Our site is about helping people recover their marriage after an affair. But how can we talk about adultery without first knowing what marriage IS?
This series will focus on erroneous views of marriage that lead to wrong expectations, attitudes, and practices. Many bible-believing Christians go wrong because their concept of marriage is an illusion. So we’re going to spending the month of September studying the blueprint of marriage: 1) the origin of marriage, 2) the purpose of marriage, 3) the obligation of marriage, and 4) the commitment of marriage.
We talked last week about the Origin of Marriage–it began with God, who instituted it even before businesses and churches, as a foundation of society.
This week we talk about another common misunderstanding: the PURPOSE of marriage.
Many people think it is for procreation–or to raise godly offspring–and still others believe it is a moral sanction for sex–in other words, the purpose of marriage is so we can have sex in a way that is acceptable to God! But both of these purposes are too narrow. Sex doesn’t start a marriage and sex doesn’t end a marriage–so marriage is not “for sex”! Likewise, people can and do procreate inside, outside, along side and upside down of marriage! Mating and making babies does not equal “marriage”!
So what IS the purpose of marriage? Let’s look in a couple verses!
It is Not Good to be Alone
Genesis 2: 18
“Then the Lord God said, “It is not good that the man should be alone; I will make him a helper fit for him.”
God made Eve, not only as Adam’s HELPER, although help is one dimension of companionship, but also as his COMPANION.
The reason God instituted marriage was to meet the need for intimate companionship. Marriage was designed to defeat loneliness. The essence of marriage is a COVENANT of companionship–and both parts are important: the COVENANT part…and the COMPANIONSHIP part. This same emphasis on companionship is stressed elsewhere.
A Companion Who Was Formerly WILD-Now Willing to be Close!
Proverbs 2: 16-17
“So you will be delivered from the forbidden woman,
from the adulteress with her smooth words,
who forsakes the companion of her youth
and forgets the covenant of her God;”
Hebrew word for “companion” here is אַלּ֣וּף transliterated: ‘al-lūp̄ from the root word alluwph. This word means a friend, an intimate, someone who is familiar and gentle from the knowing. The funny thing about this word is that it also has an aspect that has to do with wild animals. The concept is “one who is turned” and it means a wild animal that has been tamed and is not familiar and gentle. So this so someone who had WILD attitudes and actions, who is now tamed–warm and willing to be close.
A Companion of Like Character, Rank and Calling.
“You cover the Lord’s altar with tears, with weeping and groaning because he no longer regards the offering or accepts it with favor from your hand. But you say, “Why does he not?” Because the Lord was witness between you and the wife of your youth, to whom you have been faithless, though she is your companion and your wife by covenant. Did he not make them one, with a portion of the Spirit in their union? And what was the one God seeking? Godly offspring. So guard yourselves in your spirit, and let none of you be faithless to the wife of your youth. “For the man who does not love his wife but divorces her,” says the Lord, the God of Israel, “covers his garment with violence,” says the Lord of hosts. “So guard yourselves in your spirit, and do not be faithless.”
Hebrew word for “companion” here is חֲבֶרְתְּךָ֖ transliterated ḥă-ḇer-tə-ḵā from the root word chabereth. That is a word that means your fellows–your associates who are of like character. These are the people of your society who are of like rank and like calling. In other words–YOUR BUDDIES. The guys you grew up with and went to school with. The girl across the street. Someone CLOSE.
Marriage is a Covenant of Companionship
In both of these verses we are being warned about adultery and being faithless, and both verses indicate that abandoning the Covenant of Companionship is infidelity! Together the two Hebrew words speak of a relationship in which there is constant commitment (the covenant part) and intimacy (the companionship part). The two passages make it clear that entrance into marriage should mean the desire to meet each other’s need for companionship. Love, in marriage, focuses on GIVING one’s spouse the companionship s/he needs to eliminate loneliness! In practical terms that means finding out what makes your spouse feel lonely and giving them what they need so they don’t feel lonely!!
Intimacy apart from commitment is not adequate; commitment to remain together apart from intimacy is equally deficient. BOTH elements are necessary!
Now we’re not saying that raising godly offspring is wrong–it’s just not the purpose of marriage. It is PART of the purpose. It is an aspect of marriage, as is mating. The intimacy of biblical companionship extends beyond the physical (sex), to every aspect of human nature.
“One Flesh” Is Not All About Sex!
Finally, let’s discuss one phrase that is very commonly misunderstood as it relates to marriage: “One flesh” (as found in Gen. 2:24, Matt. 19:6, Mark 10:8, etc.) Almost everyone thinks that is referring to sex! The words used are closer to the word we use in English when we say “everybody.” Do we mean “each physical body”? No–we mean “everyone” or “each person”–and the Hebrew and Greek words here are similar.
The marriage union is meant to be the closest, mose intimate of all human relationships. Two persons may begin to think, feel, and act as one. They function as one unit. So when God speaks of “one flesh” He’s talking about union:
- one body — sexual union, a close physical union
- one flesh — the marriage union, an even closer union of companionship
- one spirit — the union with Christ, the closest union of all!
God’s revealed goal is for a husband and wife to become one in all areas of their relationship–intellectually, emotionally, physically. The Covenant of Companionship fills this need.
People who enter marriage with the idea that marriage is pretty much legalized sex also have a grossly unbiblical idea of the next important concept about marriage that we’ll discuss next week: The OBLIGATION of marriage.