Tuesday, July 26, 2011

Your Wife, Your Bride

Jon Acuff writes at Stuff Christians Like on peculiar evangelical jargon:
It weirds me out a little when a guy refers to his wife as his “bride.”

Unless it’s your wedding day, telling me, “I need to go see my bride,” sounds a little strange to me. If it’s your big day and you’re about to go down the aisle, bride it up. Say bride all day long like it was your J.O.B. Go bride wild. I’ll even get in on the action and say things like, “Your bride looks beautiful today.” Or “It’s going to be amazing for you to see your bride walk down the aisle!” I’m 100% down for calling your wife “bride” on the day you get married.

The day after your wedding? I’m not so sure.
Jon then lists 3 reasons why it's weird.

Let's keep in mind that Jon is largely a satirist, is poking fun at this evangelical cliche, and that above all that he is only stating this as his opinion, not saying that it's wrong to call your wife your bride.

But this perspective has gained some traction in other corners recently, and it's starting to sound as if the point is that it makes no sense to call a non-newlywed wife a "bride." But it actually makes good gospel sense to call a non-newlywed wife a bride.

For one thing, the church is called the Bride of Christ, and we've been established for at least 2,000 years (though foreknown before time began). But there is also a Scriptural precedent for regarding our wives as the "brides of our youth." See Proverbs 5:18-19 for instance:
Let your fountain be blessed,
and rejoice in the wife of your youth,

a lovely deer, a graceful doe.
Let her breasts fill you at all times with delight;
be intoxicated always in her love.
We are told to always enjoy the wife of our youth, which indicates "as if you were just married." And "be intoxicated always in her love" speaks to maintaining that lovedrunkness from day one through the end.

To love our wives in a gospel-centered way is not let our love grow cold, but to keep at fanning the flame of joy we had in her the day we were first wed! Most wives I know would love for their husbands to be as interested in them and as satisfied in them today as they were on the day of marriage. And thinking of our wives as our "brides" is a way to do that with Scriptural precedent.

It is a great gift of grace to love our spouses ever-newly, to cover the passages of time and age, the familiarity of closeness, and the perpetual conflicts in marriage relationships with the approval and the love of the wedding day. And the gospel empowers our ability to do this.

Of course, if your wife hates being called a bride, you shouldn't call her that! But neither should you drop the term just 'cause some blogger thinks it's silly and others decided it was a cliche. :-)

(Then again, I'm also the weirdo who thinks it's cool that husbands think their wives are "hot." I could understand if that's all they said or thought about their wives, but when did we decide it was bad for men to find their wives very attractive? What a bunch of complainers we are. We'll always find something new to be irked about.)


bobw said...

my bride is definitely hot, and I'm not afraid to say so. although I usually refer to her as my wife

Jared said...

Bob, me too. :-)

I don't know when the last time I called my wife my "bride." I know I have, but it's not customary. Still, I find it silly to argue against the use of the word.

Bliss Spillar said...

I have only been married for a little over 2 months so my perspective is not as deep but it is a joy and a privilege to call my wife "my bride" and "hot" :)

Today I came across this blog that attacked most of what the author considered "cliche" and "overused" Christian terms so I was glad to see you post this today as well.


Jen said...

My dad has always referred to my mom as his bride as much as his wife. I've always kind of liked it as much as I've thought it's corny.

Seth said...

It's all semantics. Words and terms are important but we have to major on the majors. The wife/bride cliche is not particularly impactful to our understanding of what a wife is in my opinion so why worry about it so much. There's my 2 cents : )

JT said...


You are in good company!


Posted with smile!


Dubbahdee said...

People who complain about this have too much time on their hands. Since when has "you two act like newlyweds" become a pejorative?

Dubbahdee said...

After further thought, let me also add this.

If a man is calling his wife "bride" to draw attention to himself, in a wink-wink, nudge-nudge, let me show you what a great husband I am kind of way -- yeah, that's kind of gross.

But if it is merely a winsome expression of real affection - that's an entirely different story.

In other words, if his use of the expression is really about HIM, it's not such a good thing. But if it's really about HER -- it is to be appreciated for what it is.

Dane Ortlund said...

I agree, Jared.

bill said...

I'm think that for fun I'm just going to start doing all the things that irritate the bloggers on the "stuff Christians like" (although Acuff is the best of them and relatively edifying), "jesus needs new PR", etc blogs that spend all their time pointing at the Bride and saying in their best Nelson Muntz: "Haw Haw". Because I'm sick of the constant message that boils down to, basically, "you're uncool and you embarrass me".

Heaven will be populated with nerds. I cannot wait. :-)

(and I do call my wife my bride now and then. I never had any idea that was something that Christians do that is laughable.)