Posted: November 1, 2020
Jakob and Elisabeth paid dearly to have these pictures painted. In their time, people often had their portraits made before marriage—kind of like engagement photos today. But not everyone could afford to hire Bartholomäus Bruyn. He was one of the leading artists in Cologne.
One portrait without the other always seemed somehow incomplete. That’s just like marriage. It’s also like Adam and Eve. Remember in Genesis when God said, “It is not good that the man should be alone”? He then said, “I will make him a helper fit for him.” (Genesis 2:18) When Adam first saw the woman God made, he broke out into song. Rightly so! The creation of woman—and the creation of marriage—is something worth singing about! Adam’s song is the first song recorded in the Bible:
“This at last is bone of my bones
and flesh of my flesh.” (Genesis 2:23)
Soon after Mr. Bruyn painted them, the German couple were married. They became joined together for life—just as God intended. We don’t know a lot about what their life was like. But we can imagine they worked hard together raising their large family. Did they always agree? Probably not! But the two stayed together until Jakob died in 1567.
A good marriage is a deep friendship between two imperfect people. A three legged stool stands up better than a two-legged one. Similarly, a marriage works best when it has three participants: a man, a woman, and God. God supplies a man and woman with the love they need. As they serve each other with the strength God gives, their love grows. He gives them the ability to repent. They can forgive each other’s flaws and mistakes. Here’s another good way to describe marriage: two people forgiving each other again and again and again.
So they are no longer two but one flesh. What therefore God has joined together, let not man separate. — Matthew 19:6