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  • Regina Randle

A Purpose Driven Marriage


I once heard a fellow believer contend that the institution of marriage was a system cleverly concocted by the government as a means of monitoring the finances of the masses, through the disguise of taxation. As he went on to explain this ideology, the entire rationalization of this ‘insightful’ notion resonated like a bad scene from the 1997 Mel Gibson movie, “Conspiracy Theory.” To consider such a notion completely discounts the biblically sound fact that marriage was established by God Himself at the very beginning of man’s creation. So, contrary to this believer’s faulty philosophy, marriage was not culturally designed for man’s convenience or governmental benefit; it was divinely instituted by God to establish a covenantal relationship between the husband and wife and Himself.


God's Plan

Societal norms have created a false notion that marriage is primarily for the purpose of procreating, legitimizing physical intimacy, or affirming the affection one has for their partner. However, biblically speaking, marriage is not simply about mating or showing love; nor is it a means of obtaining limitless, guiltless, sex. Marriage, according to God’s sacred design, was established to:

1. eliminate man’s loneliness (“The Lord God said, ‘It is not good for the man to be alone. I will make a helper suitable for him.’” ~ Genesis 2:18 [NIV]),

2. enhance mankind’s capability to rule (“Then God said, ‘Let Us make man in Our image, according to Our likeness; and let them rule… I will make him a helper…” ~ Genesis 1:26; 2:18 [NASB]), and

3. establish God-centered families, raising God-fearing children, who will partner with Him to build a God-focused nation (“God said to them, ‘Be fruitful and multiply; fill the earth and subdue it.’” ~ Genesis 1:28 [NKJ]) (“Therefore go and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit, and teaching them to obey everything I have commanded you…” ~ Matthew 28:19,20)


Per scripture, God fashioned this Holy covenant to provide man with companionship and to aid in his ability to rule, expand, and conquer. Marriage gives each partner the necessary support that is essential to carrying out His overall plan for their lives. Such a union serves to assist in personal and spiritual development, and to strengthen each person’s capacity to complete their God ordained task to “multiply” and “subdue.”


Companionship: The Lord God said, “It is not good for the man to be alone. I will make a helper suitable for him.” (Genesis 2:18 [NIV])


For all that God created, He said of it, “It is good.” It was not until He spoke of Adam’s lack of companionship, that He said, “It is not good.” God identified and acknowledged Adam’s need for a mate… someone who would be suitable for him. The beauty of it is that in Adam’s definitive need, God demonstrated that no commonplace ‘help meet’ would do. Scripture tells us that God “formed every beast of the field and every bird of the sky, and brought them to the man… but {still} for Adam there was not found a helper suitable for him” (Gen. 2:19, 20 [NASB]). When God said that He would make Adam a “suitable” helper, it implied that Adam’s helpmeet wasn’t to be any old ordinary helper, but an extraordinary one, suited specifically for him… to meet his needs. Adam confirmed this truth when, upon receiving Eve, he exclaimed, “At last!... This one is bone from my bone, and flesh from my flesh! She will be called ‘woman,’ because she was taken from ‘man.’” (Gen. 2:23 [NLT]) Adam, no doubt, recognized that ‘woman’ was his perfect helper. God had created her to be uniquely distinct but still a suitable completion to man.


Rulership: Then God said, ‘Let Us make man in Our image, according to Our likeness; and let them rule… I will make him a helper…” (Genesis 1:26; 2:18 [NASB])


God’s initial instructions to man were to reproduce, increase in number, take control of the earth, and manage it. He tells Adam, in Genesis 1:28, to “Be fruitful and multiply (reproduce); fill the earth (increase in number) and subdue it (conquer/take control of it).” He further instructs him to “rule over (manage) the fish in the sea, and the birds in the sky, and over every living creature that moves on the ground.”[NIV] From the very beginning of our creation, God gave us His instructions for, and the authority to govern the world. He first gave these directives in His instructions to Adam (Gen. 1:28, 2:16-17), secondly when He gave His laws to Moses (Exod. 20:1-17), and finally when He gave His principles through Christ Jesus (Matt. 28:18-20; Luke 24:46-49). Mankind’s responsibility has always been clear: to increase in number, to rule, and to govern. God, however, recognized that man was incapable of completing this daunting task alone. As such, He provided him with a helper.

And it is certainly undeniable that Adam was in need of an assistant; otherwise, God would not have deemed it necessary to create him one. In this respect, marriage was created to provide man with a partner to aid him in his efforts to carry out the charge that God had given. Therefore, Eve was never created to simply be Adam’s physical partner for procreation, but to aid him in his ability to rule over the domain in which God had placed him.


Expand & Conquer: God said to them, “Be fruitful and multiply; fill the earth and subdue it.”

