There are at least seven reasons why God made marriage we can see and believe need to be reemphasized today in every way possible.
It is worth working to restore and nurture it in our churches, communities, nation, and in the hearts and minds of emerging generations. These reasons are deeply rooted in theology but also consistently confirmed in research — including the monumental work accomplished by the Dr. John Gottmann, acclaimed marriage expert.
The question is worth considering, and someone should write the book on it: How would our world be different if the value and place of marriage had diminished in our world one hundred years ago or one thousand? God has used marriage in untold ways as the birthing, nurturing and launching context for humanity. God created marriage for so many reasons; these include:
Reason #1 – Because loneliness is so bad.
At some point after God created the first male, Adam, he looked at him in his setting and made this observation that evaluated the man in that moment. Here is what he said – “It is not good that man should be alone (Gen. 2:28).” While aspects of Adam’s behavior, or mood, or disposition surely evidenced this assessment, it is also an apt ongoing sight to see all around us. God first spotted loneliness in Adam, the individual, and he did something about it. He filled the need. The remedy he chose was to make or draw someone “out of” Adam. In a sense, before God ever said “these two shall become one” through marriage – when God first made Eve, it was something more along the lines of this one shall become two.
Reason #2 – Because unity is so good.
In fact, unity is a reflection of God Himself. In the Old Testament, the Psalmist described the view of God towards the engagement of authentic community: “How good and pleasant it is when we dwell together in unity … For there does God command his blessing, even life forevermore.” (Ps. 133:1,3). Imagine the opportunity to be in a place where God “commands” his blessing. That is a family. In the Gospels, Jesus described such not-to-be-missed moments as the places he would show up: “Wherever two or three come together in my name, there am I in the midst of them (Matt. 18:20).”
Reason #3 – Because selfishness will shrink your world.
As we discussed in the last chapter, once Adam and Eve became aware of their sin and shame, the first thing they did was to “make coverings for themselves (Gen. 3:7).” The language used here would imply that instead of serving one another, they became more aware of themselves, not in an insightful way but rather more of a paranoiac one. Not only did shame enter the Garden and their hearts, so did fear and fear is the opposite of love. From that moment they moved into efforts to justify their sin and, instead of quickly repenting, they began to instead offer accusations of others deemed as more responsible than they in their failure. Selfishness diminishes our view and our souls.
Reason #4 – Because sharing will enlarge your world.
Chuck Swindoll has said, “We are never more like God than when we are giving.” Marriage provides a 24/7 context for men and women to practice love, giving and sharing in so many ways. Through marriage every day you and I can “serve one another in love” (Gal. 5:13), “deny [ourselves]” (Mt. 16:24), “put each other’s interests before our own” (Phil. 2:4), “humble ourselves” (1 Pet. 5:6), “submit [ourselves] one to another (Eph. 5:21), and “lay down our lives for a friend” (John 15:13). Counter intuitively, when we share or give of ourselves we don’t shrink or diminish. On the contrary, we emerge, expand and enlarge. “Give and it shall be given to you…” (Luke 6:38)
Reason #5 – Because a marriage can reflect the glory of God.
Marriage is the first context God made in which man could experience and practice unity and community. Ultimately, marriage is a reflection of the Divine Community, the Trinity. While some would assume that the “image of God” can best be viewed by an individual looking in a mirror, it would be more biblical to say it can be seen in unity, in community; not in a mirror, but more so in a marriage. Pamela would say a good marriage needs more windows than mirrors. In fact, the Bible begins with a “marriage” (Gen. 1 & 2), with the union of Adam and Eve and it ends with the “marriage supper of the Lamb” (Rev. 19:6-9), when Jesus and his Bride are reunited in heaven. The Bible is a marriage book.
Reason #6 – Because a marriage can produce godly sons and daughters.
This purpose for marriage in the Bible can easily be passed right over. In the space of a few words, the Bible tells us one of the great reasons for marriage – “Didn’t the LORD make you one with your wife? In body and spirit you are his. And what does he want? Godly children from your union. So guard your heart; remain loyal to the wife of your youth. (Mal. 2:15, NLT)”
Reason #7 – Because a marriage can reveal the heart of God and of his love for us as does nothing else.
In Ephesians 5, the Apostle Paul describes roles for husbands and wives in marriage. It appears his purpose is to help them rediscover some of the relational connection and motivation originally intended for the Garden. His description is two-dimensional, although some have tried to rigidly interpret it differently. In the sweeping context of Paul’s writings, he does not endorse autocratic approaches to family life or church life, but rather urges attitudes of humility, service and honor. Again, Paul draws the reader of Ephesians to ponder the great analogous nature of marriage as the “profound mystery” (Eph. 5:32) that it is. In fact, he uses it to describe the relationship of Christ and his church. Marriage is not only an opportunity, a relationship, it is a revelation of glorious relationship available to men and women in marriage and ultimately expressed in the joyous union that is the Trinity.
Marriage was God’s idea, and he had so many reasons for creating it. It’s time to re-emphasize those reasons.
Dr. Robert & Pamela Crosby
President/CEO, Executive Director of Culture & Development
Dr. Crosby is the President/CEO of Emerge Counseling Ministries. Prior to this role, he has served as the Vice President of Southeastern University and as Professor of Practical Theology in the Barnett College of Ministry & Theology. He holds a doctoral degree from Gordon-Conwell Theological Seminary and a PhD from Regent University.
Pamela Crosby serves Emerge as the Executive Director of Culture & Development. She received her M.A. from Southeastern University and is a Certified Life Coach.
Together, they are the co-founders of Teaming Life, an organization that equips couples and families to thrive. Their newest book together is The Will of a Man & The Way of a Woman: Balancing & Blending Together. They conduct services, seminars, and conferences on topics related to pastoral health, wellness, marriage, and team-building.