By Kim Young
Imagine…two people, staring into each other’s eyes with no cares in the world apart from each other, filing their hopes and dreams with the honeymoon stage of love, living happily ever after.
The fairytale marriage is often in our mind as we approach the thought of marriage for ourselves. Reality check. It doesn’t take long for reality to set in. So, what is the purpose of marriage? For some people, it has to do with companionship or signifying a life-long commitment to someone. For others, it is more about legal status and financial security. How would you define the reason for marriage?
If we travel all the way back to creation, we see in Genesis chapter one that everything God made was good. The land, sea, and sky and all that was in them, were deemed good. When God created man, it was very good. Genesis 2:20 says, “The man gave names to all livestock and to the birds of the heavens and to every beast of the field. But for Adam there was not found a helper fit for him.”
According to this chapter, God desired for Adam to have “a helper fit for him.” All that He had made was good. But verse eighteen of chapter two says, “Then the LORD God said, ‘It is not good that the man should be alone; I will make him a helper fit for him.’” The woman was created to be a helper, perfectly fit for her husband. (After the fall, we know that neither the husband nor wife are perfect, but they are in fact, perfect for one another.)
Woman was created perfectly, out of the man’s side. The fact that woman came from man’s side signifies that she is equal to him. Moreover, there is even more significance in the placement of the rib from which she was created. Coming from under man’s arm, it symbolizes his protection of her. And its proximity to the heart, attests to the fact that she is to be loved by him.
Just as the rib is found at the side of the man and is attached to him, the wife (from the rib of her husband) is to stand at her husband’s side to be his helper. She is to be his counterpart and her soul bound up with his. The woman is his very own flesh and bone. She is “bone of [his] bones and flesh of [his] flesh” (Genesis 2:23).
Notice another significant aspect in the Genesis account. Eve is brought to Adam and introduced to him by the Creator Himself. This is a beautiful picture of the first Father, bringing the bride to her groom. Adam’s response to the Lord is one of fulfillment as he declares, now, finally, at last!
As perfect companions, uniquely and strategically brought together by their Creator, a husband and wife are to unite to one another and join together as a new family unit. This is an inseparable relationship between a man and woman, as God intended. It is one of both passion and permanence.
As this new family unit forms, the marriage is made complete in unity. The first marriage in the history of creation was literally formed from man’s own bone and flesh. It sets the pattern for how later marriage is to be understood. It explains why marriage supersedes all other human relationships. The husband is to leave his family and cling to his wife.
This also signifies the importance of the marriage relationship over the parent-child relationship. More often than not, once the couple has children, they focus on different things — their job and their children. The marriage relationship becomes more of a roommate relationship, where both adults are coexisting in the home, but not making their one flesh relationship the main priority.
Christ should be the center of our homes. But next should be our relationship with our spouse. We must be asking ourselves on a regular basis, how am I working on that and protecting it to ensure that my relationship with my children isn’t superseding my relationship with my spouse?
God designed marriage, but did so after the creation of Christ and the church (Eph 5:31-32). He created this institution with the intention of being the means by which He will display the relationship between Christ and His Bride, the church.
Mark 10:8-9 says, “and the two shall become one flesh.’ So they are no longer two but one flesh. What therefore God has joined together, let not man separate.” God does the joining between a husband and wife. He performs this union. God spoke the design of marriage into existence. And what He joined together, “let not man separate.”
There are many dangers of drifting from the one-flesh commitment in our culture today. (These are not exhaustive, and by no means does this mean they never happen the other way around.) Men often desire different companions, not satisfied with the one God gave them. As time goes on and the two fall into the trap of coexisting, they grow distant. The husband often devotes his time to work or hobbies.
At the same time, women frequently begin to entertain lies, believing that they are not cared about or that their husband cares more about other things. Wives often make their kids their companions, or hold on to their own parents as their companions.
In Genesis 2:25, Adam and Eve were naked but not ashamed. This was portrayed as an innocence, like that of young children running around, unaware that they should be ashamed. There was no fear of being exploited.
After the entrance of sin, Adam and Eve noticed their nakedness. They ran to cover themselves and hide. Instead, God clothed them. This was the first death and sacrifice. An animal was sacrificed for the sin that Adam and Eve committed as husband and wife, not being one flesh nor unified together. This broke the one flesh covenant toward both God and one another.
As a pastor’s wife, I have attended many weddings in my life. However, we recently attended one that stood out to me for a few reasons. At the time of the vows, the pastor had the husband and wife-to-be repeat the vows two times. The first time, they made the vows to God, and the second time to each other. It was such a significant representation of the vows we make to each other, before the Lord and our spouse.
The perfect marriage is the one that puts the covenant relation of Christ and the church on display for the world. The perfect marriage exists to display the glory of God. We do this by staying married and growing in relationship to God and to each other. Staying married is not about feeling in or out of love. It is about keeping a covenant to God, and to each other. Covenant keeping is not an emotion. It is a covenant. It is an action.
God will never leave His bride. Therefore, our marriage should look the same as we strive to exemplify Christ and the Church. Marriage is from Him and through Him and to Him (Romans 11:36). Marriage is God’s display for His glory.
As husband and wife, you should plan to discuss the purpose of your marriage regularly. We have travelled several places around the world, and there are two institutions the devil wants to burn to the ground no matter where we are — the family and the church. If he destroys the family, the church is rendered ineffective. These are two separate institutions (but yet modeled and influenced as one) on display for the world to see.
Satan is absolutely attacking these institutions. But the scariest part is we often do his bidding. Instead of minimizing this spiritual warfare and allowing mundane opportunities to pass us by, what would it look like to stop the sinful patterns we have developed, refocus our mind on the purpose of marriage, and practice living as perfect companions for God’s glory?
In marriage, one sinner is marrying another sinner. But by God’s miraculous design and wonderful grace, our spouse is the perfect spouse for us. If you are married, your spouse is the perfect spouse for you, and you are the perfect spouse for them. God perfectly ordained us for each other, and He will use our marriages for His glory and our good.