(Genesis 1:28 [NKJ])


When God created man and woman, He commanded them to “be fruitful and multiply; {to} fill the earth; and {to} subdue it.” To ‘subdue’ means to ‘conquer,’ and thus, God was giving man the instruction to expand in ranks (multiply) and conquer the world. Based on His command in Genesis 1:26 & 28, nothing on earth was to exercise more authority and dominion than man. No animal, no fish, no fowl, nor beast… was to rule above man. Additionally, when God gave Adam this command, sin had not yet entered the world. As such, at the time of these instructions, Adam was still Holy and blameless in the sight of God. Therefore, God’s plan for man to rule and conquer the earth was not only for him to do so as a man, but as a Holy being. This task was to be accomplished with the assistance of his Holy wife, who would bear him Holy children, who would grow to become Holy men and women. With this in mind, God’s plan was for His Holy people to rule and conquer the earth. Therefore, in today’s world, we as Believers still have the charge to “subdue” the earth. We are to take control of it, forcefully bringing it under subjection by way of God’s righteousness and Holy Spirit. Through marriage, God so graciously afforded us an aid to assist us in accomplishing His Holy commission to expand in ranks (as Believers) and conquer the earth (the kingdom of darkness).


So… why the exposition?

3 reasons:


#1: Understanding. “In all thy getting, get understanding.”

If we are able to fully grasp the significance of the marriage covenant spiritually, we will gain a deeper understanding of the “powers” that mean to tear the covenant apart. I believe that it is vitally important to our understanding to see that scripturally, the very first time we ever see Satan appear on the scene, he was wreaking havoc on the covenant between God, man, and woman. This is because Satan understands that if he can bring chaos and dysfunction into the marriage, he can bring about destruction to the plans and purpose God has over that union. Understanding this, we are able to gain a bird’s eye view of who’s really behind the problems we tend to experience in our relationships, and are able to deal with them accordingly: 1) by prayer, faith, and supplication on behalf of our partner, ourselves, and our union, and 2) by waging Spiritual warfare against the spiritual forces that desire to obliviate God’s plan for our partnership.


#2: Preparation. “For which of you, desiring to build a tower, does not first sit down and count the cost.”

Becoming clear on the challenges we could potentially face within the marital dynamic, we should be less apt to want to “wing it.” Consider this, when a student decides to enter into the medical field, they begin extensively preparing for their future career. They commit themselves to achieving their goal. They establish good study habits. They graduate with honors from a 4-year accredited university. They buckle down and fervently study for the MCAT (Medical College Admissions Test). If passed, they apply for admission into the top medical schools, praying for acceptance. If accepted, they spend 4 years in med school, 3-7 years in residency, and an additional 3 years in a fellowship training should they choose to become intensely specialized. All that considered, if an individual entering into a specialized career field would undergo such extensive preparation to achieve success, why then do we, as a society, take such little care in preparing ourselves for marital success? Why is there little, to no, study or preparation before walking down the aisle and taking a divine covenantal promise before God? Why are doctors more apt to uphold the Hippocratic Oath, than a couple their wedding vows? Our Holy promise to one another, pledged before God, should always be held to a higher standard than a man-made oath, pledged before the world. Marriage, being a solemn sanctified oath sworn before God, should always be considered, approached, and managed with diligence, reverence, preparation, and prayer. And just as a doctor would commit him/herself to extensive study to ensure competency and success in their field, so should we in our marriages. Here is where premarital counseling can be of great benefit. Premarital counseling serves to prepare couples for long-term commitment and helps couples learn to address any potential areas of conflict before it occurs.


#3: Tools for Success. “For by wise guidance you can wage your war, and in abundance of counselors there is victory.”

When considering the difficulty of this divine assignment of Holy Matrimony, why attempt to go at it alone? As couples, when we find ourselves in a crisis or a “hard place,” we should never fear seeking “wise counsel” to help us get through the tough spots in our lives. The Word of God tells us that “where there is no guidance, a people fall, but in an abundance of counsel there is safety” (Prov. 11:1). Finding a Spirit led group of people, particularly married elders, who can help mentor and guide you through some of your rough patches can work wonders in your relationship and outlook. Having that “been there, done that” support system may be just “what the doctor ordered.” For those who prefer a more private and intimate environment, consider couples counseling. Couples counseling is designed to help each partner better understand themselves and each other within the dynamics of their relationship. In this, couples will learn healthy ways to communicate, resolve conflict, problem solve, and even build bonding experiences.


In conclusion, studies have confirmed that couples who are able to establish/understand their purpose (shared vision and goals), and make necessary preparations to ensure long term success, are able to significantly decrease their potential for marital failure; so, spend time discussing important topics before the wedding day. Studies have also shown that being a committed, faithful believer makes a measurable difference in the success of a marriage, so developing and growing spiritually may also be beneficial to the success of your union. Lastly, from a therapeutic perspective, always know that help is available. Couples counseling is there to assist at every stage of your relationship dynamic, so please take advantage of any available resources.


~ Many blessings.

Regina


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