"This is a profound mystery (the marriage of a man and a woman) -- but I am talking about Christ and the church. However, each one of you also must love his wife as he loves himself, and the wife must respect her husband."
Ephesians 5:32-33 (NIV)
Who is Church: The Bride of Christ. We are His! Marriage is a covenant first of all, between a man and a woman. God chose this sacred union as an example of his love for the church. Man and wife promise to fulfill the plans God has for them in marriage. The very first covenant in the Bible was between Abraham and God. He gave Abraham all the land before him as a promise to him for all generations, that Abraham and his many descendants, more than the stars in the sky, would inhabit this land. (Gen. 15:18). This was God's promise to the father of the Jewish nation - Abraham.
The betrothal or engagement period is a counting of days, when the two fathers of the bride and groom decide upon a price for the bride. The fathers decided upon the marriage. The bride and groom were not given the right to choose who they would marry. The husband would be the owner of his wife. Husband means "owner." The wife was to obey her husband, giving him authority in all things. But God also charged the husband with loving and caring for his wife as himself, and being obedient to God the Father. She no longer was under her father's authority. She was to love and obey her husband as she loved and obeyed God. (Gen. 34:12; Hosea 2:19-20).
The wedding or celebration of the marriage covenant was cause for great joy and sharing in feasting and dancing which friends and family, enjoyed for 7 days. We, the church, are in the betrothal period. One day soon we will be taken to the Father who has chosen the bride for his son, Jesus. We will all rejoice in the marriage supper of the Lamb. Now is when Heaven, our home, is being prepared for the bridegroom's beloved. (Rev. 19:6-9)
God the Father knew that the church of Christ was not a pure, perfect bride. He bought us with a price--sending his son to be the perfect lamb sacrifice to pay for our sins. (John 3:16). Jesus Christ, the bridegroom, paid for his bride with his own life. When we accept this free gift - the bride price has been paid - we are then forgiven of all trespasses and imperfections, and can be presented to Christ as his perfect bride. Hallelujah! (Rev. 19)