Why Did God Create Marriage?

God created the institution of marriage to be a living picture that helps us comprehend the relationship of Christ to his church. Ephesians 5 unpacks this and challenges our 21st century understanding of marriage.

It creates roles in marriage.

Wives, submit to your own husbands, as to the Lord. For the husband is the head of the wife even as Christ is the head of the church, his body, and is himself its Savior. Now as the church submits to Christ, so also wives should submit in everything to their husbands. Ephesians 5:22–24 (ESV)

In marriage, the husband is the head of his wife. He is the loving leader of the home, just as Christ is head of the church. The wife is to submit to her husband’s leadership in everything. Modern culture considers a wife’s submission as repulsively chauvinistic. Submission is not chauvinistic, it is inherent to God’s design for the marriage relationship. Since the marriage relationship parallels Christ’s relationship to the church, submission to a head will be part of it.

It means marital roles are not arbitrary or reversible.

Just as the church could not die for Christ, Christ can not be in submission to the church. In the same way, in marriage, the roles of a husband and wife are not arbitrary or reversible. This does not mean a wife is inferior to her husband, simply that her role is different. The husband is responsible for leading and loving his family and he can not shirk that responsibility. Before God he, not his wife, is the spiritual leader of his home. She is there to help him, not replace him.

A healthy corrective to mistaken male leadership is examining the quality of a husband’s leadership over his wife, which is also found in Ephesians 5.

Husbands are to love their wives sacrificially as Christ sacrificed for the church.

Husbands, love your wives, as Christ loved the church and gave himself up for her, Ephesians 5:25 (ESV)

Rather than taking life from his wife and minimizing her, a Godly Christian husband will seek to build his wife up and joyfully deny himself to honor her.

Husband should sanctify their wives as Christ sanctifies the church.

...that he might sanctify her, having cleansed her by the washing of water with the word, so that he might present the church to himself in splendor, without spot or wrinkle or any such thing, that she might be holy and without blemish. Ephesians 5:26–27 (ESV)

Rather than using his wife as a tool to serve him, a Christian husband encourages his wife to blossom in the safety and security of his leadership. The Godly husband understands that as he edifies his wife, she will ultimately become an even greater blessing to him.

In the same way husbands should love their wives as their own bodies. He who loves his wife loves himself. Ephesians 5:28 (ESV)

Marriage is a cornerstone in God’s plan for humanity. God defines what it is and how it operates, not legislation or public opinion. The Bible begins with God officiating the first marriage and it ends with the ultimate marriage called the wedding supper of the lamb.

Marriage is one of God’s greatest gifts. Like a telescope, it allows us to peer into the future and begin comprehending the richness of our relationship with Christ.