MARRIAGE: MORE THAN SEX...
By: Bodé Adeboyejo
Ask any Christian single adult who desires to be married someday or even engaged why he or she wants to be married and you'll get a long pause followed by a series or "um, um, um..." Then once you probe a bit further, you'll hear reasons like companionship, children, age, and security. Some may even quote Genesis 2:18 as their reason for wanting to get married, “It is not good that man should be alone...”
Then there are those bold-faced, honest Christian singles who will tell you outrightly that the reason they want to get married is SEX! At least they are bold enough to admit what many Christian singles won't. Sex certainly ranks high among the reasons why many Christian singles want to get married, since most of them have been celibate for some time.
However, some Christian counselors say the reasons why many Christians get divorced is the same reason they get married (i.e., sex and money). Some statistics reveal that the divorce rate in the Body of Christ is higher than in the world (i.e. among non-believers). However, many Christians divorce because they marry without understanding the purpose of marriage or the reasons why God established the institution. Some get married just to "be fruitful and multiply."
Therefore, rather than marrying for the purpose of marriage, many Christians marry for the benefits of marriage - sex, children, companionship, security, status, etc. Marrying for any of these reasons is like buying a car because of its leather seats, sunroof, alloy wheels, or CD changer. These are all benefits; not the real reason why we buy a car. There is more to marriage than sex. There is more to marriage than security, money, children or companionship. Besides, these benefits are not guaranteed in marriage. After all, there are many married couples that are getting little or no sex, childless and lonely.
That doesn't mean we shouldn't enjoy these marital benefits. God wants us to enjoy the rewards of marriage and hates it when we seek divorce for any reason.
Marrying for the purpose of marriage is better than marrying for the benefits of marriage. To that end, understanding the purpose of marriage may help some couples have a better appreciation for marriage. It may also help them keep the marriage together, especially when things go wrong as they are bound to in every marriage.
God's Purpose for Marriage
God's idea of marriage is to replicate or duplicate the type of relationship between Him and the God Heads -- God the Father, God the Son, and God the Holy Spirit. That is, the oneness between them -- One God, manifested in three Persons, distinct in personality and functionality.
God's idea of marriage is such that a husband and a wife will be one, just as they (the God Heads) are one. His idea of marriage is to have an earthly example of a heavenly union. That's why in Genesis 1:24 God said, "Therefore, a man shall leave his father and mother and be joined together with his wife, and they shall become one flesh." Notice the phrases, “joined together” and “one flesh.” They are indicative of the God Heads being joined together and being one; indicative of their unison. Jesus confirms this oneness in John 10:30, "I and the Father are one." And in John 17:21, when He prays for His disciples shortly before His betrayal "...that they may be one, as You, Father, are in Me, and I You; that they may be one in Us..." He continues in verse 22 "...That they may be one as We are..."
Proving even further, God demonstrated to us the importance of the oneness between a husband and a wife in Genesis 1:27 where it says, "So God created man in his own image, in the image of God he created him; MALE and FEMALE, he created them". That was back in Genesis 1:27. However, God did not form Adam until Genesis 2: 7, "And the Lord God formed man of the dust of the ground..." God knew back in Genesis 1:27 that He was going to create man, as male and female, long before He formed Adam. And to show the infallibility of His Word, He practically took Eve out of Adam (Genesis 2:21-22) to establish His word, which He spoke back in Genesis 1:27. This was also to prove the point that man was in woman, and woman in man. This establishes the importance of oneness between man and woman, husband and wife.
Reasons for Oneness
Why does God want oneness between the husband and the wife? For the same reasons He established it between Himself and the other God Heads:
1. Order: When a husband and wife are one, there's order, which brings about simplicity in the relationship. There is no confusion whatsoever. Roles are clearly defined, and no one is left in doubt as to what his or her role is.
