Marriage—as old as the human race itself; the institution that has been the foundation for every civilization that has ever existed; the covenant relationship that God ordained between the man and woman He created—is under attack, to say the least. The fact is, marriage has been under attack for a long time in the U.S. and other cultures. From the 1950s to the first decade of the 21st century, the divorce rate has escalated exponentially. We are at the point now where society largely considers divorce a viable option for anyone unhappy with their marriage. Not only has the divorce rate sky rocketed in the past few decades, we now have those, like President Obama, who want to redefine marriage altogether, ignoring thousands of years of human history and insisting same-sex couples should have the right to marry if they so choose. With all the chaos and confusion surrounding marriage these days, one could easily lose sight of God's original intent and the blessing He planned marriage to be.
What did God intend when He gave the marriage relationship to Adam and Eve? Well, I think primarily He intended companionship. We read in Genesis 2 that God said the loneliness of man was not good, so He created a helper suitable for him: a companion, a friend. God intended that man and woman would share a deep and lasting relationship that would bless them physically, emotionally, mentally, and spiritually while simultaneously be glorifying to Him.
The physical blessings come through enjoying one another sexually and through the gift of children.
The emotional blessings come through the love, joy, sharing, and caring a person enjoys with one's dearest friend.
The mental blessings come through the intellectual stimulation that occurs by doing life together.
The spiritual blessings come by sharing in the life and purposes of God as we follow Christ in His calling upon our lives, as we pray for and encourage one another in our mutual faith, and as we serve God as partners in the Gospel.
As we experience God's intended purpose through our marriages, God is glorified as people see both the goodness of God in our lives together and a picture of Christ's love for His people and their love for Him.
Let me put it this way: Marriage is God's good gift to mankind, and He intended it to bring joy and fulfillment. Marriage itself is good because God created it, but it can only be experienced in its fullness if Christ is at the center. All the tragedy of divorce could have and still can be averted by giving Christ the central place in your life and marriage. Do that and begin to experience the joy that awaits you.
Oh, one last thing: I wrote this sitting on the balcony of our hotel room overlooking the the beautiful Pacific where we are celebrating our 32nd wedding anniversary. Marriage is indeed God's good gift!
P.S. If you're looking for more on marriage, our book, Growing Together As A Couple, might be an encouragement to you.