The Purpose Of Marriage by God’s Design

purpose of marriage“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. “
Ephesians 5:31-32 ESV

Why does marriage exist? It seems like a silly question but one that must be answered in order to understand the purpose of marriage. The answer to this question is the basis for all creation. Likewise, all Christ followers must understand why they and everything exist. For this answer, I turn to how I have been teaching my children this answer.

Every night, Melissa and I do a family bible time with our kids before they go to bed. We pray together, read the bible, discuss what we read, sing praise songs, and then pray again. We also go through the children’s catechism. The catechism is nothing more than questions and answers. It is a summary of the principles of Christian beliefs in the form of questions and answers, used for the instruction of Christians. The first five questions answer everything, even the meaning of life.

Q. 1. Who made you?
A. God.

Q. 2. What else did God make?
A. God made all things.

Q. 3. Why did God make you and all things ?
A. For his own glory.

Q. 4. How can you glorify God?
A. By loving him and doing what he commands.

Q. 5. Why ought you to glorify God?
A. Because he made me and takes care of me.

Ultimately, as all things in creation, marriage exists for God’s glory. Everything points to the Lord who is the creator much like a painting points to the painter who created it. With all creation though, unlike a painting, the created has the ability, on its own, to reject the creator. A marriage also has the ability to reject the Father and His plan for how a marriage should be like. As with all creation, when it follows the creators design, blessings come from its creator. If a painting is used as a rug, it ceases to be a valuable painting because it is being used in an improper way. Likewise, when a marriage is used in an improper way, its value lessens and does not bless the creation.

There are Three Main Purposes of Marriage:

  1. Picture of God and His People (Israel)

  2. Picture of Christ and His Church

  3. Procreation

Picture of God and His People (Israel)

“19 And I will betroth you to me forever. I will betroth you to me in righteousness and in justice, in steadfast love and in mercy. 20 I will betroth you to me in faithfulness. And you shall know the Lord.”
Hosea 2:19-20 ESV

priorities

Marriage is a reflection of the relationship between God and his people and Christ and his church. Since the fall of man, God desires to reconcile Himself to His creation. From Adam and Eve in the garden to today, history is full of ways the Lord has tried to reconcile himself with his people. The Lord never desired to be separated from his creation. Adam and Eve were meant to walk with God for all eternity. Because of the fall, man was separated from God with the only way to be reconciled to him being through Jesus Christ.

What God desires from all humans is for them to love Him with all their heart, soul, and mind (Matthew 22:37).  The way to do this is explained in in the Psalms.

3 Trust in the Lord, and do good;
dwell in the land and befriend faithfulness.
4 Delight yourself in the Lord,
and he will give you the desires of your heart.
5 Commit your way to the Lord;
trust in him, and he will act.
6 He will bring forth your righteousness as the light,
and your justice as the noonday.
Psalm 37:3-6 ESV

As God’s people follow this Psalm, they are walking in the ways of the Lord and He will bless his people because they are delighting themselves in the Lord. When God’s people turn away from Him, they are like a bride running away from her loving husband who wants to bless her. The Israelites, because of their sinful nature, continuously turn away from the Lord to other gods who are actually not god’s (Jeremiah 2:9-13).


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You see signs of this one-way marriage relationship between God and his people throughout the entire Old Testament. From the Israelites having Aaron make a golden calf while Moses (Exodus 32:7-9) was on Mount Sinai talking with the Lord, to the Lord speaking through Malachi saying that his people have turned aside from the statutes and are robbing him of his tithes and contributions.

“7And the Lord said to Moses, “Go down, for your people, whom you brought up out of the land of Egypt, have corrupted themselves. 8 They have turned aside quickly out of the way that I commanded them. They have made for themselves a golden calf and have worshiped it and sacrificed to it and said, ‘These are your gods, O Israel, who brought you up out of the land of Egypt!’” 9 And the Lord said to Moses, “I have seen this people, and behold, it is a stiff-necked people.”
Exodus 32:7-9 ESV

To illustrate the relationship of the Lord and His people, God uses a man named Hosea and a prostitute named Gomer. This is a heart-wrenching story of how the Lord has his Prophet marry a prostitute who continually turns away from him to search after her lovers. Even though Gomer is continuously unfaithful to Hosea, he continually pursues her. The book of Hosea is all about this relationship and illustrates how hard hearted the Israelites were towards the Lord their God.

