In this month of May (month of the family), I would like us to think about a few topics with the series title “Biblical Values.” Today, we will think about “marriage,” the first and most basic unit that God has formed in the History of Redemption in which God establishes His Kingdom on earth.
It’s a special feeling to find one person that you love and to be loved by that person. That love may build up to marriage, a promise and covenant that they will love each other and no other for the rest of their life. The problem is that such feeling does not last very long unless it develops into a deeper and more mature love in a healthy way. So, let’s think briefly about marriage today.
1. Purpose of marriage
Marriage is a contract/covenant relationship between two individuals (man and woman). And this society supports it by institutionalizing it and protecting it. But when that agreement (contract) is breached, divorce ends the contract.
Why, then, do people get married?
(1) To satisfy an emotional desire
(2) To satisfy sexual desire/drive
(3) To satisfy the desire for stability
(4) To have children and family – for continuing the heritage
(5) To satisfy the desire to expand oneself
Genesis 6 tells us that people married whoever they wished. That desire has been around since the fall of mankind, but it led the world to destruction.
Again, it is not good to get married solely as a contract to fulfil one’s goals or desires. That also is not biblical. But we cannot limit marriage to just emotional love or physical attraction. Hopefully, marriage will help both the husband and wife to grow and develop.
2. Importance of marriage that the Bible teaches us
(1) Leave his father and mother (Genesis 2:24)
When we were babies and could not do anything, it is our parents who provided everything. They were everything and the basis of our existence.
But God tells us to leave our father and mother through marriage.
God is commanding us to ensure/secure independence in life through marriage.
God wants Christians and all mankind to be able to have an independent relationship with Him. This is a very important part of Christian life. And we can learn this through marriage.
(2) Become one flesh/body (Genesis 2:24)
Mankind cannot live alone even if one does not get married. We need to be in a society. We are interdependent on each other. Through marriage, we need to learn to form unity and become one through marriage. In society, we need to learn to live in cooperation as part of the whole also. In this relationship, husband and wife support each other, encourage each other, depend on each other, and create a bloodline. The reason for becoming one flesh is also to continue the seed. God wants His people to continue the seed/heritage of faith. Hence, God wants to see unity in faith through marriage.
(3) They were both naked and were not ashamed (Genesis 2:25)
Significance of “naked”
“Naked” means that one is vulnerable, helpless, without protection, without title, without protection, etc. God is telling us to learn to be vulnerable and honest with each other. We are to accept each other and ourselves without any covering. In marriage, we should be able to accept each other not with shame but with sympathy and compassion. It is through biblical marriage one can learn to be a good part of the society also.
3. Healthy relationship
As spouses accept each other and become united (one flesh), there needs to be mutual respect for severalty/individuation. If one spouse has to sacrifice him/herself for the sake of becoming “one” and the same, it is not good for the relationship in the long run. But it is also not good for them to live two separate individual lives as spouses. There needs a balance between independence and interdependency, a balance between individuality and unity. We need to learn to maintain a healthy distance and healthy intimacy with respect.
There is always a gap between the ideal and the real. One thing we must remember is that marriage is not a stage where our dreams and ideals are fulfilled automatically from the beginning. It is only a part of the reality in which we live.
What allows us to go the long way in our marriage is the shared values and direction. If the spouses don’t look in the same direction and each wants to head towards a different direction in life, their unity will only remain on the fleshly/physical level. For those who have faith and believe in God and His Word, their basis and foundation for values is the Word/Bible. That’s why it is even more difficult for the spouses in their marriage if they have different faith and beliefs.
Faith is not just one part of life. It defines one’s entire life’s direction and purpose. Hence, it will be a heavier matter. It’s easier when the two are so different but agree on their faith and about living according to the ways of God. The other gaps will become smaller.
5. Qualification and reason for marriage
One of the most important elements in marriage is love, but those who do not love themselves cannot share love with anyone, even their spouse.
We all lack in this area called “love.” Everyone may feel the emotional kind of love at first, but that love needs to deepen and mature to be able to embrace and accept our spouse. I need to be the one, even if there is no one else in the world, who can accept, encourage, and love that person. With love, even the wrong and weak areas can be corrected.
Marriage is where both the husband and wife learn and grow together. Our spouse is someone who will walk the path of life with us until the day the Lord returns or the day when we return to the Lord. And all the way until that day, we are to learn to love each other.
Conclusion: Purpose of the biblical marriage
Genesis 2:18 (NASB95) — 18 Then the LORD God said, “It is not good for the man to be alone; I will make him a helper suitable for him.”
“Helper”: עֵזֶר (ʿēzer) – one who helps, supports
The help is in regards to the work that God had given to Adam, to abad and shamar. Adam was like a regent king under God’s sovereignty, trying to expand God’s Kingdom. That’s the work that they were to do together.
“Suitable”: נֶגֶד (neged) – The verbal form nagad means ‘to tell, make known, disclose.” Neged is also translated as “corresponding, before.” It is someone who understand and correspond.
Adam is to tell and disclose the Word and will of God to her and she is to correspond. Marriage is a relationship where we correspond and help each other to fulfil our purpose as people created by God.