For the next few weeks, we will be engaging in a short series on marriage by one of our blog contributors, Linda Rice. Read below to see the first part in this marriage series!
Why should we get married? A couple of websites for men list reasons like:
You live longer;
It increases your earning power;
You won’t be alone when you’re sick or when you die;
You get to be a dad or a mom, and children are better off with married parents;
It makes you a better person;
You can have more and better sex.
We are image-bearers.
The Bible teaches God’s purposes for marriage are companionship, oneness, procreation, completion, and more. The ultimate purpose is to image Himself for His glory. Genesis 1:26-27 introduces the concept of imaging at the creation of man. It says,
“Then God said, “Let Us make man in Our image, according to Our likeness; and let them rule…[over all the earth].” And God created man in His own image, in the image of God He created him; male and female He created them.”
“Image” and “likeness” are key words here. Man and woman were created to image God. He is glorified when people reflect His nature, when they live out a perfect model of God’s character.
Single people can certainly image God. “All [believers], with unveiled face beholding as in a mirror the glory of the Lord, are being transformed into the same image from glory to glory” (2 Cor. 3:18). Yet, Genesis 1:27 indicates that the genders were created to complement each other in a way that, when united, presents a complete image of God’s nature.
Marriage images Christ and His church.
Not only does marriage reflect God’s nature in the world, it is a picture of Christ’s union with the church. Founding his argument with a quote of Genesis 2:24, Paul wrote,
“For this cause a man shall leave his father and mother, and shall cleave to his wife; and the two shall become one flesh.” This mystery is great; but I am speaking with reference to Christ and the church.” (Eph. 5:31-32)
The particular purpose that Paul singled out for emphasis was that of depicting Christ’s union with the church. The exclusive, covenantal, intimate, permanent unity of marriage taught in Genesis 2:24 is a reflection of the intimacy, exclusivity, and permanence of Christ’s covenantal union with His church.
In a God-centered marriage, the husband is the head of the wife as Christ is of the church. The husband expresses his love to her by helping her to grow in Christlikeness, even as Christ works to purify the church for Himself. The husband is to sacrifice himself for his wife even as Christ sacrificed Himself for the church. The wife submits lovingly in obedience to the husband as the church is to submit to her Husband.
A family living by God’s plan makes it easier to observe and understand the communicable attributes of God. We can see the love, faithfulness, kindness, justice, grace, forgiveness, and relational intimacy that images God. We can better understand what God is as a wise and loving father and what He is as a loving husband to His church. (Christ is never depicted as husband to an individual.)
His purpose must be our purpose.
Men and women marry because they want something. Generally, women seek relationship, affection, attention, and the security that a committed relationship brings. Many of their desires are good, but marriage was never intended to be an end in itself or a means to selfish ends; it is a means by which to glorify God. Therefore, a wife should be pursuing Christlike desires, thoughts, words, and actions because her greatest desire, her compelling motive, is to glorify God.
Think of how this elevates the wife’s role. The stakes are much higher than a wife’s happiness. She can actually display the church’s relationship to Christ. God’s glory is in view.
Marriage is not an end in itself; it is a means by which to glorify God.
Consider these questions below:
- If you are thinking of getting married, what are you wanting? What are your goals?
- If you are married, how might pursuit of the glory of God motivate you in your role as a wife?
- “To be the best image of the church to Christ that you can be” – what might you change in yourself in order to fulfill this goal?