Keeping God’s purposes at the forefront of our marriages helps us maintain healthy relationships. But what is the purpose of marriage? Is it more than simply finding someone you are compatible with and enjoying physical intimacy? Is there a higher purpose?
We believe there is.
In this article, we will discuss eight things the Bible says about marriage.
Rob and Jenny’s Crossroad Crisis
Not long ago I met Rob and Jenny. A mutual friend introduced us. They were both in their mid-40s and had been married for 20 years. They were Christians who loved God but were struggling in their marriage.
They told me they wanted to get back together after being separated for several months. Their relationship was not working out well.
In fact, it seemed like everything that could go wrong did. They felt stuck; they didn’t know how to move forward or even if they should try to make their marriage work again.
I asked them some questions to help them zero in on an underlying issue in their relationship. I started with a few basic questions about what they thought the issues were. I then probed a little deeper to find out what they believed about marriage.
What purpose do you think your marriage serves?
At that point, Rob said, “I don’t really have any idea.” He added, “Our marriage has always just kind of happened. We’ve never talked about why we got married or what we want from each other.”
Jenny chimed in, “It seems like we’re just going through the motions. It doesn’t seem like we have much passion anymore.” She continued, “We used to love each other so much. Now we hardly ever talk to one another.”
After hearing these comments, I encouraged them to take time to read the following passage:
31 “Therefore a man shall leave his father and mother and hold fast to his wife, and the two shall become one flesh.” 32 This mystery is profound, and I am saying that it refers to Christ and the church.
We discussed it together for a moment, but I encouraged them to spend time contemplating this passage and then discuss it together after asking God to unpack it for them.
I’ve used this exercise with many couples through the years. Sometimes it’s a different verse, but the goal is always the same: Find out what God has to say about it, and discover how it can shape your perspective.
8 Reasons God Gives Us For Marriage
Over the years I’ve kept a journal of what I’ve discovered about marriage. I’ve noticed eight things God says about our union as husband and wife.
These concepts have shaped my understanding of marriage, as well as, deepened my relationship with Christ.
These eight concepts are foundational truths about marriage that every Christian couple needs to understand.
Note: These are broad concepts that are fleshed out in other articles. This serves as a starting point and basic list.
1. Marriage Is A Reflection of Christ and the Church
I find it fascinating that God uses marriage as a picture of our relationship with Christ.
This is the heart of Ephesians 5:32 (speaking of marriage)
32 This mystery is profound, and I am saying that it refers to Christ and the church.
Marriage is an object lesson of God’s relationship with us through Christ. How we relate to our spouse should be an example to the world of how God desires to relate to us. In essence, we are God’s object lesson so the world will see how He cares for us (them).How we relate to our spouse should be an example to the world of how God desires to relate to us. In essence, we are God's object lesson so the world will see how He cares for us (them). Click To Tweet
It is impossible to exhaust this subject, but there are three areas we should note:
- Faithfulness (of God)
We should care for our spouse in the same manner Christ cares for us. Anything short of this is missing the mark of what marriage is intended to be.
It is one of the reasons there is so much frustration, hurt, and bitterness in marriage; we have moved away from connecting to its spiritual roots.
2. Marriage Expresses Completeness and Union
We find this passage in Genesis 2: 24
24 Therefore a man shall leave his father and his mother and hold fast to his wife, and they shall become one flesh.
God desires us to experience union (not just unity, but union). The idea of becoming one flesh is powerful. We often dismiss and diminish its impact on our lives.We were made for union (oneness) with God. He uses marriage to explore this concept with us. Click To Tweet
We were made for union (oneness) with God. He uses marriage to explore this concept with us.
3. Marriage Is A Training School
Dennis Peacock says, ‘Maturity is measured in our ability to solve problems.’
There is no greater (better) testing ground than a couple living together under one roof learning to work together for the common good.Dennis Peacock says, 'Maturity is measured in our ability to solve problems.' There is no greater (better) testing ground than a couple living together under one roof learning to work together for the common good. Click To Tweet
Growing in maturity encompasses many (most) areas of life. Here are three that we see over in scripture. I’ve also noticed this when talking to many couples.
These three areas are important aspects of our training in maturity.
- Strength training
The purpose of marriage is to give us an opportunity to grow in maturity. To learn how to work together as partners. How to deal with conflict. How to love sacrificially. How to serve others. And how to live out faithfulness.
We explore these ideas more in other articles.
4. Marriage Brings Companionship
In Genesis 2:18, we find these words:
18 Then the Lord God said, “It is not good that the man should be alone; I will make him a helper fit fora] him.”
Man was never intended to be alone. He was made for relationships. This goes for both men and women. We are made to connect.
