Chapter Four – The Mission Of Marriage
The Lord God said, “It is not good for the man to be alone. I will make a helper suitable for him.” – Genesis 2:18
The Bible begins by acknowledging that marriage is a friendship. The entire world had just been created, a marvelous wonder of epic creativity, yet God knew that life would still not be good for man without the element of companionship. God gave woman to man as a gift of companionship.
“That is why even in paradise, loneliness was a terrible thing. That is why we should not be surprised to find that all the money, comforts, and pleasures in the world – our efforts to re-create a paradise for ourselves – are unable to fulfill us like love can. This is confirmation of our intuition that family and relationships are a greater blessing and provide greater satisfaction than anything money can buy.”(Keller, Page 111)
The mission of marriage for every husband and wife should be friendship.
A friendship that is consistent, transparent, and spiritual. Spiritual friendship is when we are able to connect through faith, keep each other accountable to being like Christ, we point out sin or character flaws that need refinement, and sharpen each other according to the Word. Marriage is a friendship that is for helping each other become better.
Friendships are important for marriages to thrive because through them a husband and wife can share in commonality. Whether it’s about certain foods, entertainment, music, or faith, relationships flourish when there is friendship.
“Perhaps the richest and best relationships, however, are those that combine both the natural and the supernatural elements.” (Keller, 116)
This would be a marital friendship where a husband and wife share in commonality, as well as in their faith.
I absolutely love what Tim Keller mentions about a Christian vision of marriage and what it means to fall in love on page 121:
“It is to look at another person and get a glimpse of the person God is creating and to say, “I see who God is making you, and it excites me! I want to be part of that. I want to partner with you and God in the journey you are taking to his throne. And when we get there, I will look at your magnificence and say, ‘I always knew you could be like this. I got a glimpse of it on earth, but now look at you!’” Each spouse should see the great thing that Jesus is doing in the life of their mate through the Word, the gospel.”
Spiritual friendship is wanting to help your spouse become the person God wants them to be.
Many aspects of marriage are great and important, including romance, laughter and fun, however, those things are not what keep a marriage going year after year. Rather the commitment to each other’s holiness and your endeavors to be holy are key to a lasting marriage. “Any lesser goal than that, any smaller purpose, and you’re just playing at being married.”(Keller,123)
As you build a great friendship with your spouse, a vital ingredient to making that happen is making your spouse your number one priority in life, below God of course. Keller mentions that “if your spouse does not feel that you are putting him or her first, then by definition, you aren’t. And when that happens, your marriage is dying.”(128)
God invented marriage to be a primary relationship in life. There is no other relationship on earth that is quite like it. The reason marriage needs to have priority is because of the power it has to set the course of life.
A strong marriage = Able to withstand any and every circumstance, good or bad.
A weak marriage = Unable to withstand even if every circumstance in life are good.
The key to giving marriage priority is found in spiritual friendship. We need to be eager to help our spouses know, serve, love, and resemble God in deeper ways. Pursuing and prioritizing a spiritual friendship in marriage is one of the greatest things one can do to ensure a long lasting, enjoyable marriage.
GET The Meaning Of Marriage: Facing The Complexities Of Commitment With The Wisdom Of God HERE