By: Allie Joy Kapus
Getting Marriage Right
If I’m being completely honest, I put off writing this part of the series. I knew that I would be writing about God’s definition for the marriage covenant, and since I write and talk about that so often, I figured I could just write the post pretty quickly. When I realized that I was thinking like this, though, God convicted me of my attitude. The marriage covenant is one of the most beautiful and God-honoring parts of all of Creation, and it should always be approached with awe, seriousness, and gratitude.
I never want to “lose my wonder” over this incredible institution that God designed. Especially at this point in my life, as I am preparing to be married in five months, I have to choose to be intentional about recognizing the gravity and splendor of marriage, and I must surround my future marriage in prayer.
Both as singles and as married couples, we should always approach the marriage covenant recognizing the astounding wonder with which God fashioned it.
Looking at God’s design
The Bible talks about marriage and relationships frequently, in both the Old Testament and the New Testament. It’s incredible to think that God had the marriage covenant in mind from eternity past. He is the great Designer.
God knew that He would send Jesus as the Savior of the world even before He created mankind.
And since the marriage relationship reflects Christ and His Bride, the Church (more on this later), this design was an intentional reflection of our Savior from eternity past.
Now, let’s look at the beginning of human history that is described in Genesis 1 and 2. God’s creation of mankind and the setting in place of the marriage relationship between one man and one woman for life go hand in hand.
The Cultural Mandate
The end of Genesis 1 describes what biblical scholars call the cultural mandate. The account reads “God created man in His own image, in the image of God He created him; 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’” (Genesis 1:27-28a).
Here, God clearly articulates that He formed man and woman in His image. Every person carries within himself or herself a stamp of the divine. This passage spells out that humans are to reign over the earth, to steward their resources and take care of the world around them well. Also, we are to populate the earth. While most of these apply to humanity in general, this purpose of procreation only applies to those in the marriage covenant.
I also find it interesting that verse twenty-eight says that God blessed humans in giving them this mandate. He knew that His design was good, and He created the marriage relationship and the sexual intimacy found within it to be enjoyed by humans.
In addition to the more practical aspects of marriage like the purposes of working together to steward and populate the earth, God created marriage to be something that brings us fellowship, companionship, like-mindedness, security, intimacy, and great delight. God specifically formed Eve from Adam to be with him and to be his helpmate. This was a remarkable gift and blessing from God to man. When Adam first lays eyes on his bride, he literally bursts into song! Adam proclaims,
“‘This is now bone of my bones,
And flesh of my flesh;
She shall be called Woman,
Because she was taken out of Man’” (Genesis 2:23).
There are various verses that speak of delighting in your mate. One that comes to mind is Proverbs 5:18, which says, “Let your wife be a fountain of blessing for you. Rejoice in the wife of your youth” (NLT). These are commands! God calls us to delight in our mate. Lifelong companionship with the person that God specifically crafted for you is a joy and something for which to praise Him greatly! Though loving your spouse each day is difficult and requires intentional choice, it can bring about so many blessings and point to the design and graciousness of God in such a tangible way.
The COsmic Marriage
The relationship that ultimately matters and has eternal significance is that of the relationship between Christ and His Church, those who choose to trust in Him as Savior. Ephesians 5 talks about walking in love (verse 2) and then later goes on to discuss how husbands and wives are to treat one another: Wives submit to their husbands as the Church submits to the authority of Christ as its Head. Husbands love their wives sacrificially, as Christ gave Himself up for the Church so that He might purify her and reconcile her to Himself. This is the fellowship that spouses are to demonstrate to one another through their mutual submission, sacrifice, love, and honor.
We need to recognize the significance and intentionality with which God designed marriage. The marriage relationship is a covenant before God and before humankind, and it is meant to be a lifelong bond broken only by separation through death.
“Marriage is to be held in honor among all” (Hebrews 13:4a). Whether married or unmarried, God calls us to see and to praise Him for the remarkable way in which He created the marriage relationship. Even in a world of vast sexual brokenness, we must choose to honor God by upholding this beautiful institution that He fashioned. As believers, we have the unshakeable hope of the coming Great Marriage, our eternal union with our Lord and Savior! And earthly marriage, while serving as a tangible and magnificent depiction of Christ, provides only a glimpse of the glory and splendor of this lasting heavenly intimacy. May we never lose sight of this wonder.
This is the third week of Allie’s series on sexuality. Click here for the first week on postmodern sexuality and click here for last week’s article on the family.
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Allie Joy Kapus is first and foremost a daughter of the King. She graduated from Liberty University with a Bachelor of Arts in English and minors in Spanish and Psychology. Allie completed her Senior Honors Thesis on the presentation of postmodern sexuality in short fiction and has also been published in two of Liberty University’s other onl