The following is a list of reasons why people tend to get married.
- Financial advantage, i.e., two incomes and tax breaks
- The couple is in love with each other
- The marriage was arranged
- The next logical step in the relationship
- Fear of being alone in later years
- The woman is pregnant, and the couple are pressured to get married
- Pressure by others to get married
- Getting older
- To have children
- Great and available sex
People get married for a plethora of reasons, none of which is necessarily “the” reason to get married. What is marriage anyway? I think the first step is to understand or at least identify what it means to be married. For a couple, I think it is expedient that they both understand what the other means by marriage. None of the items in the list above is enough to justify marriage.
At its core, marriage is a union that two people are ideally committed to for the duration of their spouse’s lives. Some would say that a marriage is a contract. Historically, a marriage is very much like a contract that forms a binding union.
What is Marriage?
The Bible is a great place to learn what a marriage is. God said that it was not good for man (Adam) to be alone. God said that He would make a helper that was suitable or appropriate for him. Perhaps it is significant that God made this declaration right after commanding Adam not to eat from the tree of the knowledge of good and evil (See Genesis 2:15-18). So, Eve’s purpose, according to God, was to help Adam. She would also be comparable or suitable for him. God presented the woman (Eve) to the man (Adam) and the Bible declares that for this reason a man should leave his father and mother and be joined to his wife and the two will become one flesh.
We note that there was no wedding ceremony or any type of ritual regarding Adam and Eve being married. As a matter of fact, it does not say that they were officially married except for the fact that God put them together. Perhaps this is what Jesus meant when he said, “What God has joined let no one separate (See Matthew 19:6). Adam and Eve were together as one by the fact that God put them together with a purpose in mind.
What did Adam need help with? It is obvious that Adam needed help else God would not have created a helper for him and declare that it was not good that Adam was alone. So, how was Eve the helper for Adam? This question is best answered by determining what Adam was doing such that he could use help. Here is a list of things that Genesis tells us that Adam was told to do.
- Take care of the Garden
- Do NOT eat from the tree of the knowledge of good and evil
- Be fruitful
It seems that the fact that it wasn’t good for Adam to be alone has something to do with him being given a helper. Perhaps being alone was more than just being lonely, but rather that he needed assistance to do what God had purposed him to do. For example, we know that men and women operate and think differently. Perhaps that was part of how Eve helped Adam, i.e., with a different perspective on things to balance him out.
In any case, we could say that Eve would help Adam take care of the Garden of Eden, keep from eating from the tree of the knowledge of good and evil, be fruitful, and to multiply. It is obvious that Adam could not multiply on his own.
This all suggests that a man and a woman come together in a committed relationship to fulfill the purpose given to them. The wife is to be her husband’s helper and therefore the husband has a responsibility for which he requires help. Therefore, when contemplating marriage, a man should ask himself, “How can this woman help me accomplish my vision?” Now I know some will argue that the woman’s identify is hidden within the man’s purpose and object to that. No. Remember, that she is compatible with him and his helper. This means that her vision and his vision will be compatible. She will be his helper and TOGETHER the vision of the union will be accomplished. If the man does not have a vision, then marriage is a mere social or legal undertaking. A man with a vision wants a wife that will help him accomplish it.
The problem here is that many people get married without considering the above at all. The man isn’t thinking in terms of vision and purpose. The woman typically is not thinking in terms of coupling with a man to help him accomplish his vision, fulfill his responsibilities, and at the same time accomplish her God-given vision and purpose. People get married for superficial reasons, which is why so many marriages are miserable and unfulfilled.
Marriage is Worth It If…
Marriage is very much worth it if done for vision and purpose as described above. If two people get married merely because they are in love, then their marriage is doomed from the beginning. Even if they learned to get along, they still may be incompatible with regards to vision and purpose. There are many men who are stuck in a relationship with a wife who does not help him. There are many women who are stuck in a relationship because their husband has no vision or purpose and she has no one to use her gifts to help. Of course, some solve this problem by getting a divorce.
Marriage is the beginning of a lot of pain and suffering if it is not entered with care. Marriage can be a beautiful, fulfilling, and prosperous thing if done in the context of accomplishing vision and fulfilling purpose. If the wife is the husband’s helper, willingly submits to him (his vision) and is loved by him the way that Christ loved the church (Consider what Christ did for us, the church) then marriage is indeed worth it. It doesn’t matter if you have an elaborate wedding or elope. The point is that the two are joined by God and become one flesh. That one flesh has a job to do and the husband and wife does it blissfully.
This means that the husband and wife work together to fulfill purpose and vision and they are intimately involved with each other since they are one flesh. Intimacy is very important because if they are not intimately joined, then they are like two chemicals that don’t dissolve to form one solution. They merely become two chemicals sharing the same space. This distinction is sometimes called cell mates or room mates as opposed to soul mates.
Imagine a husband and wife who work together in whoever they are compatible and are intimately involved with each other sexually, philosophically, intellectually, and socially. Happiness in this case would be a mere byproduct of such a relationship. This assumes that the couple nurture each other and is sensitive and aware of the need to build the marriage relationship. Yes. A marriage like this is surely worth it and would be pursued if more people would take the time to understand what marriage really is.