Yesterday I started talking about some of what I consider to be secondary purposes for marriage, although marriage as a "type" representing the church's relationship to Jesus is a bigger deal than most secondary purposes. Today I'd like to conclude the portion of this series on marriage by covering a few more "secondary" purposes the Bible describes for marriage.
The first of these purposes is that marriage is a vehicle through which people receive blessings. This is hardly the only way, and this is not to say that those who cannot or do not marry are not blessed in other ways by God. There are certainly many blessings God provides apart from marriage. Hebrews 11 is a testament to people who were blessed for their faith, for instance.
But marriage is a relationship in which people are blessed. Solomon was big into this idea, saying, "He who finds a wife finds what is good and receives favor from the LORD" (Prov. 18:22 - NIV). He especially found that a wife of noble character was worth more than jewels, and that life with a spouse is to be enjoyed. While Solomon's words are written, obviously, from the husband's point of view, I've heard numerous wives call their marriages sources of blessing too.
A second "secondary purpose" is related to the purpose of completion I discussed Monday. This purpose is to help each other, especially in regards to parenting and the ministry. I've talked about parenting, but our spouses help us in ministry, just as Aquila helped Priscilla, and I'm sure, vice versa.
A final purpose is related to completion as well. God gave us our spouses for companionship. Not only did God create Eve so that Adam would be complete, but He created Eve so that Adam would no longer be alone: "The LORD God said, "It is not good for the man to be alone." (Gen. 2:18a). Humans are social creatures, and need other humans. Our spouses help us avoid loneliness.
One caveat to all this discussion about purposes is that not every marriage exhibits these purposes. Spouses that are abusive do not "complete" a partner, and will often drive their partner to loneliness. Likewise spouses that are unfaithful abuse the place of sex, and those who abuse children miss completely the purpose of parenting. This is a sad reality, but it is reality because of sin. The good of marriage that God has created is too often tainted by sin, and God's purposes are rejected by those to whom He has given this wonderful relationship model. When we turn our backs on sin, and seek His purposes, our marriages will once again start realizing the fruit of His purposes. That is my prayer for all of us.