Ask ten people why God created marriage and you may get ten different answers. Some options:
- God created marriage to populate the earth.
- God created marriage to keep people from getting lonely.
- God created marriage because two are better than one. Our different roles complement each other and make us a stronger whole.
There’s truth to all of these. But do they really explain God’s ultimate purpose for marriage? I don’t think so.
For instance, animals and plants have been able to populate the earth without marriage, so that answer falls short. Personally, I avoid loneliness by playing a round with a few golfing buddies. And there’s much more to marriage than just pairing up two people who work well together.
God’s plan for marriage was more complex and meaningful than any of these simple answers.
Genesis 1:27–28 reveals that God gave Adam and Eve a combined task—one neither of them could complete as individuals. It was “to fill the earth and subdue it.” That’s a big job. They needed each other.
But God also had a purpose that transcended the natural realm and lifted them into the spiritual realm. This purpose was so unique and supernatural that none of us will ever grasp it on our own. It can be found in Ephesians 5.
In this famous passage, Paul encourages wives to submit to their husbands “as the church submits to Christ” (v. 22). He tells husbands to love their wives “as Christ loved the church” (v. 25).
He begins the passage with the instruction that we “submit to one another out of reverence for Christ” (v. 21). He ends by referring back to the words God spoke to Adam and Eve about becoming “one flesh,” and indicates these words point toward Christ and the church (vv. 31–32).
Marriage, Paul is saying, is an archetype of Christ’s commitment to His people. How we relate to each other is intended to reflect our relationship with Jesus. Marriage gives us a small glimpse of God’s eternal covenant with humankind.
That is a breathtakingly meaningful purpose.
Through the covenant of marriage, we find ourselves ushered into the mystery of God. In a very real and dynamic way, marriage allows us to participate, supernaturally, with God’s divine nature.
God created marriage for His glory and to demonstrate God’s splendor and beauty.
You are married to display to the world God’s covenantal promise. That’s why He created marriage. And that’s why we take marriage so very, very seriously.