By Dr. Jeff Klick
I am not referring to survival, though that may very well be at stake, I am referring to focus. Have we stepped back from our marriages and asked why God wanted us to do this in the first place? Why did God come up with the idea of two people getting together and spending the rest of their days trying to figure out how to live together? What was He thinking? Was He bored and needed some entertainment?
If we remember the Garden of Eden account in Genesis, we can get a glimpse into what God was thinking. After all, it was God who told Adam, “that it was not good for him to be alone.” God is the One who said, “I will make a helper suitable for Adam.” God’s idea, therefore, it is logical that He must have a plan and reasons for this activity that we know as marriage.
I do not pretend to know all of God’s reasons, but here are some for our consideration. First, Adam was incomplete without Eve. I don’t mean that being single means you are less of a person than someone who is married; I simply am saying that being married will help you to grow and change in ways that being single will not or cannot. When we are single, we have a greater say over many areas of our life. Our time, habits, preferences, goals, can all be developed without the opinion or possible impact on anyone else. This is not true when we are married. We no longer are alone and our actions effect more than ourselves. Paul the apostle put it this way:
I want you to be free from anxieties. The unmarried man is anxious about the things of the Lord, how to please the Lord. But the married man is anxious about worldly things, how to please his wife, and his interests are divided. And the unmarried or betrothed woman is anxious about the things of the Lord, how to be holy in body and spirit. But the married woman is anxious about worldly things, how to please her husband. I say this for your own benefit, not to lay any restraint upon you, but to promote good order and to secure your undivided devotion to the Lord. –1 Corinthians 7:32-35
When we are single, we can maintain a more “undivided devotion” to the Lord than after we are married. Adam would become someone different with Eve than without Eve. I have a friend whose first wife died after they were married for 20+ years. I knew this man well in the context of his first marriage. I now know him in the context of his second marriage, and while he is the same man, he is different. Being married to his second wife has brought out different characteristics than being married to his first wife. Adam with Eve would be different from Adam without Eve. The same is true with each one of us.
In addition to our personalities developing in conjunction with someone, another reason for marriage is partnership and the maximizing of impact. Consider this passage:
Again, if two lie together, they keep warm, but how can one keep warm alone? And though a man might prevail against one who is alone, two will withstand him—a threefold cord is not quickly broken. –Ecclesiastes 4:11-12
Two heads are better than one. Two viewpoints often provide insights that would be missed by only one. No two people think exactly the same way, and that is a good thing. In marriage, a husband and wife will often view the same situation from completely different angles. If they can grow to the place where they respect and value each other’s viewpoint, instead of always trying to talk the other one into their own, they will have more wisdom, and probably make better decisions.
God usually draws two people together that are very different in temperament, skill sets, and personality. Why? Does He really have some warped sense of humor, or is this part of His plan to help both people develop, grow and mature? If two people are exactly alike, one is not necessary. Since most people will marry someone that is vastly different from them, the growth opportunities abound. Of course, we have to get past the obstacle of our pride in thinking we are always correct, but that is possible. Take it from someone who is proud; it can be done. Not only can we humble ourselves and learn from our spouses, we must if we want to become all that God desires for us.
Another reason for marriage, and this one is both resisted and often overlooked, is the power in prayer that can take place in the union. God states in His word this powerful truth:
Again I say to you, if two of you agree on earth about anything they ask, it will be done for them by my Father in heaven. –Matthew 18:19
What an amazing coincidence that marriage involves two people. A husband and wife that will learn to pray together will have great strength and intimacy. The opposite is also true. Almost any Christian married couple will readily agree that they should pray together, but how many actually do? Other than a quick bedtime prayer with the children or a short blessing over the meal, how many couples actually pray together? How many should? What would happen if we did?
While I do not know the answer to all of those questions I do know this much. Our marriages would be better off if we learned how to pray together. I also know that our enemy hates praying couples, and he will do whatever he can to thwart it. Why? What does he know that we do not seem to? Why is it so hard for a couple to pray together on any regular basis? Should it be? Why would most of us agree that we need to pray together, but studies show that most of us don’t?
Again, those questions need to be answered and the sooner the better. They need to be answered in our marriages, and today would not be too soon. Our marriages are under attack at a record rate – do they have a prayer? If not, why not? Now, that is a question to consider, isn’t it?