Thursday, September 18, 2008

The Purpose of God in Creating Marriage


By B Ward Powers

God created us male and female (Genesis 1:27) so that we could participate in the relationship of marriage. Marriage is instituted by God for the blessing and enrichment of human life upon earth. It is to be the sphere within which the next generation is born and raised, of course (Genesis 1:28), but the Bible says far more about the purposes of marriage than this alone.

The first purpose of God for marriage was companionship. After God set Adam in the Garden he said (Genesis 2:18), “It is not good for a man to be alone”, and created Eve to be a companion for him. So also Malachi 2:14 (NRSV) says of a wife, “She is your companion”. And the husband similarly is to be companion for the wife. We will have many friends and companions in our lives, of course, but God’s intention is that your spouse is to be your companion in a very special way: someone who takes a unique interest in you, and shares all the circumstances of life with you (the good times and the bad times alike). We need to belong, to be wanted, and needed, and cherished, and loved, by another person in a very special way. We want to be very important to someone else, another human being, a person whom we in turn can care about, and want, and need, and cherish, and love, and who will be very important to us. When a husband and wife are able to give each other this kind of friendship, and acceptance, and recognition, it gives a new, richer, dimension to life, and loneliness is banished.

Moreover, we have economic and material and practical needs. The person who is in the position of living alone is well aware of these: the constant everyday problems of the business of living, coping with the providing and taking care of the requirements of food, clothing, and shelter, and the occasional special need or sudden crisis such as accident or illness, loss of job, and so forth. Plus the many times when it is simply a case of two heads (or pairs of hands) are better than one. How great an advantage it is to have someone sharing life with us who is there to help in all these matters, and in every other kind of difficulty and problem as well. Someone who will give us support and encouragement, and understanding sympathy, and practical help, when we need it – and to whom we can give any or all of these things when they need it.

We have other physical needs, too, of a different kind: sexual needs. This includes the need for sexual intercourse, but it is much wider than that, for sex is a great deal more than just the act of intercourse. It is also the lying close in the bed at night and the consciousness of bodies touching in this togetherness even when it does not go on to intercourse. It is the reunion after a period of separation, and the tender loving caress, and the unexpected warm hug in the kitchen for no particular reason, and holding hands staring together into the fire reliving old memories, or planning the creation of new ones, and the exploratory toe creeping out in the bed at night across no-man’s-land to make contact with the other after some silly tiff has created a gulf between. It is the ongoing knowledge of just belonging to another human being body and soul. Read more in “Marriage and Divorce – the New Testament Teaching”.

[Click for "Marriage and Divorce" table of contents, topic list or order info.]
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