The Mystery of Marriage- Preparing for God's Plan -Marriage, with all of its related issues, is one of the most important matters we face in life. It is not only important in itself; it is very closely related to our relationship with God and to what God is doing in the world today. It is so closely related that Paul speaks of both almost in the same breath: "For this reason a man shall leave his father and mother and be joined to his wife, and the two shall become one flesh. This is a great mystery, but I speak concerning Christ and the church" (Eph. 5:31,32).
The subject of marriage is so large that it seems almost impossible even to write about it. It is so filled with mystery that only the Holy Spirit can reveal to our hearts what it is all about. It is so important that almost every other relationship in life is related to it in some way. And it is so perverted by the world that it takes a mighty miracle of God to clear the foundation in our hearts and minds and allow us to see clearly as God sees.
Yet with all of these difficulties, we still must face the subject squarely and ask God to reveal His plan for marriage to us. The truths surrounding this vast subject cannot really be contained in words, but words can be used to point the way. These few words are directed primarily to young people who are beginning to think about the subject and who want to go God's way. May God grant revelation to our hearts as we briefly consider some of the more important areas in this great mystery that we call marriage.
The Beginning - God's Design
We must begin at the beginning--literally. It was God who designed man and woman. Let us allow this truth to sink into our hearts and never leave. God always does things in perfection, and He certainly did no less in this matter. If we want to experience His purpose in marriage, we must go to Him for understanding and the ability to fulfill His purpose. In making that statement, we are assuming that the reader is looking to God in this matter and that he or she has a beginning relationship with God. If this is not the case, may I strongly recommend that the subject of marriage be laid aside for the moment, in order to address the more basic subject of a true relationship with God?
It is absolutely impossible to work out God's purpose in marriage apart from abiding in Christ by the Spirit. Apart from God, a couple may enter into marriage and live together their whole lives, but they will never experience the riches of love that God intends, or find true fulfillment in the relationship. God never designed for man to live apart from Him, and every attempt to do so only brings sorrow and disappointment sooner or later. If young people would take this one admonition to heart, it would save them much heartache: "Remember now your creator in the days of your youth" (Eccl. 12:1). Focus on God, not on marriage. Marriage is not the answer to life's meaning. God is.
The written account of God's creation of man and woman contains so much that can help us if we will take the time to consider it. God preserved the account for a reason. His plan for man and woman has never changed. It is for us to go to our Creator and understand what He had in mind and then work it out for His glory. If we are open, He will reveal His purpose to our hearts. I encourage each one to carefully and prayerfully consider the Genesis account. The Holy Spirit will reveal the riches of God's design to every hungry heart.
One statement from Genesis 2 can help us to understand some of the desires that are in our hearts as young people. God said it was not good for man to be alone, so he created Eve as a companion, or helper, for Adam. The desire of every heart is for companionship. This is what God designed. There is a longing in every heart to be with others, and especially to be with one of the opposite sex. We all want a friend to share our deepest heart desires with. Close intimate friendship in marriage is wonderful and fulfilling beyond words. But this will only happen if it is worked out in God's way.
Many in this world today try to work out this intimate friendship separate from God, and it often ends in disaster and disappointment. We must not be quick to think that all our expectations can be met in a close friend of the opposite sex. Another person cannot be to us what Jesus can be. He is the one who promised to be our true Friend. Another human being can only go so far in friendship, but there is no limitation in Jesus. Jesus has promised to come and dwell within us by the Holy Spirit. That is something another person cannot do. Where others will fail, Jesus will not fail us. Others may stay with us for a time, but Jesus has promised that He will never leave us or forsake us. He goes with us into every responsibility of life. If we will establish a true friendship with Him, it will serve as the foundation for a relationship with others, and in particular with our future wife or husband.
In reading the Genesis account we learn that God created man to rule over His creation. This is God's design, but again, this inborn desire to rule must be worked out in God's way: in a union relationship with Himself. Satan tempted Adam through Eve to work out his calling separate from God. Adam listened to Satan's lies and led the whole human race into sin. The fundamental temptation was to move separate from God, and Adam fell. This is still the temptation today. But God has made a way back, and we can now partake of the Tree of Life through Christ.
Realizing this in every one of our lives must be the foundation. We cannot succeed in marriage apart from living the life of God. This may seem so faraway and demanding that we want to take a shortcut and get on with marriage. But if we do, the same disaster will meet us that met Adam. If Adam had listened to God instead of Satan (through Eve), things would have been much different. Can we learn from the account and go back to God?
One more observation from that early account may help us at this point. In God's original creation, He pronounced everything good. There was no flaw. It was perfect. It was only when sin entered in that problems came. The mess we see in the world around us is caused by sin, not by God. There has been conflict between men and women from the beginning until now. Conflict does not come from God.
Down through the centuries the pendulum has swung back and forth, man dominating and then woman. In some cultures, woman is the slave. In others, she is the queen who rules. In families and cultures, mankind attempts to cope with this conflict of the sexes in a thousand ways separate from God. But in God there is no conflict, nor problems, only the perfect harmony of two being made one. It is a mystery, but it is real. Those who go God's way learn the mystery. Those who try to work out marriage apart from God experience the conflict. Let us be those who go back to God and learn His ways. His way in Jesus is perfect.