If you are married or dating, you have likely wondered about God’s purpose for marriage. Perhaps you’ve been married for years, and you’ve gone through the “for better or worse.” Or you are engaged and desire to honor God in your marriage.
Wherever you are, know that God’s purpose for marriage is more than your circumstances today. It’s bigger than you know, and its design is to leave a legacy that passes on to the next generation.
Discover three purposes for God’s marriage that provide a framework for you to…
- Grow as a couple
- Understand each other
- Glorify God
God’s Purpose for Marriage
There are three “Cs” that reveal God’s purpose for marriage…
Kingdom Marriage Is About Commission
“And the Lord God said, ‘It is not good that man should be alone; I will make him a helper comparable to him.’”—Genesis 2:18
The commission of Christian marriage is to reproduce after God’s image.
Adam did not need someone to complete him. He was created in the likeness of God.
“Then God said, ‘Let Us make man in Our image, according to Our likeness…’”—Genesis 1:26
When we look for someone to complete us, we eventually start to look at our spouses as someone who is in competition with us. Why? Because we unknowingly put false expectations on the other person that only God can fill. A tug-of-war of sorts starts to break out about who is right and who is wrong.
We can’t look to another to complete us because that is God’s role. So then, one of the purposes of a marriage must be to reproduce children of God. Adam and Eve weren’t to create life after their image but after God’s image.
This reproduction doesn’t include just physical children. Perhaps you cannot have children, but you can spiritually reproduce. Are you spiritually sowing into others, showing them, and encouraging them to grow into the image of Christ?
- “But we all, with unveiled face, beholding as in a mirror the glory of the Lord, are being transformed into the same image from glory to glory, just as by the Spirit of the Lord.”—2 Corinthians 3:18 (emphasis added)
Our marriages should leave a legacy that outlasts our lifetimes and point the next generation to the God of eternity, to help them be transformed into the image of Jesus.
Marriage is for the Savior’s glorification, not for self-gratification. Don’t allow secular values to seep into the sacred institution of marriage. Your marriage should paint a picture of spiritual truth that points to Jesus—this is your commissioning. If everything you do is for God’s glorification, you will have great gratification.
Kingdom Marriage Is About Crucifixion
“Out of the ground the Lord God formed every beast of the field and every bird of the air, and brought them to Adam to see what he would call them. And whatever Adam called each living creature, that was its name. So Adam gave names to all cattle, to the birds of the air, and to every beast of the field. But for Adam there was not found a helper comparable to him.”—Genesis 2:19-20
Adam had dominion but no suitable partner. So what did God do?
- “And the Lord God caused a deep sleep to fall on Adam, and he slept; and He took one of his ribs, and closed up the flesh in its place. Then the rib which the Lord God had taken from man He made into a woman, and He brought her to the man.”—Genesis 2:21-22 (emphasis added)
The Hebrew word used here for “deep sleep” means a supernatural sleep. It is translated in other passages as death. Adam “died” a supernatural death to give life to his bride just like Jesus died to give life to His Bride, the Church.
God gave us marriage for our sanctification more than He did for our satisfaction. Sanctification means to be gradually conformed into the image of Christ. If we only love when our spouses are lovely, this does nothing for our sanctification. Therefore, let us love our spouses with long suffering love.
First Corinthians 15:45 says, “And so it is written, ‘The first man Adam became a living being.’ The last Adam became a life-giving spirit.”
God could have brought Eve from anything. He could have spoken her into existence. But He didn’t. God caused Adam to go into a deep sleep, then took a rib from his side. This was a picture of Jesus at Calvary. This is what He did for us.
The life that emerged from Adam’s side was a picture of the resurrection. John 19:34 says, “But one of the soldiers pierced His side with a spear, and immediately blood and water came out.” (emphasis added)
- Blood represents the natural life (Leviticus 17:14)
- Water represents spiritual life (Revelation 21:6)
God demonstrated His love while we were still sinners (Romans 5:8). This is how we should love our spouses, as Christ loves the Church.
- “Husbands, love your wives, just as Christ also loved the church and gave Himself for her, that He might sanctify and cleanse her with the washing of water by the word, that He might present her to Himself a glorious church, not having spot or wrinkle or any such thing, but that she should be holy and without blemish.”—Ephesians 5:25-27
In a marriage ceremony, the moment we say, “I do,” we also say, “I die.” In marriage, we are to die to self (put away the old self) to give life to another. If we choose to live selfishly, the marriage dies, but if we choose to live sacrificially, the marriage thrives.
Kingdom Marriage Is About Covenant
Christian marriage is not a contract that can be broken but rather a covenant that is binding, unbreakable, and irrevocable.
The words Adam spoke when he first saw his wife were, “This is now bone of my bones and flesh of my flesh; she shall be called Woman, because she was taken out of Man” (Genesis 2:23).
Adam made a theological statement. Later, Jesus would elaborate on this in Matthew 19:4-6, “Have you not read that He who made them at the beginning ‘made them male and female,’ and said, ‘For this reason a man shall leave his father and mother and be joined to his wife, and the two shall become one flesh’? So then, they are no longer two but one flesh. Therefore what God has joined together, let not man separate.”
The husband is to be the head, the leader, just as Christ is the head. The woman, who is from man, is a picture of the Church, the bride and the body. The two are to become one flesh.
- “Wives, submit to your own husbands, as to the Lord. For the husband is head of the wife, as also Christ is head of the church; and He is the Savior of the body. Therefore, just as the church is subject to Christ, so let the wives be to their own husbands in everything.”—Ephesians 5:22-24
God’s purpose for marriage is to be a picture of the covenant relationship between Christ and His Bride, the Church. Jesus gave this vow to His Bride…
- “Let your conduct be without covetousness; be content with such things as you have. For He Himself has said, ‘I will never leave you nor forsake you.’”—Hebrews 13:5
Marriage is not to be a contract that needs both parties to hold up their end of the deal—as 1 Corinthians 13:1 says, “…love keeps no records of right and wrongs.” God’s purpose for marriage is different from the world’s. It’s a covenant—binding and irrevocable because of His love. He’s already paid the price. Once you become married to Christ, a born-again child of God, your salvation does not hinge on what you do or don’t do. It hinges only on what Christ has done for you.
God’s purpose for marriage is to be a picture of His love to a watching world. When Christians understand God’s view of marriage and His purpose, they have stronger marriages, stronger families, and stronger communities. They grow as a couple, understand each other, and glorify God.
God’s purpose for marriage is to be a light in the darkness. Couples are to reveal the love of God in a world that does not know Him so that they may come to know Him.