Marriage is a profound friendship
In his book, A Heart for God, Sinclair Ferguson writes:
Marriage has all kinds of purposes: it provides the environment in which children may be born and properly reared. It provides the context in which the sexual instincts can be exercised in a God-intended way. But first and foremost, Genesis teaches us it provides a very special friendship. In marriage, a man and a woman can become the best of friends, knowing each other to such a depth that only God knows them better!
Ferguson alludes to God’s assessment of Adam in Genesis 2:18, when he says, “It is not good that the man should be alone; I will make him a helper fit for him.” Only after the Lord forms Eve and unites her with Adam can he re-evaluate his creation and call it very good (Ge 1:31). Before Eve, Adam was incomplete.
A helper fills the gaps (Ge 2:18). He or she provides strength in areas of weakness. He or she complements the other, supplying talents, characteristics, and abilities the other lacks. Only together can they function as effectively as God intends. Only together do they discover the sweet satisfaction of their purpose fulfilled.
While exceptions to this biblical standard exist—see 1 Corinthians 7—most of us need the “very special friendship” marriage provides. I am certainly one of them.
As of August 13th, my wife and I have been married for twelve years. Though I could speak endlessly about our marriage’s beautiful and practical utility, this covenant relationship has proven even greater. When she cooks, and I wash the dishes, life is easier for both of us, but the real magic hides behind all the pragmatic benefits. We share a profound friendship like no other.
Yes, I need my wife, but I also want her. I crave her companionship. I pine for her company. Give me a choice between spending my time with her or anyone else in this world for any reason, and I will reply, “You haven’t given me a choice.” I will always choose her. No one needs to remind me of the commitments I made twelve years ago for the same reason no one needs to tell me to breathe or enjoy filet mignon. I will keep my vows because my wife is my life and joy.
Jesus said, “What therefore God has joined together, let not man separate” (Mt 19:6). In my experience, he could have said, “What therefore God has joined together, no man will want to separate. It will never cross his mind.”
I thank God for my wife daily. I don’t deserve a blessing as rich as her, but the Lord’s grace knows no bounds.