Marriage: A Call to Die

“[Ephesians 5:25] is a naked call to love with a willingness to sacrifice, even unto death. Recognizing this, Mike Mason, author of the classic The Mystery of Marriage, says pointedly that marital love is like death – it wants all of us. I agree. If you do not understand this, you do not know what marital love is. It claims everything. Mason goes on by likening marital love to a shark:

‘And who has not been frightened almost to death by love’s dark shadow gliding swift and huge as an interstellar shark, like a swimming mountain, through the deepest waters of our being, through depths we never knew we had?’ 1

The realization of what this call means may at first be frightening, but it is also beautiful, because a man who embraces such a love will experience the grace of death to self. Marriage is a call to die, and a man who does not die for his wife does not come close to the love to which he is called. Christian marriage vows are the inception of a lifelong practice of death, of giving over not only all you have, but all you are.

Is this a grim gallows call? Not at all! It is no more grim than dying to self and following Christ. In fact, those who lovingly die for their wives are those who know the most joy, have the most fulfilling marriages, and experience the most love. Christ’s call to Christian husbands is not a call to be doormats, but to die. As we shall see, this can mean a death to our rights, our time, our perceived pleasures – all liberating deaths. This is truly a male thing, a masculine thing- for it takes a strong man to die.” 2


  1.  Mike Mason, The Mystery of Marriage (Portland: Multnomah, 1985), p.52.
  2. Hughes, R. Kent. “Discipline of Marriage.” Disciplines of A Godly Man. Wheaton, IL: Crossway, 2001. 35-36. Print.

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