone — or the creative imagination — to cast two men as the love interests in his production.


Even the Christians can’t come to a consensus on the play:

  • The Calvinists grumble at the scene where the young maiden chose to marry her suitor.  “HE elected HER,” they cry out, “and she should have no say in the matter.”
  • The social justice crowd believes the writers placed far too much emphasis on the rescue of the young damsel in distress.  “And they barely mentioned her great love for the peasants!”
  • Catholics and classical Arminians are angry the possibility was never mentioned that the young lady could have fallen out of love, cheated on her lover, and been divorced.
  • But the Southern Baptists really enjoyed that aspect of the play.
  • Missionaries worry there wasn’t enough care taken in the story to demonstrate that the husband searched — and found — his beautiful bride in a far away land.
  • And the Church of Christers are upset there was a pit orchestra.


As for me, I just hope my wife and I can do this play justice.  I’m a bit overwhelmed that I’ve been cast as Jesus in any production — much less one that’s for the world to see.  I pray that God will empower me to love my wife just as Christ loves the church.  And that he will be glorified in, and through, our marriage.  Amen.

* This post was inspired by Ephesians 5:22-33
This is the third post in a series on marriage.  Also see:  marriage is a hierarchy and marriage to an unbeliever (and sanctification the result)


Filed under family, modern-day retelling, poetryish, writing

15 responses to “marriage as a (misunderstood) play

  1. JMF

    You said:

    “I’m a bit overwhelmed that I’ve been cast as Jesus in any production —”

    Wow. That is a powerful line.

    The bad news is that we wouldn’t have the orchestra, the good news is that our arguments would allow the singer (perhaps me) to use a voice synthesizer like Lil’ Wayne, T-Pain, and Kanye use. Way cooler than instrumental accompaniment.

    For me, this was an effective illustration. For some reason it gave me a lot more clarity on how you view a husband’s role as it relates to a wife.

  2. Pingback: Proscriptive or Descriptive Marriage Play? « Shepherdess Writes

  3. Eagle

    I know this is about marriage….but I think it could be part of a bigger problem. Can Christians at times admit that Christianity is an act? Can Christians admit that they are sinful and not perfect? That they struggle with finances, lust, balancing work, having good marraiges, etc.. Can Christians admit that their faith doesn’t have all the asnwers, and that they can’t be so certain about everything? Can Christians admit that God’s will is murky and at times an unknown? Can Christians admit that the prosperity gospel is deeply entrenched in evangelcial Christinaity and that the church is in denial about that problem. Is it possible? Can the Christian church admit that its divided and sinning against God’s command for unity? Can Christinaity in the United States admit that is has been corrupted by Amercian culture and has adopted some cultural values of success and the Amercian Dream and mixed them with the gospel? Can the Chirstian church admit that some of the crticisms from agnostics and atheists about their culure and problems actually deserve some acknowledgement? Can Christians admit that the mega church model is actually a business model and has no place in Christianity? Can Christians admit that they have turned their pastors, missionaries, worship team, and even their Bible into idols? Can Christians be honest about difficult questions (such as do people who don’t know Jesus because of their geographic or historic limitations such as someone who lived in China before Jesus walked the earth: is that person not saved because they didn’t Jesus?) and admit that their faith does have some problems? Can Christians be honest and admit that they have not treated atheists, agnositcs, gays, Catholics, and those of mainstream Protestantism often with no love? Can Christians admit that evangelical Christianity in the United States is a white, upper middle class movement that is born out of surburbia and not reflective of what God taught at all?

    Not trying to be difficult Brett, though this may be brutal but I think your post about marriage being an act is part of a larger problem…and that is that Christinaity for many can be an act and often a facade. In my 10 years as an evangelcal (with invovlement in Campus Crusade, several Biblical churches) I was shocked by what I saw, how people covered it up, lied, and put on a spiritual face. I also was shocked but how people who were honest about their sinful nature faced discipline by the Pharises. Christianity is often an act…

    Those are my agnostic musings for the day…


    • eagle, because i believe that (long) list of questions is rhetorical, i’m not going to even attempt to answer them by speaking to them individually. but as a general group of questions, i believe the answer is, “yes, some of them.” there are a lot of christians out there who will gladly admit many of the things you’ve stated — and then apologize as well.

      yet there are other things they might not admit. for instance, i know that christianity is not an act for me. nor is it for many christians i know. and, yet, for others christianity is indeed an act; they’re pretending to be something they’re not.

      christianity suffers from people claiming the name of Christ while actually living otherwise. perhaps they are acting, or maybe they just don’t get it. either way, the result is that others view their lives as representative of having a relationship with Christ. and i don’t think it’s fair or right, but then these others will paint all of christianity as being like these pretenders. i wish it were otherwise.

  4. You rock. I pray that the love and sacrifice in your marriage be a mirror of Christ and His church.

  5. very creative – loved this man. I think I need a continual reminder that marriage is sacrifice at its core.

  6. I have to second what Charlie said. Very creative and I enjoyed reading it. I like how you combine both the seriousness of the subject (marriage) with a little humor (pit orchestra, etc).

  7. Carley

    I love the critics’ reactions, secular and Christian both, and I laughed out loud at the pit orchestra! 😀 Well written, Brett!

  8. Pingback: marriage is a hierarchy? | aliens and strangers

  9. Pingback: marriage to an unbeliever (and sanctification the result) | aliens and strangers

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s