What is the meaning of marriage? If I were to ask you that in person, would you have a good answer?
I’ve found that most married couples don’t really know how to answer that question, but it is essential to a successful relationship. In order to know what we are trying to accomplish in marriage—and what God wants to accomplish—you have to know its purpose.
There are three core things that happen when a man and woman get married. Protecting and preserving this core will make a strong marriage.
Financial unity: Before marriage, a man and woman are seen as individuals by the state. They pay separate taxes and own separate property. But upon getting married, they become a single financial unit.
Almost to a rule, people who get married tend to be better off financially than single people. Marriage is the greatest wealth-producing entity on earth.
But money can also cost you, especially if it begins to compete with time spent with your family. Work is also a big producer of stress, which means the pursuit of money can cost you your health. Protect your financial core, but don’t sacrifice your marriage or your health for money.
Meeting needs: Once you get married, your spouse becomes your next of kin. You become accountable for each other until you die. This means you are now responsible for meeting each others’ most important needs.
Remember, God created Adam, but Adam couldn’t meet his own needs. That’s why God then created Eve. Put simply, we fit each other. We compliment each other. When God joins you, you become closer than any family you’ve ever had.
In this core category, marriage only works when it is a partnership. Unhealthy marriages are those in which one spouse dominates another, or doesn’t tolerate differences. Husbands and wives in healthy marriages celebrate their differences and work hard to meet each other’s different needs.
Sexual exclusivity: Becoming sexual partners is another core element of marriage. In fact, it’s the only exclusive realm of the marriage relationship. You spend money with other people. You talk to other people. You pray, worship, and work with other people. But you should not have sex with other people.
You belong to each other and promise to be faithful to each other. In 1 Corinthians 7, the Apostle Paul says when you get married, you do not have authority over your own body. Instead, your spouse has a right of use of your body.
That means you are committed to fulfilling your spouse’s sexual needs.
When the devil attacks marriages, he usually does it at one of these three core areas—finances, family, or sex. These form the purpose of your marriage, and they must be protected at all costs. When one of these suffers, the entire marriage suffers.
Protect these core elements and your marriage will improve every year. Neglect them or misuse them and your marriage will struggle.
So get your finances in order. Set goals, and make sure you’re both on the same page. Focus not on meeting your own needs, but on meeting the needs of your spouse—whether those needs are about companionship, communication, or sex. Keep your core strong, and you’ll discover that your marriage is strong, too.
Jimmy Evans // Marriage Today