Today fewer people are getting married, and instead are choosing to live together (according to recent polls). Moreover, there is a roughly 50% divorce rate among those who do get married. God established marriage for a number of reasons. I want to explain God’s purposes for establishing marriage as I understand them in the hope that it will help some people with their decision-making with respect to marriage.
One of the Ten Commandments says “Thou shalt not commit adultery.” Jesus taught that divorce is not in God’s plan. There are numerous passages in both the Old and New Testaments regarding adultery, marriage and family relationships. You might be wondering, why is God so interested in marriage and the family?
We know that God instituted marriage and the family, as we read in the Genesis account that Jesus quoted in the Gospels. God had good reasons for establishing them, and for wanting them to be preserved and kept strong.
For the Children
A major reason God established marriage and wants it strong is so that children could be raised in a stable and secure environment. In Genesis 1:27-28a, we read about God’s plan for the human race to be fruitful:
So God created humankind in his image, in the image of God he created them; male and female he created them. God blessed them, and God said to them, “Be fruitful and multiply, and fill the earth and subdue it…” NRSV
Notice that passage says, “in the image of God he created them.” One possible meaning for that “image of God” statement is that we humans were created to be relational beings, just as God is a relational Being. We see that relational aspect of God’s nature within the Trinity.
We also see that God is relational because God wants to have a relationship with us, the pinnacle of creation. God wants us to have healthy relationships with each other, and to have an intimate relationship with God through Jesus.
For Our Well-Being
Another reason why God established marriage was because God felt we shouldn’t be alone. This ties in with the relational aspect of our nature, as we read in Genesis 2:18:
Then the LORD God said, “It is not good that the man should be alone; I will make him a helper as his partner.” NRSV
Men and women were created to be together, forming a partnership for mutual support and love, and for helping each other in raising the next generation. Anybody who is a single parent will tell you that it is a very hard job, without a husband or wife for support. I applaud those struggling to raise children without a mate, because I know it isn’t easy. I also commend those parents, friends, and other family members who so lovingly support them in that difficult but important task.
For the Good of Society
Still another reason why God established the institution of marriage is to provide the basic unit of society, the foundation upon which all of society rests. If the family is weakened, society suffers. I believe many of the problems our society is facing today can be traced back to the weakened state of the family unit.
For the good of society and future generations, plus their own well-being, husbands and wives should work diligently to build up their marriage.
More on marriage in a future post.