Standing on the landing of section 208, my eyes scan the crowd above me. In an auditorium of 12, 000, I’m looking for one head in the crowd. Back and forth I scan trying to remember where our seats are. In only a matter of seconds, I see his bright hazel eyes, a warm smile, and a hand waving. That’s the beauty of marriage.
Marriage is a gift from God. It’s that one set of eyes in the crowd searching for your eyes alone. It’s the feeling of home, a safe place to land, a soul mate, a best friend who knows you better than you know yourself. It’s the gift of someone very different from you who can simultaneously sharpen you into a better version of yourself, and also provide a comforting embrace when the world outside is too sharp.
This post is the first in a series entitled, “Intentional Marriage.” It’s a collection of topics that my husband Seth and I shared with some incredible couples during a six week marriage group this winter. Holy Spirit nudged us to not follow a curriculum with this group, but rather rely on His leading for what we should discuss each week. It was an exciting adventure of listening and trust. The best part was the genuine and vulnerable conversations that were sparked amongst the group each time we met. Our friends felt safe enough to share some of the toughest challenges of marriage, ask for help and prayer, and also offer help to others from their own experiences. My favorite night was when we had the honor of hearing the testimony of one of the couples who, after reaching the brink of divorce, received a miracle in their marriage, which is now thriving.
Marriage can be hard, but like everything worthwhile in life, it’s worth the effort. God is in the business of taking dead things and bringing them back to life after all. When our marriages are submitted to Him, there’s no limit to what God can do with them, and how absolutely amazing they can be.
In this first installment, we are going to ask the question, “What is the purpose of marriage?” Genesis and Ephesians give us great insight into the answer.
Then God said, “Let us make mankind in our image, in our likeness, so that they may rule over the fish in the sea and the birds in the sky, over the livestock and all the wild animals, and over all the creatures that move along the ground.” So God created mankind in his own image, in the image of God he created them; male and female he created them. God blessed them and said to them, “Be fruitful and increase in number; fill the earth and subdue it. Rule over the fish in the sea and the birds in the sky and over every living creature that moves on the ground.” Genesis 1:26-28 (NIV).
“For this reason a man will leave his father and mother and be united to his wife, and the two will become one flesh.” This is a profound mystery—but I am talking about Christ and the church. However, each one of you also must love his wife as he loves himself, and the wife must respect her husband. Ephesians 5:31-33 (NIV).
Here are a few key points about the purpose of marriage…
- Marriage is God’s idea. He created it just as He created each of us!
- Marriage is between one man and one woman, and there are two distinct genders; male and female. They are both made in God’s image (amazing!). Distinct in their differences, but equal in value to our God.
- Marriage is like a mirror that reflects God’s relationship with His people.
- Marriage is a covenant relationship (a permanent promise), just like our relationship with God. Marriage is not a contract, and there is a big difference between the two.1
- Marriage has such a larger purpose than our personal happiness. It is about being the right person for your spouse as opposed to finding the right spouse for you.2 We are all selfish by nature. As a mollusk turns a grain of sand or ocean debris into a beautiful pearl, 3 God can use the irritants or challenges in our marriages to create a stunning gift to those around us as they see a demonstration of God’s presence and redemption in how we live out our marriage.
How do I know this to be true? Seth and I were in that auditorium of 12,000 that night because of the resolution to a disagreement. Our marriage is amazing, but we have our struggles too. We were at odds over how we wanted to spend a vacation. Misunderstanding, heated words, and silence had marked our interactions. We entertained the idea of allowing each other to go on separate trips. We dabbled in “tolerating” each other’s choices- going together, but not with the right attitude. However, as we prayed and allowed God to work in this situation, we came to a place of putting our love for each other over the desires we had for our conflicting choices. We split the week in half and both embraced the different activities we each wanted to do TOGETHER, and had a whole lot of fun!
1 Family Life, The Art of Marriage (Little Rock, Arkansas: Family Life Publishing, 2011), 7
2 Family Life, The Art of Marriage (Little Rock, Arkansas: Family Life Publishing, 2011), 7
3 Eisenstadt, Abigail. “The True Story About How Pearls are Made.” Smithsonian Magazine, 5 Aug. 2021, smithsonianmag.com. Accessed 24 April, 2022.
I am a child of God, a wife to Seth, and a mother to James, Luke, and Eva. The Apostle Paul writes in his letter to the Corinthians, “Therefore, if anyone is in Christ, he is a new creation; old things have passed away; behold, all things have become new” (2 Corinthians 5:17). I became a “new creation” at the age of 23 when I surrendered my life to Jesus and was delivered from a decade of depression. Read more...