The Purpose of Marriage

What is God’s Plan for Marriage?

No need to look far into the Word of God to find the purpose of marriage. In fact, it’s right in the beginning. Genesis tells us the beginning of everything starting with the creation of the universe and culminating with the creation of man. Everything was good except one thing. God said, ‘”It is not good for the man to be alone. I will make a helper suitable for him.” Gen 2:18. In one sentence we see God’s purpose for the marriage relationship; companionship.

Companionship

Adam looked around at God’s creations and didn’t take long to realize a dog really ISN’T a man’s best friend. (1). Adam had everything in the Garden that he needed but one thing; someone to share it with.

Creating woman wasn’t an afterthought by God. The process by which God designed woman was intentional to demonstrate both the husband and wife’s role in the marriage relationship and the care they must apply to those roles. (2)

Adam must understand that a woman is equally important to God as a man. God not only created Eve to meet Adam’s needs, but Adam is also required to meet Eve’s needs in this relationship. God demonstrates the importance of these respective roles as He compares it to His relationship with the church. (3)

Marriage Meets Our Needs

While we are always to look to God to meet our needs, God also tells us that He has designed marriage as a means to meet some of those needs.

1. Emotional Needs

What is a man’s greatest need? No, it’s not sex, although it is a close second. A man’s greatest need is respect. A man may look for respect in his work, sports or physique but none will be more important than the respect he gets from his wife. When a wife respects her husband both in words and actions she is meeting his greatest need and the result will be a fulfilled husband and a happy relationship.

A woman’s greatest need is security. A woman feels valued and loved when she feels safe physically, emotionally and financially in the relationship. When a husband seeks to make his wife feel secure in those areas, he is demonstrating love and care for his wife and meeting her greatest need. The result will be a content and happy wife. You know what comes from a happy wife…a happy life.

You’ve heard the saying “a husband may be the head, but the wife’s the neck and she can turn it any way she wants”. Or the husband who says, “I don’t need to tell you I love you. I told you once and I’m a man of my word”

These statements are absolutely true…. in a dysfunctional family. Our goal as spouses is not to direct the head or the body where WE want but where GOD wants and God says let each one of you in particular so love his own wife as himself, and let the wife see that she respects her husband. (Eph 5:24-33)

Both husband and wife have the power to influence the marriage relationship. The question is, will we use that power for good, God’s way or evil, man’s way. Man’s ways are inherently selfish and destructive and will bring dysfunction to the family. God’s ways are loving and selfless and will bring joy and pleasure beyond our imagination.

Physical Needs

Intended for Pleasure

This may come as a surprise to some people, but sex is God’s idea. God designed our bodies not only for procreation but also for sexual pleasure. It’s only when sex occurs outside the marriage relationship that God calls it sin and the consequences are both physically, emotionally and spiritually damaging. (4)

However, in the marriage relationship, it is the most intimate expression of love between a man and woman and designed by God to fulfill our need for expressing and receiving love and affection. (5) In fact, an entire book in the Bible is dedicated to this expression of physical love. (6)

Intended for Help

Two are better than one.

The Bible tells us that two are better than one in giving much needed strength, comfort and support in life especially during difficult times. (7) God also tells us that not only is a wife a blessing in helping with the affairs of the home but that “a prudent wife is from the LORD” and can provide much wisdom in decision making in the relationship. (8)

We also see the importance of the marriage relationship in ministry. Aquila and Priscilla were used in a mighty way in ministering and spreading the gospel including opening up their home for worship.(9)

Intended for Procreation

God designed marriage for the purpose of building families “Has not the LORD made them one? In flesh and spirit they are his. And why one? Because He was seeking godly offspring. Malachi 2:15
While we are not commanded to have children, the Bible makes it clear that children are a blessing from God to fill our lives with joy. (10) It’s in the relationship of marriage that God provides this blessing. No one knows more than a single parent how difficult it is to raise a child alone which is why God says “I hate divorce.” (11) God has great compassion on the widow and the fatherless and is very protective of them. (12)

Summary

Humanly speaking, we will have many relationships in life, but none will be as important as that of a husband and wife. In fact, this relationship is so important that God compares it to His relationship with the Church and tells us this relationship must come before all other relationships including the ones with our own families. (13)

Nowhere in scripture are we commanded to marry. As Christians, we are first and foremost married to the Lord. Paul tells us “I promised you to one husband, to Christ” 2 Cor 11:2. As our loving Husband, Christ promises to provide for all our needs. (14)

However, God demonstrates from the beginning that we need companionship. God designed marriage as a means to meet that need if we so desire it. Marriage is one of the most intimate relationships we will have to share love with, build families with and to encourage and strengthen us in life, ministry and work. “He who finds a wife finds what is good and receives favor from the LORD.” Prov 18:22.

FOOTNOTES:
1. Gen 2:20
2. (Eph 5:23-5:25; 1 Tim 2:13; 1 Cor 11:3
3. Eph 5:25-31
4. Gal 5:19-21
5. Prov 5:19; 1 Cor 7:9
6. Song of Solomon; Song 5:13-16
7. Eccl 4:9-12
8. Proverbs 31; Prov 19:14
9. Acts 18:26; 1 Cor 16:19
10. Psa 127:3-5.
11. Psa 128:3-4 Psa 127:3 Malachi 2:16
12. Deu 10:18; Exo 22:22-24; Job 29:12; Psa 146:9
13. Genesis 2:24; Mat 10:37
14. Eph 5:29; Phil 4:19

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Joy Basham

Joy Basham has an extensive background in Christian studies and teaching. After attending Florida Christian College for 2 years, over the next 30 years she taught ladies Bible studies for 9 years, taught college girls for almost 2 years, and lead her church’s ladies ministry for a year. She was actively involved in her husband’s teaching of married couples for 20 years. She has also taught workshops, been the lead speaker at a conference on raising children, and taught MOPS (mothers of preschoolers) for 2 years. Over the years she has, with her husband of 33 years, counseled many couples on marital conflicts, and given premarital counseling to couples preparing for marriage. She has enjoyed raising 3 children, now grown, and the oldest has been married for 7 years.