2. One Voice: When a husband and wife are into each other, they are on one accord. And there's an easy flow of communication. There's no conflict or contradiction with what each one says because they are both briefed by one Source, the Holy Spirit. That's why Jesus said of His relationship with the Father, "...The words that I speak to you I do not speak on My own authority; but the Father who dwells in Me does the works" (John 14:10). He also speaks of His relationship with the Holy Spirit. "However, when He the Spirit of truth, has come, He will guide you into all truth; for He will not speak on His own authority, but whatever He hears, He will speak..." (John 16:13).
3. Effective Communication: When a husband and wife are one and in one accord, it's easier for God to speak to them.
4. Involvement: When a husband and wife are truly one flesh, it becomes impossible for one to do something without the knowledge of the other. Issues are discussed before a decision is made, even when both don't agree with the decision or the approach to achieve the result. Jesus said of His relationship with the Father, "I can of Myself do nothing. As I hear, I judge, and My judgment is righteous, because I do not seek My own will but the will of the Father who sent Me" (John 5:30).
5. Faithfulness: When a couple is one, there's no room for unfaithfulness. I don't know many people who flirt or commit adultery with another person while their spouse is present. Therefore, being one means whether absent or present, our spouses are with us. So, what we won't do while they are with us, we won't do in their absence.
6. Love/Respect: When a couple is one flesh they can love and cherish each other as they would their own individual bodies. "For no one ever hated his own flesh, but nourishes and cherishes it, just as the Lord does the church" (Ephesians 5:29).
7. Understanding: When a couple is one flesh and in tune with each other, there's greater understanding. A greater understanding means that they both can be touched by the infirmities of each other. A greater understanding also means a better understanding of each other's needs, which should translate to a better fulfillment of those needs.
The relationship between God the Father, God the Son and God the Holy Spirit is not one of inferiority or superiority. Rather it is one of submission that the will of God might be fulfilled both in heaven and on earth. They are both equal in power, omnipresence, omniscience, and omnipotence. None is greater than the other. So is a husband and wife relationship. Both are equal in status. Both should be submitting to one another in the fear of God (Ephesians 5:21) even though the man is the head of the wife.
Submission is a choice!
However, the relationship between the God Heads is not one of lordship. God the Father does not lord over God the Son, or God the Holy Spirit or vice versa. Neither does Christ, the Head of the Church, lord over the Church. Nor should the relationship between the husband and wife be one of lordship. The word lordship in Greek (Katakurieuo) means "to bring under one's power, to subject one's self, to subdue..."
To God, marriage is a serious business, and He expects us to take it seriously. It was the first institution He established between man and woman. Perhaps that was why the first miracle that Jesus performed was at a wedding feast-- turning water into wine (John 2).
Unless and until we know and understand God's purpose for marriage, we'll continue to get married for the wrong reasons, and consequently divorced for the same reasons. That's not God's idea. His ideal plan is that Christians show forth His love through their relationships with one another (husband, wife, sister, brother), for the furtherance of the gospel. Therefore, it is important that we know, understand and internalize God's purpose for marriage before getting married.
My plea to those yet-to-be married is that they reexamine their reasons for wanting to get married. Make sure it's not just because of sex, security, children, and all the other reasons Christians get married. As an unmarried Christian, honestly ask this question, "If the sex or security goes, will I be able to still love this person as if nothing's changed?" Realize that your marital oath is not to the person you marry but to an omniscient, omnipotent God. I believe that one of the reasons why God forbids premarital sex is to show how less significant sex is in the total marital picture. After all, there could be circumstances in a marriage that could prevent either of the spouses from having sex.
My prayer is that those who married for the wrong reasons can make the necessary adjustments in their marriages. Making the necessary adjustment can help these marriages become what God wants them to be. And those contemplating divorce will rethink their decisions, and seek means to save their marriages and work towards making their relationships better, now that they have a better understanding of God's purpose for marriage. No matter what your motives were for getting married, God can turn around any situation if you give Him your life and permission to work in your life.
A marriage not established on God's principle is doomed to fail.
Why not yield yourself and your marriage to Him today?