What Is the Purpose of Christian Marriage?
By: Anne Dahlhauser
“So God created mankind in his own image, in the image of God he created them; male and female he created them.” - Genesis 1:27
She held her hands out, and her palms faced me. Then she pulled her hands together, in front of her face so her thumbs touched.
“It’s like two mountains, side by side,” my friend Ruth said. “Marriage is always about being side by side as equals and with a common purpose.” We were discussing my next writing topic over cups of coffee while kids danced and crashed in and out of the room. Sometimes the outside dog will sneak in through the door left open too long, and we’d pause our conversation to wrestle him back outside.
I played around with the image in my head for a while. Of course, she’d say mountains; mountains are strong and protective and inspiring. I have family in Colorado, so we’ve visited the mountains numerous times, and I immediately pictured the mountains visible just outside my sister’s front window. They are gorgeous.
But, I wondered to myself while Ruth coaxed the tail-wagging dog back outside, what is the “common purpose” of mountains? They don’t advance. They don’t take ground. Mountains protect but not because they actively fight. They inspire but not because they put on a great show. In fact, if mountains were defined by what they actively do, it would be far less inspiring. We could say they affect weather patterns or that they allow for great skiing recreation. But nearly all the examples are passive; they are things that happen simply because mountains are present.
In many regards, mountains don’t do. The ones outside my sister’s windows just are. Mountains are complete in their identity, and exactly that makes me stand in the foothills and look up with awe.
Mountains accomplish their purpose by their presence, and their function is simply to be.
Maybe my friend is right. I poured us more coffee and started taking some notes.
What Is the Purpose of a Christian Marriage?
Before talking to Ruth, I’d been thinking about the purpose of Christian marriage in order to write this devotional. I kept wondering, what are we called to do as married people? What is the purpose of marriage?
Then God said, 'Let us make mankind in our image, in our likeness...
The words here in Genesis uncover the mystery of marriage’s purpose. In these verses, we see the account of God’s creation of human beings in His image, a concept beyond our comprehension in every way. We have been created with a special and unique likeness of the Divine. And, as image-bearers of God, we fulfill our function simply by being.
Our marriage “to-do” list then requires us to daily and more fully understand our identity in Christ.
In marriage, we stand side by side as individuals fashioned by the Source of Love. Because of Christ, we are complete simply because we are. It isn’t so much about what purpose we actively fulfill. It may not be about the roles we play or the work we do. Instead, a marriage is made up of two people created in God’s image, a divine force that changes the scenery, causes awe, and embodies wholeness.
God saw all that he had made, and it was very good. And there was evening, and there was morning—the sixth day. Genesis 1:31
Anne Dahlhauser lives in rural Iowa on a quaint farm with her husband, five kids, and various animals. She holds an MA in Teaching Languages (TESOL and Spanish) and is a lover of words, culture, and communication. Most days you can find her teaching Spanish in her classroom, vacuuming up dog hair at home, or shuttling her kids between countless school activities - or trying to hide from it all with a good book in her tiny bedroom window seat.
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