What Is The Right Perspective For Marriage?
Marriage is more than the benefits that it offers: companionship, sexual fulfillment and offspring. Although these are good and part of God’s design for marriage, there is also a greater purpose for marriage that can be seen through the right perspective for marriage: holiness not happiness. The main purpose of our marriage is to make us holy—to be more like Jesus—not to make us happy. The result of the spiritual framework being applied to marriage is that through the power of the Holy Spirit we are being sanctified.
1 Thessalonians 5:23-24
Loving God And Loving Others
- Having the right perspective for marriage starts with having the right perspective about the purpose of our lives. God is our Creator, the One who gave us life, so He is worthy of our glory, honor and obedience. Everything He created was for His glory. He did not create us because He needed someone to glorify Him or because He was lonely, but because He wanted to share the joy of His glory with us. Therefore, the purpose of our lives is to glorify God through a loving relationship with Him. As believers, we aim to love the Lord our God with all our heart, soul, mind and strength.
Psalm 16:11; Isaiah 43:7; Matthew 22:36-38; 1 John 4:19; Revelation 4:11
- For this purpose to be to be accomplished we have to realize that it is directly connected to not only how we love God but also how we love others. We might find it easy to show love towards God who is completely good but hard to show love towards others who are completely sinful. But our love for God is attached to how we love people. Therefore, one purpose of marriage is for two sinners who have been redeemed by God’s grace and desire to obey the two love commandments is to: teach each other how to love like God loves. Once we are married we can’t claim to love God while we hate our spouse—the person with the closest relationship with us. In marriage, we learn everything about our spouse—all the good and all the bad—and we are called to love them anyway. Therefore, marriage challenges us to love others and teaches us to love God.
Matthew 22:39-40; 1 John 4:20-21; Ephesians 5:28
Spiritual Growth and Sanctification
- God often uses marriage as an analogy for our relationship with Him. In the Old Testament it is most notably used as an analogy for God’s relationship with Israel and in the New Testament it is most notably used as an analogy for Jesus’ relationship with the church. Either way, all of the analogies point to God’s relationship with man and helps us to gain a better understanding so that we can grow spiritually.
Hosea 2:16, 19; Isaiah 62:5; Jeremiah 3:8; Matthew 9:15; 22:1-14; Mark 8:28; Ephesians 5:22-33; Revelation 19:7
- We are sinners—that means we have committed wrongful acts against God. But God sent Jesus to give His life in place of sinners so that we could be reconciled to Him. By faith in Jesus we are saved from the eternal punishment of hell and are being sanctified and cleansed by the transforming work of the Holy Spirit and the Bible in our lives. At the end of the this process all believers we will be presented as holy and without blemish to Jesus. When this gospel, the spiritual framework, is applied to our marriage, the purpose is to provide a means of sanctification—to become holy.
- Man-centered view of marriage: This view points to “happiness” or any other temporary desire as the purpose for marriage. It gives the marriage relationship a shallow meaning and only calls for faithfulness when this desire is being fulfilled. Marriage isn’t easy and these desires (long-term happiness, bearing children, sexual satisfaction, etc.) might not come to fruition. This is the wrong perspective for marriage and one that often ends in divorce because of no compelling reason to continue on.
- God-centered view of marriage: This view points to “holiness” or modeling Jesus’ love for the church as the purpose for marriage. It gives the marriage relationship a deep meaning and calls for faithfulness even when our temporary desires aren’t being fulfilled. This is the right perspective for marriage and often results in a hard and uncomfortable process of repentance, humility and self-sacrifice.
- As believers, our motivation is to be accepted of Jesus—that we make it our aim to please Him. We don’t make decisions based on “this world’s” opinion or ideas but we are “transformed by the renewing of our minds”—meaning we allow the Bible to change our way of thinking—so that we can prove to the world God’s ways. We don’t live for ourselves, but we live for Jesus, to please Him. We have been given the “ministry of reconciliation” and we are “ambassadors for Christ”. Therefore, everything in our lives, especially our marriages, should live in harmony with this identity and ministry. The motivation of a believer’s marriage is to please God in all things with the result of being mutually sanctified along the way.
2 Corinthians 5:9, 15, 18-20; Ephesians 5:10; Romans 12:1-2
Practical Wisdom, Good Judgment And Common Sense
- Marriage problems often arise when one or both persons are choosing to not please Jesus in that moment. This often arises from selfishness or pride that causes us to focus on ourselves instead of the other person. If each person is sacrificially serving the other with the goal of pleasing Jesus it will result in joyful unity and honor to God.
- Marriage is the perfect example of how reconciliation works (two imperfect people choosing to love each other by grace) and thus serves as a witness to the world about how they can be reconciled to God. Divorce on the other hand terminates the marriage and contradicts (not negates) our message. Therefore, it is our Biblical obligation to keep our marriages together and to do all we can to please God in them.
- Choosing the God-centered view of marriage allows you to drop all the wrong expectations that you have for your spouse or marriage—mainly that of your spouse being the ultimate fulfillment of all that you desire—something that can only be satisfied by God. If you carry these wrong expectations into marriage you will be met with dissatisfaction. Remember, marriage is temporary, but God is eternal.
- Marriage can be hard if your spouse is not a believer and does not have the right perspective for marriage, but you are still called to have the right perspective and fulfill your duties—sacrificially loving your spouse as a witness of the gospel.
1 Corinthians 7:12-15; 1 Peter 3:1
- What is the purpose of our lives?
- What is connected to our main purpose? How does it apply to marriage?
- What are the two views of marriage? Which is right?
- What is a believer’s motivation for all he does?
- What is the right perspective for marriage: holiness or happiness?