When Scott and I married back in 1991, it was the next step on my list of what you do in life. Graduate college- check; get a job- check; get married- check. It was the logical step to reach the next steps- buy a house, get a dog, have a child, live happily ever after. This check list and my understanding that marriage was supposed to make me happy were not enough...we divorced on our 14th wedding anniversary. Read more about that here.
When we do not know the purpose of a thing, we will ultimately misuse it and break it. ~Voddie Baucham
As we look around in society and see almost fifty percent of marriages failing and ending in divorce, it is clear that as we allow society to determine the purpose of marriage, we misuse it and break it. This hits close to home as we see couples around us struggling in their marriages, and because of our own experience, it is part of what drives us to share God's truth, hope and vision for marriage.
At the core of everything we do for marriages, we must go back to the purposes for marriage. If you don't know what marriage is for, you will be perpetually unhappy and unsatisfied as your marriage doesn't meet our expectations and the purposes YOU have for your marriage. After all, when you use something for an unintended purposes, say a screwdriver to change a sparkplug or pliers to pluck your eyebrows, you'll be frustrated, disappointed, aggravated, and likely damaging the screwdriver, the pliers, the sparkplug and your forehead.
So if marriage isn't to make you happy, what are the purposes for marriage as ordained by the Creator?
Purpose One: Mutually Complete Each Other. Right there in the garden in Genesis 2, God created man and said it wasn't good for him to be alone. In God's perfect timing, He sovereignly chooses to bring a man and woman together in marriage for them to be greater together than they would have been apart. It's the Rocky theology- "I got gaps, she got gaps, we fill each other's gaps." Your spouse, by divine design, completes you. Have you considered the ways that you and your spouse's weaknesses and differences make you stronger as an interdependent team?
Purpose Two: Multiply a Godly Legacy. Next, God tells us in Genesis to be fruitful and multiply and fill the earth. Why? Because it is God's plan for the family to be a nurturing place where children grow up learning character, values and integrity; how to live and relate to their God. Raising our children to become strong men and women of God is the first, most personal evangelism mission we have! When we raise them as godly men and women, they will reach people for Christ that we never could have.
Purpose Three: Mirror God's Image. God chose the marriage relationship to reflect His character to the world. It is only with God's love that we can love. It is only with His forgiveness that we can forgive. It takes God's patience to be patient. Through the marriage covenant of "til death do us part", we reflect God's Word- "I'll never leave you or forsake you." The people around us should be able to see our marriage and get a glimpse of what God is like. What does your marriage say about God?
These purposes of marriage are light years away from what Scott and I thought marriage was about when we first said "I do." Knowing these purposes and walking them out changes everything. When we said "I do" the second time, we made that covenant understanding why this marriage would look very different than our first one together. We broke the first one because we didn't know it's purpose- we are determined, with God's help, to use this marriage for the purposes intended by its Creator.
Is there happiness in marriage? Absolutely. And better than happiness is joy. Marriage isn't sunshine and roses and the instant gratification of sprinting, but the deep joy of choosing God and each other every day, doubling joy and halving sadness as you walk through life together.
Are any of these purposes a surprise to you? Why did you get married?
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