What is the Purpose of Marriage?

Rev. Deb Koster

November 3, 2021

What is the purpose of marriage anyway? Marriage seems so risky--does it really have value for our society? Does scripture speak on the value of marriage? Here are a few reasons from scripture showing why God thinks marriage is a good idea:

For reflecting the image of God

“In the image of God he created them, male and female he created them” (Genesis 1:27). We see the image of God more completely in our marriage relationship. People will come to know God through the love that we show one another. What a powerful thought that God is seen (or not seen) through the way that I treat my spouse!

For partnership

The Lord God said, “It is not good for the man to be alone. I will make a helpmate suitable for him” (Gen 2:18). We often misunderstand the word helpmate or "ezer" by translating it to being a subordinate and not a true partner. The word "ezer" is used elsewhere in scripture as a warrior and defender. This same word is used to describe God himself, who we can all agree is definitely not an inferior sidekick! So we can see that God intended a powerful team that works as a warrior to defend the family and carry out God’s will here on this earth.

For redemptive purposes

Scripture tells us that “for this reason a man will leave his father and mother and be united with his wife and they will become one flesh” (Gen 2:24). Part of leaving is forgiving past hurts in order to be united with your spouse. We are called to establish boundaries that protect our marriage from destructive outside influences and to work to strengthen our relationships with one another.

For reflecting God’s relationship to the church

“For the husband is the head of the wife as Christ is the head of the church, his body, of which he is the savior. Now as the church submits to Christ, so also wives should submit to their husbands in everything. Husbands love your wives, just as Christ loved the church and gave himself up for her” (Ephesians 5:23-25).

We can see the love and care that God has for his church by the love that we show to one another. A loving marriage gives us a glimpse into the love that God has for the church. We can recognize the great love that God has for seeing the church flourish.

For intimacy and pleasure

“Rejoice in the wife of your youth…may her breasts satisfy you always” (Proverbs 5: 18-19). Our marriages were intended to be places where we enjoy each other intellectually, spiritually, emotionally as well as physically. Marriage can be truly awesome when we take the time to get to know our spouse and delight in each other.

For procreation

God blessed them and said to them “be fruitful and increase in number” (Gen 1:28). This was one of the first instructions given to mankind in the Bible. It should never be considered the main purpose of marriage. There are many marriages without children which glorify God and are a witness to the rest of the world. Marriages can be procreative in other areas besides having children within the marriage. Couples marrying later in life beyond child bearing still have much to contribute. Couples without children have unique opportunities to influence others in their community that those busy with children at home might never experience.

For child rearing

“Train a child in the way that he should go, and when he is old he will not turn from it”(Proverbs 22:6). Those who do have children are responsible for bringing children up in the training and instruction of God. A husband and wife working in partnership is the ideal environment for raising children. Parents have an opportunity to guide their children to know God's love and live as faithful disciples.

For prevention of sin (against God and others)

“But if they cannot control themselves, they should marry, for it is better to marry than burn with passion” (1Corinthians 7:9). This is not even close to a primary reason for marrying. It is merely an acknowledgement that sexual passion belongs inside of a marriage and not outside of it.

We need to look into the functions of marriage seen in the Bible and educate couples concerning the plan God has for marriage. Couples may think that their relationship is only for themselves, but we can see in scripture that our relationships play a much bigger role in society. Our marriages serve many purposes for us and for society. Marriage is the building block of our society, so when our marriages are stronger than our society will be too.

About the author — Rev. Deb Koster

Deb Koster is a producer, writer, and speaker for Family Fire. She is also an Innkeeper at The Parsonage Inn in Grand Rapids, MI where she leads marriage retreat on weekends. After over 20 years as a Registered Nurse, she completed a Master of Divinity degree and was ordained as a pastor in the Christian Reformed Church. Deb and her husband Steven enjoy doing ministry together and they are the parents of three awesome young adults.

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