What’s the point of marriage?

Contrary to popular opinion, marriage isn’t a relationship of convenience. It isn’t something two people stumble into because they happen to fall in love. It isn’t merely the next step after a couple becomes bored with dating. It isn’t formed or held together by romantic feelings or physical desires. If it were any of these things, we may as well not bother. We should save ourselves the eventual heartache because the entire structure will likely collapse. The all-important foundation is missing.

The apostle Paul writes, A man shall leave his father and mother and hold fast to his wife, and the two shall become one flesh. This mystery is profound, and I am saying that it refers to Christ and the church (Eph 5:31, 32). Quoting the oldest text in the Bible on the subject, Genesis 2:24, Paul shows that marriage has substantial meaning. Without it, we would have every reason to ask, What’s the point?”

First, the Genesis account reveals that marriage was God’s design, not man’s. Adam didn’t wake up one morning in the garden, turn to Eve, and say, I have a wild idea.” No, the LORD God caused a deep sleep to fall upon Adam, and while he slept, took one of his ribs (Ge 2:21). And the rib that the LORD God had taken from the man he made into a woman and brought her to the man, like a father walking his daughter down the aisle (Ge 2:22). God gave us marriage.

Second, and more to the point, God designed and instituted marriage with a purpose—namely, to reflect the covenantal relationship between Christ and the church (Eph 5:32). As I’ve heard John Piper say, Marriage … is the doing of God … for the display of God.” Long before Jesus’s death brought clarity to this profound mystery, God intended marriage to be more than a convenient, romantic, physically gratifying stepping stone for two people in love. It was the gospel on display from the beginning.

Jesus Christ sacrificed everything for his bride. His love and forgiveness have no limits. He promises to never leave nor forsake her (Heb 13:5).

Neither death nor life, nor angels nor rulers, nor things present nor things to come, nor powers, nor height nor depth, nor anything else in all creation, will be able to separate us from the love of God in Christ Jesus our Lord. (Romans 8:38, 39)

That’s the covenant Christ made before time began and later sealed with his blood. The foundation of marriage is a God-ordained, self-sacrificing, unbreakable covenant.

On a personal note, I’d like to thank my parents for modeling the gospel in their marriage for fifty years and counting. Happy anniversary. I love you. I’ll also thank my in-laws, who have shown my wife how to keep the marriage covenant for over forty years. May God bless you to continue enjoying one another until death do you part.