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Religions 2014, 5(3), 623-647; doi:10.3390/rel5030623
Article

Evangelicals’ Sanctification of Marriage through the Metaphor of Jesus as a Husband

Received: 15 March 2014 / Revised: 26 June 2014 / Accepted: 17 July 2014 / Published: 29 July 2014
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Religion, Spirituality, and Family Life)
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Abstract

Researchers have examined how perceiving marriage as “sacred” or believing God is manifest in marriage is associated with marital functioning and satisfaction, but little is known about how biblical family metaphors (e.g., God is father) inform Christians’ interpretations of family relationships. Few studies explore the perspective of individuals who believe in, interpret and apply these metaphors to their relationships. This study uses Hermeneutic Theory to examine how Evangelicals apply the metaphor of Jesus as husband and the church as bride to their intimate relationships and spirituality. Qualitative interviews with 15 Evangelicals explored the meaning, interpretations, and processes of marital relationships in light of the Christ-groom God image. Participants indicated many ways the metaphor was useful: value partners more; invest more in the relationship; strive to demonstrate love, patience, etc. toward partners; and guidance in relationship structuring. They discussed how their couple relationships opened positive and negative possibilities for relating to God. Gender hierarchy and implication that husbands are the “head” or “Christ” figure in marriage caused incongruence for some participants as did the difficulty of comparing a person or human relationship to a spiritual metaphor. Application, implications, and ideas for future research are discussed.
Keywords: sanctification; Evangelical; Christian; marriage; couples; gender; metaphors sanctification; Evangelical; Christian; marriage; couples; gender; metaphors
This is an open access article distributed under the Creative Commons Attribution License which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited.

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Zaloudek, J.A. Evangelicals’ Sanctification of Marriage through the Metaphor of Jesus as a Husband. Religions 2014, 5, 623-647.

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