Does marriage matter?
I believe that the answer to that question is found in the understanding of the relationship between man and woman and the understanding of what marriage is.
Now, several people just thought in their minds: here we go! He is going to talk about submission and the roles of a wife and a husband.
No, I’m not going to talk about that because marriage preceeded our knowledge of those roles and what they mean to you and I. When I say the word, “marriage” so many thoughts race to the mind of the listeners and not all of those thoughts are positive. Since not all experience with marriage is positive, then I certainly understand why those thoughts are present.
But, let’s go back farther than our experience and see if we can catch a glimpse inside why marriage was instituted in the first place.
Marriage was a product of relationship. It would not have any meaning outside of the existence of a relationship. Remember, we are not talking about roles, we are talking about relationship.
Marriage came into existence as a definition. It defined a relationship that was in existence – the relationship between a man and a woman.
Not just any man and woman, but a man and woman who were kindred spirits – two parts of the same whole, if you will. The definition of “marriage” would not fit just any male-female relationship – it only fit the one in which the two were of the same heart, mind, and life. After these two individual people – male and female were introduced, soon the understanding came that their relationship was not like just any other, but was unique. Their spirits and emotions both testified that they had found something unlike other relationships for them – it was a joining together of the two parts of a whole.
The first man who experienced this described it this way:
This is now bone of my bones and flesh of my flesh. Genesis 2:23
This relationship is different. It is a joining together of, not just households and bodies, but destinies. The relationship was such that intrusion by another person attacked the very nature of the relationship itself; a force intended to undermine the real reason that the relationship existed: two living life for one destiny and destination.
God described the uniqueness of the relationship this way:
Therefore a man shall leave his father and mother and be joined to his wife, and they shall become one flesh. Genesis 2:24
Was God commanding? Or simply describing what existed?
Two people whose destinies intertwined in such a way that they could not imagine life without the other – two becoming one in purpose and love and any intrusion into the two only destroyed the very nature of the relationship itself.
Due to the amount of commitment, intimacy, and work invested in a relationship of this type, it was only natural that a level of trust develop that protected the relationship from its enemies.
Yes, there have always been enemies to a relationship like this one and there will always be. Marriage not only described the relationship it protected it from the enemies of its purpose and love.
Now, let me stop and ask you a question:
Have we changed so much that this type of desire and need has disappeared from our existence? If so, then the need for marriage has disappeared. But, despite the proliferation of divorce in our society, recent statistics show that at least 61% of those who have never married want to marry someday.
Why? Because society demands it?
No! Because it is a desire and a need created deep within the heart and destiny of humanity. Marriage is not our problem. Remember, marriage describes a relationship that most of humanity reveres and desires. Don’t let anyone fool you with their railing against marriage in the name of progress. Most of those who rail will themselves look for an exclusive relationship in their lifetime and will split up if that relationship is constantly violated by outside intrusion.
We still want the ideal of marriage and the commitment associated with marriage is a necessary part of what we are looking for/created for.
The institution of marriage is not our problem – our unfaithful nature is!
That brings me to the final reason that marriage matters.
I told you earlier that marriage describes a relationship in existence – one longed for and sought out. But, marriage doesn’t just describe one relationship, it describes two that are already in existence.
Right after remembering God’s description of the marriage relationship we looked at in Genesis, the Bible gives us this revelation in Ephesians 5:31-32:
For this reason a man shall leave his father and mother and be joined to his wife, and the two shall become one flesh. This is a great mystery, but I speak concerning Christ and the church.
Marriage describes the relationship that Jesus has with those whom He loves. As a matter of fact, when marriage is working as it should, it is an example of the love, trust, and purpose Christ reveals in His relationship with you and me.
To say that marriage does not work is to deny who we are and what we need!
To reject the idea of marriage is not rejection of an “antiquated” institution but it is the rejection of my nature and the purpose for which I exist:
I am created in the image of God for the fulfillment of His relational purpose!
Marriage doesn’t restrict me or confine me. Marriage defines me as a relational creation of God!