In this blog I hope to demonstrate that a person’s spiritual identity before marriage is not reshaped but enriched through holy matrimony. The man and woman retain their spiritual identities as followers of Jesus and priests in God’s kingdom (1 Pet. 2:9). However, following a marriage ceremony, his or her spiritual identity enters into a divine partnership. The spiritual identity of a single adult must be established before discussing the mystery of a marriage relationship.

          The spiritual identity of a single adult is established upon (1) the creation account where man and woman were made in the image of God (Gen.1:26), (2) the infilling of the Holy Spirit that occurs at the moment of salvation as a result of one’s confession of Jesus as Lord and believing that God raised him from the dead (Rom. 8:8-10), and (3) obedience unto baptism and being clothed in Christ (Gal. 3:27). The man and woman carry their spiritual identities into a premarital relationship where they are responsible to develop a Christ-centered friendship (i.e., respect, honesty, trust) and shared values (e.g., financial management, communication, and conflict resolution). A marriage relationship is the trail-head of two individuals becoming “one flesh” through holy matrimony (Eph. 5:31).

         The identity of a single man or woman is based upon his or her relationship with Jesus. Once these individuals’ are firmly established upon their faith in Jesus, they are called to be incarnational representatives of God’s divine nature. The following points guide premarital couples toward establishing spiritual identities before marriage: (1) the primary responsibility of a woman before marriage is to glorify God in everything she does or says or accomplishes and to be an expression of his love, grace, mercy, and justice to everyone, and (2) the primary responsibility of a man before marriage is to glorify God in everything he does or says or accomplishes and to be an expression of his love, grace, mercy, and justice to everyone.

         Marriage forms men and women into a divine relationship known as “one flesh” (Eph. 5:31). However, marriage does not erase or diminish the spiritual identity that two people had as single adults. The following points help to describe the progression of a shared identity for married couples. The primary responsibility of a wife is to glorify God in everything she does or says or accomplishes and to be an expression of divine love, grace, mercy, and justice to everyone, especially to her husband. The primary responsibility of a husband is to glorify God in everything he does or says or accomplishes and to be an expression of divine love, grace, mercy, and justice to everyone, especially to his wife.

          The marriage relationship (one-flesh) creates a third transformation: The primary responsibility of a husband and wife is to glorify God together in everything they do or say or accomplish and to be an expression of his divine love, grace, mercy, and justice to everyone, especially to each other and to their children. Couples form a shared identity that is complementary to their spiritual identity as followers of Jesus. Each person in a marriage is responsible to fulfill his or her calling as a follower of Jesus as well as a faithful spouse.