Few topics receive more attention than marriage and relationships. New books fill (Amazon) shelves, articles pop up every day and opinions flood social media.
As our culture grapples with the complexities of modern sexuality, marriage is often the focus. And while forces on the right and left grapple over the language and legitimacy of marriage, there is a third front we’d be foolish to overlook.
This third group isn’t arguing over the shape of marriage at all—no, they’re questioning the need for marriage altogether. But this is a mistake, one that Scripture is in no way neutral about.
Marriage is woven into the tapestry of biblical witness from Genesis to Revelation, and it provides a buttress to civilization and backdrop to God’s plan of redemption.
It’s true that marriage isn’t for everyone—and that’s OK. And not everyone’s journey down the aisle will look the same. But marriage has been the dominant experience of most people in our society for good reason.
If you’re on the fence about whether it’s worth it to tie the knot or not, here are six reasons to take the plunge:
We Were Made for Community.
Marriage is an essential reflection of our divine sociology. The Bible begins with the silence and solitude of the triune God. “In the beginning, God…” The story begins there but it does not end there. God spoke into that silence and worlds sprang forth, stars commenced to shine and creatures populated the earth. From the very beginning mankind was formed as the ultimate expression of God’s creation.
But man was not created to be alone. God is a social being, so man created in His image must reflect that social character.
Of all the “goods” stated by God throughout his process of creation, none equaled the “very good” creation of man together with woman. What God determined as “not good” was that man was alone. Marriage is the first social human institution seen in Scripture, as Adam and Eve serve as the paradigm for future communions joined in God’s sight, to love one another and be unified physically and spiritually, leaving their parents and joining together.
Marriage Is Freeing.
We were all created to be free. Timothy Keller has often drawn attention to the fact that there is a freedom to be found in the self-denial and self-sacrifice of marriage. Freedom through obligation might sound like an impossible modern day paradox, but it is not, he says:
The culture says you have to be free from any obligation to really be free. The modern view of freedom is freedom from. It’s negative: freedom from any obligation, freedom from anybody telling me how I have to live my life. The biblical view is a richer view of freedom. It’s the freedom of—the freedom of joy, the freedom of realizing what I was designed to be.
Marriage Reflects God’s Glory.
We are all created and placed on this earth to glorify God, in our actions, in our beings, in everything that we do.
John Piper has written that marriage “exists to magnify the truth and worth and beauty and greatness of God. Not the way a microscope magnifies, but the way a telescope magnifies. Microscopes magnify by making tiny things look bigger than they are. Telescopes magnify by making unimaginably big things look like what they really are. Microscopes move the appearance of size away from reality. Telescopes move the appearance of size toward reality. When I say that all things exist to magnify the truth and worth and beauty and greatness of God, I mean that all things—and marriage in particular—exist to move the appearance of God in people’s minds toward reality.”
Marriage Is Sanctifying.
We were all created to be holy, for He who calls us is holy.
One of the first things you learn when you get married is that you are far less perfect than you once thought you were. There is something that happens when you live in close proximity to someone else; opening your life up to them day in and day out, you begin to understand your weaknesses and strengths in a new light. Marriage gives us a context to understand Christlike sacrifice and service that no other relationship can provide.
This is illustrated by Paul in Ephesians 5, Christ’s life and sacrifice serves to cleanse and sanctify His bride the church. The Church in response submits to Christ as Lord. This relationship is mutually beneficial, the bride is made new and Christ receives his due glory. Likewise marriage between a man and a woman calls them both to a higher level of service, submission and sacrifice than they could ever experience alone. In this way, marriage serves to sanctify us and make us more like Christ.
Marriage Helps Create a Healthy Society.
We are called to be salt and light in a bland and dark world. Relationships do not occur in a vacuum. Every individual’s life impinges and affects the lives of those around them. Their choices and decisions have consequences beyond their own person. If you choose to sleep around, that will have an affect both on you and those you randomly intersect. If you choose to live together without getting married, there will be societal repercussions. Your relationship decisions affect your families, your neighbors, your children and often your children’s children.
There is a code divinely written into all of creation, which forms and informs our conscience, and places limits and consequences to actions regardless of culture. Heterosexual marriage, by its very nature, is an inherently stabilizing force of society and culture. Individuals who make commitments to one another, commitments which are intended to be lifelong and irrespective of condition, generally provide increased commitment to other areas of life. These are the strands of responsibility that thread their way through society and serve to stabilize it.
Marriage Is Fun.
Contrary to current public opinion, the Bible affirms and celebrates joy, happiness, intimacy and sex. Entire passages of Scripture are devoted to celebrating the enjoyment of married couples in the physical as well as emotional aspects of their relationship. Marriage is a gracious gift of God in that He provides a way for us to join together in a union that far exceeds physicality.
Marriage is the means to enjoy fully another human being, to graft yourself into them and realize the great potential of love encumbered by guilt. You become alike in ways you never thought possible and you learn to celebrate the ways in which you are different. You will hurt when they hurt, cry when they cry, laugh when they laugh and a part of you will die should they die. But through it all there is immense joy that calls you to jump in and participate in this glory.