What’s the Point of Marriage? (Part 1)
by John Mark Comer
Okay, this is the good part. I’m telling you, this rewired the way I think about my marriage from the ground up. In the Genesis story, I see four reasons that God created marriage. And each one is an answer to the question, “What is marriage for?” This article focuses on one of the four: friendship. Here we go . . .
After he created Adam, God said, “It is not good for the man to be alone.”
Well, because humans are made in God’s image. That means we are called to image God, to mirror and mimic God to the world. But that’s a problem for Adam because God exists in a web of life-giving relationships, but Adam is alone.
Early in the story, God says, “Let us make mankind in our image.” Who is God talking to? Himself!
Later in Scripture Jesus talks about God as the “Father,” the “Son,” and the “Spirit.” But at this point in the story all we know is that God is not alone. And if God is not alone, why should Adam be?
I cannot tell you how often I hear people say, “All you need is God.” That makes for nice song lyrics, but the problem is, it’s just not true. God never says, “All you need is God.” Adam has God, and it’s not enough. God says, “It is not good for the man to be alone”!
Now, that doesn’t mean you have to get married. There are other avenues for up-close, vulnerable relationships. Jesus was single (sorry, Dan Brown). For Jesus’ followers, singleness can be an amazing way to live. The Christian tradition is filled with men and women who never married, yet found life-giving friendships. But I’m married. It’s what I know. And in my personal experience, marriage is an eye-opening glimpse into the inner workings of God.
In the wedding ceremony God says, “They become one flesh.” That word one is echad in Hebrew. It’s a graphic, weighty word. When you combine it with the word flesh, it basically means “fused together at the deepest levels.” And the exact same word is used for God. The ancient Hebrews had a prayer called the Shema that was the epicenter of Israel’s faith — “Hear, O Israel: the Lord our God, the Lord is echad.” God is fused together at the deepest levels. And in marriage we catch glimpses, hints, shadows of that kind of oneness.
There’s a line in the Hebrew wisdom literature that refers to a person’s spouse as his or her allup. It’s a word that can be translated “companion” or “best friend.”
Your spouse is your closest friend.
That’s one of the reasons God created marriage. For you to walk through life with the person you enjoy. With your spouse as the primary relationship in your life. Your allup. The one who knows you better than anybody. Better than your own mother.
To know and be known is a powerful thing. My wife knows all my flaws — trust me, there are many — and she still loves me. She still wants to get coffee and go for a walk. She still wants to spend her day off with me. This is one of my favorite things about my wife, hands down.
She’s my friend.
There’s nothing like waking up in the morning next to Tammy, knowing she’s in my corner.
No matter what the day throws at me, I know I’m not alone.
From Loveology by Jon Mark Comer
Watch for part 2 next Thursday.