By Katie T. Kennedy, Crosswalk.com
What is God’s design for marriage? In this day and age, the world’s definition of marriage is rapidly changing. The Bible’s definition of marriage has never changed and never will. God has not left us alone to speculate what He meant when He created marriage. He equipped us with the Bible and many verses to reference on the subject. The Bible is our guide as we remind ourselves and teach our children about God’s design for marriage.
The anti-Christian message is coming at us with great force. We must guard our hearts and minds to stay grounded in the truth.
What Is God’s Design for Marriage?
Man did not create or invent marriage. God did. It was His intent for a man and a woman to share a life. Marriage will never be perfect. When two sinners are united in matrimony, the relationship is guaranteed to have ups and downs. That is normal and expected.
In Genesis 2:23-24, God makes his design for marriage clear. “This is now bone of my bones and flesh of my flesh; she shall be called ‘woman,’ for she was taken out of man. That is why a man leaves his father and mother and is united to his wife, and they become one flesh.” The marriage of Adam and Eve is a model for us how God recognizes and blesses marriage. He was the original creator of marriage. God realized Adam’s need for companionship. He decided making another human being suited for Adam was best.
Genesis 2:18 says, “The Lord God said, “It is not good for the man to be alone. I will make a helper suitable for him.” No suitable helper was found, so the Lord created Eve. After God created them, God blessed them and said, “Be fruitful and increase in number; fill the earth and subdue it.” Genesis 1:28.
Author Gary Thomas says we can appreciate what God designed marriage to provide: partnership, spiritual intimacy, and the ability to pursue God — together. The Bible is clear and precise about what a marriage looks like and its purpose.
Where in the Bible Does God Say His Design for Marriage?
God’s design for marriage is defined in Genesis 2:19-24. He created the earth and decided it was not good for man Adam to be alone, so He created a companion for him. God’s creation of marriage is again reiterated later in the Bible in Ephesians 5:31-32, “For this reason a man will leave his father and mother and be united to his wife, and the two will become one flesh. This is a profound mystery – but I am talking about Christ and the church.”
John Piper explains the mystery Paul mentions above, “The union of man and woman in marriage is a mystery because it conceals, as in a parable, a truth about Christ and the church. The divine reality hidden in the metaphor of marriage is that God ordained a permanent union between His Son and the church. Human marriage is the earthly image of this divine plan. As God willed for Christ and the church to become one body (Gal. 3:28; 1 Cor. 12:13), so He willed for marriage to reflect this pattern—that the husband and wife become one flesh (Gen. 2:24).”
Marriage is created for a bigger purpose than just itself. Marriage is a depiction of our relationship with God. We are called in this life to love, study, know and respect our God. That is also our calling for our spouse. Our marriage relationship is one of the ways we can glorify God here on earth. If we have been entrusted with a spouse, we have an opportunity to show them God’s love. This is, of course, not an easy task, but one that’s worth the effort.
I would be neglect to mention that not all Christians must get married. There are people God calls to the single life, and their purpose is extremely important.
How Has the World Twisted God’s Design for Marriage?
The world has rebelled against God. Society encourages everyone to play God and make their own rules, an anything-goes approach. This is contrary to the Bible, but not a new concept.
Starting in Genesis with Adam and Eve and continuing throughout the Bible are examples of where humans struggle to follow God’s rules. We desire to follow our fleshly desires and will do so if we don’t mortify sin. The world is trying to reduce the importance of marriage and the family unit God designed. They tell you to marry whomever you want, including yourself and animals. As we reviewed the verses in Genesis above, God is very clear about his definition of marriage. The world has taken what God has created and bent it to fit their desires. The Bible teaches many virtues such as perseverance, servanthood, love, forgiveness, humility, and patience. God wants us to fight for our marriages instead of seeking “happiness” in the next moment. Marriage is a long-term commitment, not a short-term solution.
The message you are receiving from the mainstream media is that you “deserve” certain things. They are pushing self-importance and independence. As we read in Genesis, God’s plan for marriage is a union, one flesh, not two people living out their own desires.
Marriage is a relationship of sacrifice, putting the needs of another before your own. This is challenging and goes against our fleshly desires. If we are following God’s design of marriage, we must think about how we can help support our spouse, not ourselves.
How Can We Act Out God’s Design for Marriage?
We live out God’s design for marriage in the little decisions of everyday life. We work hard at our marriage to be a model for those around us. We display a healthy, not perfect, relationship for our kids. We show our children when we are obedient to His plan and design; God blesses us greatly.
We need to teach the youth and our children the true definition of marriage. The world is shouting a different message. We must educate them at a young age and prepare them to expect tension on this subject. We must read and teach them the Scriptures and pray for them.
Every marriage will have difficult seasons. We have an opportunity to walk with our friends when they are going through a rough patch. If we are struggling in our marriage, don’t hide your struggles; get help. Reach out to your pastor, Christian counselor, and faithful friends who will support you and speak truth into your lives. The enemy would like nothing better than for you to give up on your marriage. I believe God will reward those who dig deep, work hard, ask for forgiveness, and keep trying again and again. It’s not always going to be pretty, but when you learn to fight through those challenges together, you will be stronger on the other side. As Christians, we have an incredible opportunity to live out God’s beautiful design of marriage to those around us. Every day we have the chance to lift our spouses up and let them know how important they are to us. We get to show them God’s love.
God doesn’t make mistakes. When He designs or creates something, He intends it to be that way. We must remember when two sinners are paired together, there will be turmoil. God is there to help us, support us, and guide us through the tough times. Thankfully, God pours out his grace for us. Don’t turn from Him because you think your mistakes are too big. Other than our relationship with God, marriage is the most important relationship in our life. Yet sometimes we give it the least attention (I’m guilty of this often). God knows what’s best for us, and we must trust in Him and His plan for our life. When God designed marriage and a family, He knew we as sinners would struggle. Yet, His design is so beautiful and filled with joy, laughter, and abundant blessings.
Related Resource: Listen to our FREE podcast on marriage: Team Us. The best marriages have a teamwork mentality. Find practical, realistic ideas for strengthening your marriage. Listen to an episode here, and then head over to LifeAudio.com to check out all of our episodes:
Katie T. Kennedy lives in Richmond, VA. She is married to a wonderful husband Jonathan and they have three girls. She is a writer, blogger, and employee of the family business. After a mid-life spiritual transformation, she discovered her love of writing. She loves to travel, read, be in nature, cook, and dream. She would love to connect with you online at www.katietkennedy.com, Instagram or Facebook.