We don’t see much of who Hosea or Gomer were before they were used by God to display this marriage but what we do see is that Hosea was the Lord’s prophet and Gomer was a prostitute. The Lord tells Hosea to take himself a wife of whoredom and have children of whoredom with her. The reason why the Lord chooses a prostitute is because the Israelites commit great whoredom by forsaking the Lord and going after other gods.

“2 When the Lord first spoke through Hosea, the Lord said to Hosea, “Go, take to yourself a wife of whoredom and have children of whoredom, for the land commits great whoredom by forsaking the Lord.”
Hosea 1:2

After their marriage Hosea and Gomer have three children whose names are very symbolic. The Lord gives each child a specific name in a specific order. The first child’s name is Jezreel. The Lord gave him this name because he is going to punish the house of Jacob who for all the bloodshed of Jehu in Jezreel (2 Kings 10:1-11). The second child was a daughter the Lord named No Mercy because the Lord will have no more mercy on the house of Israel to forgive them at all. Lastly, the Lord names their third child Not My People declaring that Israel is not his people any more.

“Rejoice not, O Israel!
Exult not like the peoples;
for you have played the whore, forsaking your God.
You have loved a prostitute’s wages
on all threshing floors.”
Hosea 9:1

Once her children have been weaned, Gomer returns to her prostitution and becomes unfaithful to Hosea just like people of Israel when they prostituted themselves to other gods forsaking the Lord. The Lord has very strong words to the three children to plead to her mother to turn away from her prostitution, adultery, and whoring. Gomer/Israel has gone after many lovers who she believes will give her food and clothing and special things, the Lord will cause her to be stripped naked and remove his blessings from her because she has acted shamefully. The Lord causes hedges and walls around her so she will not be able to pursue her lovers (Hosea 2:2-6)

Gomer pursued her lovers until she comes to the realization that even though she pursues them, she will never be able to find them and keep them. The more she runs after her lovers the more they flee from her. After she comes to the realization she will never attain her lovers, she realizes life is worse now than when she was with Hosea. He treated her with love, charished her, nourished her, and remained faithful to her even though she was unfaithful. No matter what she does in her unfaithfulness, she does not get fulfilled like she did when she was with her first husband (Hosea 2:2-7).

Hosea 2:8-11 shows a very interesting and perplexing picture of how God treats His people who turn away to other Gods just like Gomer turned away from her husband to other lovers.

“And she did not know
that it was I who gave her
the grain, the wine, and the oil,
and who lavished on her silver and gold,
which they used for Baal.
9 Therefore I will take back
my grain in its time,
and my wine in its season,
and I will take away my wool and my flax,
which were to cover her nakedness.”
Hosea 2:8-11

It was Hosea who provided for Gomer in her chasing after her lovers. He, like the Lord, provided food, clothing, money and other things she needed to live as well as for her to pursue her lovers.  Why did Hosea do this for her? First, because the Lord called him to, and second, he loved her. Love is an action one does on behalf of the object of its affection. Just like the Lord loved his people so much that He provided for their needs as they were going after other gods, the Hosea loved Gomer by providing for the needs of his bride even though she was unfaithful.

The marriage of Hosea and Gomer is the relationship of God and His people Israel. This is the first purpose of marriage. The second purpose of marriage is to illustrate the relationship between Christ and His Bride the Church. Jesus is the Bridegroom and the Church is His Bride.

Picture of Christ and His Church

“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.”
Ephesians 5:31-32 ESV

Since the beginning, the Lord created marriage as a means for the humans He created to glorify Himself. Likewise, marriage was designed to glorify God in the union of a husband and wife. The relationship between a husband and wife continues its illustration from God and His people to Jesus Christ and His bride the church. We see Paul’s words from Ephesians 5:31-32 showing us that marriage is a profound mystery but that it relates to Jesus Christ and the Church.

5-priorities

The conventional relationship between Christ (Bridegroom) and His Church (Bride) shows how a marriage can glorify the Lord. You glorify the Lord by following his commands and loving Him. Same goes for marriage. If your marriage follows His commands and love Him, He will use you to glorify Himself and bless you in all that you do. Using Jesus as our example, husbands and wives can see how they are to glorify God in their marriage. Christ treats His bride (the church) the way a husband should treat His bride. The Church is supposed to treat Christ as the wife is to treat her husband.

The Lord designed the roles of husbands to imitate Christ and the roles of wives to imitate the church. There are many ways the bible explains how the relationship between Christ and the church should be. A relationship where Christ loves, leads, protects, blesses, and sacrifices Himself for his bride. Also, the Bible shows how the church should treat Christ who is her husband. The church is to submit, be sanctified, and be pure, without spot or wrinkle, holy and without blemish.