God considers the highest form of earthly relationship companionship to be marriage.
We are not to be involved in marital relationships that are based on lust, selfishness, self–gratification, or on any other basis other than love and commitment. Instead, we are to be involved in relationships that are based on love, self–sacrifice, and commitment.
Our relationships are to be characterized by the same qualities that characterize our relationship with God.
To the extent that we are committed to pleasing God, we will be committed to being a blessing to our spouse and to live in a way that will bring glory to God. If we are faithful to our spouse and to God, we can be assured that we will be blessed and our lives will reflect the joy of the Lord.
5. Marriage Is Partnership
Again, Genesis 2:18 paints an interesting picture:
18 Then the Lord God said, “It is not good that the man should be alone; I will make him a helper fit fora] him.”
God reveals the idea of a helper. This is not a one-sided coin. We are to help each other. In essence, we are designed to work together.
God made us to need each other.
We all have unique gifts, talents, and abilities. We are to use these to partner in creating something for God.
We are not designed to do it alone. We were made to work together, to be a community. It is only when we work together that we can see our vision realized.
The greatest thing about working with others is that we are able to learn from each other. We can assist and support each other in our quest for God. We are to use our gifts and talents to serve each other and our community.
When we work together, we can support each other, and we can see the vision of the community of God become a reality.
6. Marriage Offers Joy and Pleasure
Genesis 2:25 is interesting:
25 And the man and his wife were both naked and were not ashamed.
Naked and unashamed has implications that go far beyond the physical; it contains an element of emotional, spiritual, and mental openness. It implies a level of comfort with one another where nothing is hidden.
There is joy in discovering our spouse. Learning to know them and value them.
7. Marriage Is For Procreation and Family
In Genesis 4:1 we find Adam and Eve beginning their family.
Now Adam knew Eve his wife, and she conceived and bore Cain, saying, “I have gottena] a man with the help of the Lord.”
This is one of the things God desired from the outset – be fruitful and multiply (Genesis 1:28).
God is a family man. We come into alignment with His big-picture purpose when we build families.
This is not to condemn or shame those who are not able to have children. In fact, there are many ways to create a family. The church is a family. Adoption is an option.God loves community. Marriage and family is the smallest unit of community. it is where life takes shape and love, acceptance, and forgiveness are practiced in tangible ways. Click To Tweet
The point is, God loves community. Marriage and family is the smallest unit of community. it is where life takes shape and love, acceptance, and forgiveness are practiced in tangible ways.
8. Marriage Extends God’s Kingdom Program
28 And God blessed them. And God said to them, “Be fruitful and multiply and fill the earth and subdue it, and have dominion…
15 The Lord God took the man and put him in the garden of Eden to work it and keep it.
These verses are crucial to our understanding of God’s ultimate purpose. We are not simply waiting around to make it to heaven. We are called to extend God’s garden to fill the earth.
God invites us to partner with Him in bringing heaven to earth.God invites us to partner with Him in bringing heaven to earth. Click To Tweet
Marriage is one way God intends to do this. By showing the world His goodness by making marriage beautiful.
God will cover the earth with His glory.
God has something specific you are to bring to planet earth in your marriage: you have a unique, specific, and definite call to add value and bring heaven to earth through your marriage. It’s your goal (obligation) to discover that call and live it.
Final Thoughts on the Purpose of Marriage
Understanding God’s purpose in marriage is essential to living out our own purposes as married couples.
It is important to understand why God created marriage. He made it so that we could fulfill His plan.
In this article, we listed eight things in answering the question: What is the purpose of marriage?
- 8 Reasons God Gives Us For Marriage
- 1. Marriage Is A Reflection of Christ and the Church
- 2. Marriage Expresses Completeness and Union
- 3. Marriage Is A Training School
- 4. Marriage Brings Companionship
- 5. Marriage Is Partnership
- 6. Marriage Offers Joy and Pleasure
- 7. Marriage Is For Procreation and Family
- 8. Marriage Extends God’s Kingdom Program
We have resources available to help you create the marriage you desire and deserve.
The Healthy Marriage Quiz
If you want specific help for your marriage, or you want to know your healthy marriage score, take the marriage quiz. You’ll get immediate access with suggestions on how to improve your relationship.
The Healthy Marriage Toolkit
Books, Courses, Programs, and Tools designed to help you create the marriage of your dreams.
Five Simple Steps Marriage Course
Marriage doesn’t have to be complicated. In this 5 part mini-series, you’ll discover practical steps to redesign your marriage.
Healthy Marriage Academy
Our courses will help you build a strong marriage. Each course is designed to meet a specific relationship need.
If you are having serious marriage struggles, we recommend starting with ‘Save the Marriage System‘ by Lee Baucom.