Understanding the Purpose of Marriage From a Biblical Perspective
In the beginning, God created the heavens and the earth, and He finished His masterpiece by making man and woman in His image (see Genesis 1:26-27). Genesis 2:7 states, “Then the Lord God formed a man from the dust of the ground and breathed into his nostrils the breath of life, and the man became a living being,” and just a few verses later, we see that God did not believe it was good for the man to be alone, so He made a helper suitable for him. Genesis 2:21-22 says, “So the Lord God caused the man to fall into a deep sleep; and while he was sleeping, he took one of the man’s ribs and then closed up the place with flesh. Then the Lord God made a woman from the rib he had taken out of the man, and he brought her to the man.”
So, we know how important creating man and woman is to God and His kingdom, but what about marriage? Men and women could exist independently of one another, but before Genesis 2 ends, we see clearly in scripture God’s design for the purpose of men and women. Genesis 2:24 states, “That is why a man leaves his father and mother and is united to his wife, and they become one flesh.” Marriage has always been a part of God’s plan—it’s rooted in creation.
Sadly, many are questioning the purpose of marriage, believing it isn’t relevant anymore. The percentage of American adults who are currently married has declined from 58% in 1995 to 53%, according to a 2019 Pew Research Center survey of nearly 10,000 U.S. adults. Do you feel marriage is no longer relevant? Or, do you know others who think this is the case?
As a Christ-centered ministry, the sole basis of our beliefs is in the Bible, which is core to everything we do. So, we invite you to dig deeper with us into looking at the purpose of marriage and why it’s still relevant today from a biblical perspective.
1. Marriage provides companionship and the opportunity to mirror your personal relationship with Jesus Christ.
“The Lord God said, ‘It is not good for the man to be alone. I will make a helper suitable for him.’” —Genesis 2:18
It’s important for us to remember first that God created us in His own image (Genesis 1:27) and for relationship with Him (Matthew 22:34-40, John 17:3). God knows every ounce of our being (Psalm 139:13), and He loves us despite our imperfections (Romans 5:8). We can communicate with Him, and we know He is trustworthy and faithful (1 Corinthians 1:9, Psalm 145:13). Ultimately, He sent His son to sacrifice His life for us (John 3:16-17).
What is unique about your relationship with your spouse is that it provides earthly companionship as well as the opportunity to beautifully mirror the relationship you have with Jesus Christ. When you share an intimate companionship with your spouse, you can emulate the characteristics of your relationship with Jesus. Notice how the aspects of your relationship with Jesus from the paragraph above transfer to your marriage relationship.
First, in a healthy marriage, you get to know every part of your spouse intimately—physically, mentally, and emotionally. Second, you get to show your spouse love and grace despite their imperfections. Third, you communicate deeply with your spouse, and you build trust as you’re vulnerable with each other. And finally, instead of life being all about you, there’s opportunity for you to encourage and love your spouse to be all God has called them to be. Ultimately, one of the most important purposes of marriage is to reflect God to a broken world that desperately needs to know what He is like. It’s important to note that marriage is not the exclusive example of an earthly relationship that display’s Christ’s character, but it is one example.
2. Marriage provides the opportunity to come together as one and multiply.
“God blessed them and said to them, ‘Be fruitful and increase in number; fill the earth and subdue it.’” —Genesis 1:28
God purposed marriage to be the sacred place where two humans become one flesh (Genesis 2:24). Husbands and wives can partner with God in the miracle of life. If you and your spouse choose to and can have children, you have the gift of pointing them to Jesus Christ by having a healthy marriage relationship. As detailed above, your healthy, not perfect, marriage is the first place where your kids will learn about Jesus.
When your marriage is strong and you and your spouse work together as a team to create a warm, safe home, your children stand a much better chance of thriving. Not only will they learn valuable life lessons and skills, but they’ll also learn who God is and the importance of honoring Him with their life.
3. Marriage allows husbands and wives to complement one another and build each other up, and it also represents Christ and the church.
“Therefore encourage one another and build each other up, just as in fact you are doing.” —1 Thessalonians 5:11
All Christians are called to build one another up, and in much the same way in marriage, you’re also called to build up your spouse. In marriage, two people, who were raised in different families and homes, come together as one to help each other become all that God has purposed them to be both individually and as a couple. If you married your spouse so they could complete you, you will be disappointed. Only God can complete you (Psalm 73:26). However, God created husbands and wives to perfectly complement one another in their specific roles in their family, and doing so is the best representation of Jesus Christ’s relationship with the church.
Differences will not ruin your marriage. It’s not surprising that you’ll be good at things your spouse isn’t good at and vice versa. This might be as simple as one person is better at doing laundry than the other, but it could also be that one spouse is more patient than the other. Regardless, when the two of you were united together in marriage, you were given the opportunity to serve, love, honor, cherish, encourage, and help the other be all God called them to be. What an incredible calling!
When you choose to partner with God by participating in His design and purpose for a Christian marriage, your marriage represents Him to those around you. Despite a shift in culture where the importance of marriage is diminishing, as husband and wife, you and your spouse can be a healthy example of a relationship that points others to Christ.
“You are worthy, our Lord and God, to receive glory and honor and power, for you created all things, and by your will they were created and have their being.” —Revelation 4:11
If you’re reading this, and you’re currently single or you’ve never been married, we encourage you that your highest calling in life is to glorify God, whether or not you’re married (1 Corinthians 10:31). When you’re married, the Biblical purpose of marriage is to honor and glorify God. This is still your calling in singleness, as well. And, if you never marry, your life can speak to and be a representation of the character of God. What an honor!