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  • Grow in love with your spouse again
  • Strengthen communication
  • Become one emotionally / spiritually
  • Build lasting love in your marriage

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Living up to the example that Christ sets is a tall for any husband to fulfill. I have to admit that I am not the best at acting like Christ every moment of everyday. My goal is to strive to be like Christ 100% of the time but that does not always work out. Admittedly, when I am hungry and tired I failed miserably. Since I am a morning person, I wake up and go to the gym at 4:30am and start the day at full speed. By the time evening comes my patients and gentleness escapes me very quickly. After my beautiful wife and I have put our four kids to bed, it is our time to relax and spend quality time together. Usually around 9:30 PM, I am very tired and tend to become irritable. I don’t always act as nice and patient as I should to my bride and find that I don’t show her the love she deserves.

In contrast, my wife is not a morning person. She is much more of a night person and is fully awake towards the end of the day when I am ready to go to bed. It is at these times that I fail her as a husband by not showing her the love that she deserves. What is fantastic about my bride is that she understands that about me and does her best to show me extra respect and honor during these times by not taking everything to heart.  She fulfills her role as a wife much more so than I do being her husband. That being said, we are both sinful fallen human beings that don’t get it right all the time. No one is perfect and neither will your marriage get things right all the time. Even thought that is the case, we must strive every day to be more like Jesus Christ and fulfill the roles the Lord has given us to serve Him.

When a husband and wife follow the roles they were created to fulfill, marriage becomes a blessing for everyone, including the children. The husband blesses the wife as well as the wife blesses the husband. As each spouse fulfills their roles, the roles for the other is much easier to fulfill and becomes a joy for the other to fulfill their role. When each spouse does not fulfill their role, the marriage becomes more difficult and the relationship between them becomes strained and burdensome.

When a husband loves and cherishes his bride as Christ does His church, his wife feels loved. When she feels loved by her husband, it is much easier for her to fulfill her role as the wife in the marriage. As the wife fulfills her role by being his helpmate and submitting to him as unto the Lord, he feels respected by her and honored. This helps him to show her even more love because she is fulfilling her role in helping him to do his.

 

Procreation: The Creation of Godly Children

The other purpose for marriage is to make babies and everything that entails.

Adam and Eve were created to walk with God from the very beginning and likewise, their children were meant to walk with God forever. It was not until sin entered the world that mankind was separated from God. Even though mankind separated from God, the purpose of marriage to create godly children is still in effect. The Lord does not want any to perish but for all to be saved (1 Timothy 2:4) and especially for the children of believers.

Many people have heard Deuteronomy 11:18 “You shall therefore lay up these words of mine in your heart and in your soul, and you shall bind them as a sign on your hand, and they shall be as frontlets between your eyes.” This is a fantastic verse that helps believers to realize that the word of God should be read daily and put into their hearts and into their soul.

Finding the Lord’s words on your hand and as frontlets between your eyes means that everything you do should be seen through God’s word. If you have a decision to make about your job, you will not help but run the decision through the word because God’s word is right in front of your eyes. If you reach out to move into certain direction, God’s word is there on your hand to direct and guide you in the way should go.

This verse is but was not meant to be read alone. The next verses show the main context of verse 18 and helps Christ followers to realize they need to raise godly children that love the Lord. Verse 18 is only one verse, and the next three verses show how you need to apply this to your life and marriage. Let’s read it in context with the other verses.

“18 “You shall therefore lay up these words of mine in your heart and in your soul, and you shall bind them as a sign on your hand, and they shall be as frontlets between your eyes. 19 You shall teach them to your children, talking of them when you are sitting in your house, and when you are walking by the way, and when you lie down, and when you rise. 20 You shall write them on the doorposts of your house and on your gates, 21 that your days and the days of your children may be multiplied in the land that the Lord swore to your fathers to give them, as long as the heavens are above the earth.”
Deuteronomy 11:18-21

Immediately after we are told how to apply God’s word to our lives, we are instructed that we are to teach them to our children and basically every single moment of your life. You shall teach them to your children by talking with them while you’re sitting in your house, when you’re walking around, when you lie down, and when you get up in the morning. We are to have God’s word written on our door posts and gates to her house so that when we’re coming and going from our house God’s word is the first and last thing we see. Our home needs to be devoted to the Lord and a place of instruction for our children for them to know the Lord.

Basically every moment you have with your child should be instructing them in the ways of the Lord because the Lord wants godly offspring.

The Purpose Of Marriage by God’s Design
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