The Heart of Marriage
Dennis & Jill Eenigenburg
3. WHAT ARE GOD’S PURPOSES FOR MARRIAGE?
God’s purposes for our marriage should be every married couple’s priority for their marriage. When we embrace God’s purposes many eternal and temporal benefits result. First of all, our marriages bring pleasure to the God that gave us marriage as a gift. Obedience always results in God’s blessing in this life and rewards in the life to come. Secondly, aligning with God’s purposes for marriage produces joy and fulfillment to the couple themselves. Thirdly, our marriages become a healthy nesting place for the spiritual, emotional and physical wellbeing for our children. Finally, believer’s marriages become a witness to the lost world of the existence of invisible God living out His love and will through our relationship.
PURPOSE # 1: TO MIRROR THE RELATIONSHIP OF CHRIST TO HIS CHURCH
A. THE HUSBAND IS TO PAINT A PORTRAIT OF CHRIST’S LOVE FOR THE CHURCH
A husband’s love has a divine standard. It does not say, “Love your wife like your neighbor loves his wife.” Nor does it say, “Love your wife as your father loved your mother.” It says, “Love your wife as Christ loved the church and gave Himself up for her.” Suffice it to say that husbands can only love as Christ loves with Divine help. It is a love characterized by “giving up,” another way of saying sacrificial. Someone has defined Divine love as, “a radical commitment to seek God’s best for one’s spouse.”
B. THE WIFE IS TO PAINT A PORTRAIT OF THE CHURCH’S SUBMISSION TO CHRIST
A wife’s submission to her husband has a practical and spiritual dimension. Practically it shows the marriage is a small organization with a designated team leader. In the case of marriage the leadership rests with husband and wife and demonstrates respect for God’s chosen leader by submitting willingly to his delegated authority. In the spiritual realm the wife is reflecting or modeling the obedience that Christ’s Bride the Church gives to Him. This submission is an expression of respect for the husbands God given-role and trust in God’s design for marriage. Submission in the Bible is never a response forced on a wife by her husband. Submission is a willful decision based on her obedience to her Lord. It is obvious that wives need Divine help to respond with a submissive spirit toward their husbands.
PURPOSE #2: TO MUTUALLY SERVE GOD AND COMPLETE EACH OTHER
A. HUSBANDS AND WIVES ARE TO MUTUALLY SERVE GOD
Eve is described as a “helper” for Adam. Eve was to help Adam by being his CO-WORKER. At this point in human history Adam had been given a garden to cultivate and keep. Eve was to help him in that work. A work that spoke of the dominion God had granted mankind over creation. Adam and Eve had the exalted task of being king and queen over God’s earth. They were His designed representatives created in His image to be earth’s managers. This co-worker relationship continues to be a priority purpose for married couples.
Eve was also a helper in the sense of a CO-WORSHIPPER. Adam and Eve were over God’s creation, but under the authority of the Creator. Worship is ascribing God his due honor and worth. In the garden Adam and Eve were to worship through obedience to God’s Word. All of God’s commands such as the food for eating, filling the earth, exercising dominion were of a very positive nature. There was only one negative command. There was a tree in the garden that God used to show Adam and Eve the difference between good and evil. To eat of the fruit of this tree was evil, not to eat was good, so together Adam and Eve were to serve God by being co-workers and co-worshippers. Husbands and wives are to be co-worshippers. A couple’s love for God must come before their love for each other. The more their lives are an offering of sacrificial worship to God the more their oneness will increase with Him and each other.
B. HUSBANDS AND WIVES ARE TO MUTUALLY COMPLETE EACH OTHER
Adam was judged by God to have a problem. He was alone. He was a relational being with no one like himself to relate with. After naming animals, Adam found no one who was bone of his bones or flesh of his flesh. God’s solution was to take a rib from Adam’s side as he slept and from that rib create a woman. When Adam saw Eve he proclaimed, “this is now (finally) bone of my bone, flesh of my flesh, she shall be called woman because she was taken from the man.” Genesis 2:22
Eve was described by in Genesis, as “a helper suitable” for Adam. A “suitable helper” is one that corresponds to him. Someone who is designed to solve his “aloneness” need and in turn Adam solved her aloneness need. The man and woman were designed specifically to be COMPANIONS. This companionship was to result in an intimate oneness spiritually, emotionally and physically in a bond called marriage.
TAKE IT HOME
WHAT DO YOU THINK ARE THE TOP FIVE NEEDS OF YOUR SPOUSE?
WHAT ARE YOUR TOP FIVE NEEDS IN YOUR MARRIAGE?
C. HUSBANDS AND WIVES ARE TO MULTIPLY GODLY CHILDREN
In I Thessalonians 2:10-11 Paul is describing his parent-like love for the believers in Thessalonica. In his words we find a beautiful reminder of the attitudes and behaviors parents should express toward their children. In these verses we find both tenderness and teaching. We find warmth and love coupled with the communication of the truth. In other words, children need a loving relationship from their parents as the foundation for respect and openness to instruction. It is clear in Scripture that God created the husband and the wife to be Co-parents.
There are three distinct phases to healthy parenting.
Phase #1 Receive — Parents need to RECEIVE their children as a gift from God.
Phase #2 Raise — Parents need to raise their children to know and love God.
Phase #3 Release — “Parents need to release their children to adulthood.
Releasing one’s adult child is very important to the development of two critical other relationships. When you release your child you enable them to develop a healthy dependence on the Lord. They are forced to trust Him to meet their needs rather than the parents. Releasing also gives children an opportunity to develop a healthy interdependence in marriage. Parents who cling to their adult children often drive them away. When an adult child is released, financially, emotionally and spiritually they become peers with their parents. From this position a long term healthy ongoing fellowship can proceed without resentment from the child or interference from the parents.
TAKE IT HOME
What are the three purposes God has given for marriage?
What key words describe the interdependence of the husband and wife?
1) Co-worker 2) Co-worshiper 3) Companion 4) Co-parent
“His Needs Her Needs”
Needs Expressed by Men and Women in Marriage:
Affection A Recreational Partner
A Trustworthy Spouse Sexual Fulfillment
Financial Stability Keeping Up Physical Appearance
Helping with Children An Orderly Household
1. What do you think are the top 5 needs of your spouse? 1-5 in Rank (From the list or others not listed.)
2. What are your top five needs in rank 1-5 (From the list or others not listed.)
3. Now compare at home and discuss how you meet each other’s needs.