The Powerful Purpose of Marriage

Tish Hedger, MA, PLPC

The Powerful Purpose of Marriage

What is the goal of marriage? Why did you get married? For romance, for companionship, security, because it was the next logical step? There are many reasons people get married. But when all the presents have been unwrapped, all the friends and family have gone home, when the tux has been returned and the white dress is packed up in the closet, what remains? 

What Is The Ultimate Purpose Of Marriage?

I want you to consider marriage from God’s vantage point. He is the Founder and Creator of marriage. When creation was new and marriage was beginning, God told the first man and woman, “Therefore a man shall leave his father and his mother and hold fast to his wife, and they shall become one flesh. And the man and his wife were both naked and were not ashamed.” Genesis 2:24-25 (ESV)
The ultimate purpose of marriage is that you would be one with your spouse. 
But “we are complete opposites!” you cry! “Oneness?! We can’t even agree on what restaurant to eat at!” you say. If oneness or unity is the goal, what does it look like What does being one with your spouse mean?  To understand oneness with our spouse we must first understand our oneness or union with Christ.
Christ went to every effort to make way for our union with Himself. The cross has made us one with Christ and has crushed the dividing wall of hostility, between God and us.  In speaking of the power of sex to unify two individuals, Paul says “The two will become one flesh. But whoever is united with the Lord is one with him in Spirit.” 1 Corinthians 6:16b-17. 
The intimacy and unity in marriage are meant to symbolize and parallel Christ’s unity with his Bride, the church. To those who believe, this unity means we have the mind of Christ, the righteousness of Christ, the inheritance of Christ, and Christ’s victory over sin and death. We have been made son’s and daughter’s alongside our brother, God’s holy Son. 

The Purpose Of Oneness

Being one with our spouse is a way our marriage enlightens the gospel.  Pursuing oneness with our spouse is a critical way our love for God is expressed and a primary way we glorify God. 
The body of Christ has been made one through the blood of the cross, and yet, we wait for the return of Jesus that will bring to fulfillment this work of unity.  In the meantime, we strive for oneness with God and with the family of God because we have already been made one.  In the same way, Our oneness with our spouse is built on the foundation of our oneness with God and flows out of our oneness with God.  In marriage, all basis for our unity is found in the gospel work of Jesus.
Our inheritance as children of God is the covenantal truth that makes our oneness with our spouse possible. 
To be in covenant with God means that you have trusted in the work of the cross.  It means you believe the cross made the payment of sin you owed and purchased your righteousness.  It means the very righteousness of Christ has been put on you.  It means you have been converted from a child of wrath to a child of God and you have become sons and daughters alongside the Son of God and have been given His birthright and inheritance in the kingdom of God.  In this, you have covenanted with God and He with you. 
Now, look at your hand, the ring you are wearing signifies you are in covenant with your spouse. You vowed, “For better or worse, I am yours and you are mine.   In wealth or poverty, sickness or health I am yours you are mine.  When I fail you, when you fail me.  In the midst of our sin, brokenness, affliction I am yours and you are mine.  This is a covenant.
We call ourselves Christians, meaning little christs  Meaning we are to display the character and attributes of Christ, and that we are always seeking to reflect Him more accurately.  As we are little christs our marriage covenants are little covenants. Little covenants to the eternal  Covenant we have with God through Jesus Christ.
God desires that we would be engaged in the process of becoming more like Christ.  It takes effort and discipline to grow in our relationship with God, this is sanctification.  Our marriages are in this same process of becoming.  Marriage requires intentional cultivation to maintain health, overcome trials, or heal through hurt.  

Why Trials Are An Opportunity

In our sanctification process, God uses trial and difficulty to help us grow. 
“Count it all joy, my brothers, when you meet trials of various kinds, for you know that the testing of your faith produces steadfastness. And let steadfastness have its full effect, that you may be perfect and complete, lacking in nothing.” James 1:2-4
“Not only that, but we rejoice in our sufferings, knowing that suffering produces endurance, and endurance produces character, and character produces hope…” Romans 5:3-4
This is a truth for our marriages.  God sometimes allows difficulty and trials within our marriage because He plans to redeem our pain for a purpose. God is able to re-purpose our suffering for His glory and for our good.
One way we experience this testing and difficulty is through relational pain, misunderstanding, and conflict. When we experience these things in our marriage, may the powerful purpose of marriage urge us to action.
We want to reframe our thinking around the trials we face in our marriages.  Instead of seeing it as ONLY a threat may we also see an opportunity for redemption and sanctification.  May we remember this when we pray our general prayers of equipping. God make me a better wife. Lord, grow me to be a better husband.” “Father help my marriage.”
What if God has allowed the pain of trials to touch our marriage in answer to our prayers?
It’s the testing that can grow in us God’s steadfast character that we might actually experience the growth we have prayed for and hoped for. 
When we are feeling all the good feelings and things are going smoothly that’s when we tend to think our marriages are bringing the most glory to God and when marriage is hard we may come to the conclusion we must be failing.  But it’s in the moments we are hurt, confused, or feel lost in our marriage we could be achieving the greatest victory.  It is critical in these moments we lean into the truth that God is good and He does good.  Whatever He is allowing in our lives it is for our ultimate best. 
Are you hurting or feeling desperate in your marriage today? Reach out for help. There is hope and help for you. 
Embrace the powerful purpose of your marriage. The Holy Spirit is always ready and willing to empower our efforts of perseverance and health in our marriages. 
May our little covenants stand on tip toes and point with all their might to the eternal and cosmic Covenant, God has made with his people.

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