By Rebekah Leavell

Marriage…

This one word can conjure up various emotions and thoughts in different people…One word can have such a great impact for joy or for pain.

Marriage…

In my lifetime, I have seen the institution of marriage both demonized and idolized. I have seen it be the making of fantasies and the realization of nightmares. In our society, some groups of people have fought for the legal right to call themselves “married” while at the same time there are loud cries shouting that it is archaic and no longer needed. Finding a husband is held aloft in the ever popular sweet, sappy movies, but then completely shot down in most sitcoms on TV. On the other side, wives are often portrayed by men as a ball and chain or a constant nagging presence that they are trying to regularly escape, just so they can get some measure of peace. They feel the need to sneak around in order to do the ‘guy’ things they enjoy doing, which typically seems to be pursuits that don’t involve their wife.

Just about Tradition and Culture? 

With all the negativity surrounding marriage and the high divorce rates, why does a purported antiqued institution still seem to be so widely held up as a lofty goal to attain? Why do we still hold so deeply in our souls the desire to find one person that we will still love and be committed to in fifty years’ time? According to an article in Psychology Today, it is simply the result of “cultural traditions and expectations.” If that is the case for our world in the 21st century, then why can the institution and ceremony of marriage be traced as far back in secular history and archeology as 2350 B.C.? Was it simply tied to cultural expectations and traditions at that ancient time as well?

For those of us with a biblical worldview, we contend that there is a Creator who established marriage as a covenant bond at the beginning of the world. In the creation account in Genesis, it is stated, “Therefore a man shall leave his father and his mother and hold fast to his wife, and they shall become one flesh.” (Genesis 1:24 ESV).

Marriage was instituted as a perfect design of perfect unity in a perfect environment.

Sin entered the world shortly after, and the perfect unity of marriage became twisted as humanity sought after their own desires and appetites instead of seeking after their Creator. Across the world, individuals sense the loss. They crave perfect unity and an end to all the strife that surrounds them. Even more so, we as humans crave that unity and peace within our marriages. We see a glimpse of it and watch in awe  in a synchronized sport like couples’ figure skating. We wonder how they can be so fluid, moving as one in something so intricately complicated, while in our home we can barely eat dinner without some measure of conflict. Unity seems hopelessly out of reach!

There is Hope!

Jesus, our Creator, came to earth, as a man, to heal and restore what was broken from sin through his life, death, and resurrection. (Colossians 1) This is the supreme message of hope that we desire to share above everything else! There is hope! In Ephesians 5, the mandate given in Genesis 1, before the curse of sin fell over the earth, is repeated with an added detail. Marriage is meant to reflect the perfect love Jesus has for His church and the way the church is to respond back to Him. As Scripture begins with the perfect union of Adam and Eve created and joined together by God, so the Bible also ends with a future glimpse of a marriage celebration of the perfect union that will finally exist between God and His people! (Revelation 19)

Tracing God’s design for marriage from the beginning pages of Scripture to the end gives us the great basis for why marriage remains relevant for us today!

If you are single, does that mean you are not following the design of your Creator? Not at all! In I Corinthians 7, Paul shares the gift that singleness can be, and impresses the importance of using your freedom and abilities for Christ’s kingdom with fewer distractions.

If you are struggling to have peace in your heart with being single or just wanting to figure out what pursuits you should seek after to honor Christ in this season of your life, reach out to the skilled and caring counselors here at Biblical Counseling of Arizona! They are ready and eager to sit down with you and help you process through dreams, desires, and goals! If you are married and you know your marriage is not reflecting the love of Jesus, or the beautiful design of unity it was intended to be, please connect with us right away!

For Further Reading:

“Reconciling the Irreconcilable” by Joe Leavell

“What Did you Expect” by Paul David Tripp

“Mary Wisely, Marry Well” by Ernie Baker 

“The Meaning of Marriage” by Tim Keller