Marriage Isn’t About You (Or Your Spouse)

God’s purpose in creating Eve for Adam was not so that Eve would now become his new purpose, but rather so that Eve could help Adam with the purpose that God had already assigned to him.

God’s primary purpose for marriage is not that you will seek to meet the needs of each other.  His primary purpose is not the impact that it has on those inside the marriage at all, but rather how it increases the ability of those inside the marriage to have a greater impact for the kingdom on the outside world than they could ever have by themselves.

 

A few years back, there was an article about marriage that made its way around the social media sites.  The well-intended article entitled “Marriage is not for You” recounts a conversation the newlywed author had with his father, where his father bestowed upon him the wisdom that marriage is about your spouse and not about you.  While I fully agree with the overall sentiment of the article (that marriage requires you to die to yourself and your selfish desires), I think as Christians we miss something if we stop there.

The article seems to suggest that the primary purpose of marriage is to love your spouse selflessly.  I have heard many Christian couples echo this sentiment as well.  They express how marriage has revealed just how selfish they are, and that God’s primary purpose for marriage is sanctifying them through teaching them how to love selflessly as Christ does.  While this is undoubtedly a characteristic of marriage, I do not believe it is God’s primary purpose for marriage.

Biblically, the first example of a marriage that we have is in the Garden of Eden.  God has just finished creating the world and everything in it.  He has placed Adam in the Garden and appointed him with the tasks of naming all the living creatures while helping care for and cultivate the garden (Gen. 2:15).  It is at this point after He has assigned Adam his purpose, that God reaches this profound conclusion: “It is not good that man should be alone.  I will make him a helper fit for him” (v. 18).

What the term “helper” does not mean is that the woman is of any less value or worth than the man.  Genesis is very clear that both man and woman are equal image bearers and therefore of equal value and worth.  However, what it does tell us is that God’s purpose in creating Eve for Adam was not so that Eve would now become his new purpose, but rather so that Eve could help Adam with the purpose that God had already assigned to him.  You see, when we try to define the purpose of marriage as loving our spouse selflessly, the marriage becomes its own end.  The focus of the marriage becomes inward.

Martin Luther once said, “Sin is the self caving in on itself” (author’s paraphrase).  In other words, it is the self trying to meet its own perceived needs.  Now in the case of marriage, the man and woman have become one.  For the sake of this explanation, we will name this new person formed from the original two, as Matrimony.  So Man and Woman get married, become one, and that new singular person is named Matrimony.  Ok, if Matrimony now makes its primary focus to meet the needs of Matrimony (husband meeting the needs of wife or vice versa), is it not still making the same sinful error that Martin Luther speaks to in his quote?  Is that not still the self trying to meet its own perceived needs? The self caving in on itself?  What seems to be selfless in that you are putting your spouse first, is actually still self serving in regards to God’s greater purpose for marriage.

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