What Is Marriage? (Ephesians 5:31-32)

What Is Marriage? (Ephesians 5:31-32)

Societal collapse

Virtually every problem in our society can be traced back to the breakdown of marriage. Poverty, violence, incarceration, education, grades, depression, suicide, risky sexual behaviors, etc. are all directly tied to the breakdown of marriage. We all know this to be true. However, how can you fix something that you cannot even define?


Over the last decade our society has debated marriage, traditional vs. marriage equality. The arguments made before the Supreme Court made one thing clear, even those on the traditional side have no idea what marriage is. Marriage is not defined as between one man and one woman; that is simply who participates in marriage. The vast majority of people have no idea what marriage even is. Is it just a piece of paper? A commitment? Love? Children? What is marriage?

The real problem

Marital problems are in reality spiritual problems. They are merely the fruit of fallen people who are not right in their relationship with God. A broken relationship with God results in a broken relationship with others. In order to solve the issue of marriage, we must turn back to God and see what He has ordained.

Marriage defined

God did not give Adam a wife because of some unmet need in Adam’s life. As Jesus points out in John 4, the deepest longings of the human heart are met by God not a spouse. When we seek to have our needs met by our spouse we commit idolatry and set up our spouse for failure; they literally cannot be God. Marriage was created by God to show all of His creation the love He has for the church. Marriage is therefore nothing more than a picture, a picture of God’s covenant with His people. Marriage may include a legal arrangement, commitment, sex, procreation, companionship, shared resources, etc., but those things are not marriage. Marriage is a picture of God’s covenant love for His Church.

The purpose of marriage

Most people have no valid reason for being married or desiring marriage other than fulfilling their own selfish desires. It should therefore come as no surprise that these marriages in turn result in brokenness, pain, and suffering. However, true joy in marriage comes in being an accurate reflection of Christ’s love for His bride. Just as the quality of art is judged by its likeness to reality so the more closely your marriage illustrates the covenant love of Christ the better it will be.


Will you look to Jesus to satisfy the needs of your heart? Will you seek to accurately portray Christ’s covenant love within your marriage? Will you turn to Jesus Christ?


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