The Purpose of Marriage by Ray Stedman.org

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A DAILY DEVOTION FOR JANUARY 18TH

The Purpose Of Marriage

 READ THE SCRIPTURE: MARK 10:1-12

For this reason a man will leave his father and mother and be united to his wife, and the two will become one flesh. So they are no longer two, but one.

Mark 10:7-8

There are a great many implications in this statement. First, you recognize that it does away with all such notions as homosexual marriages. There are no such things. These pathetic misrepresentations are but a poignant commentary upon the twisted, distorted ideas that prevail in society today. It takes a man and a woman to be married. Marriage is one man and one woman, and it always has been, from the beginning.

But what our Lord makes clear is that this relationship is the highest relationship possible in life. It takes priority over all others. Closer even than the tie of blood is that of marriage, in the mind and heart of God. It is a closer relationship than with any children who follow. People are to become husbands and wives before they become fathers and mothers. This indicates a priority of relationship. A man is closer to his wife, and a wife to her husband, than they will ever be to their children. Though we may not feel that way, nevertheless, it is the truth.

What, then, is the purpose in marriage? It is to become one. This is what marriages are for. Two people who are disparate, distinct, and different individuals, with different personalities, different gifts, blending their lives together so that through the process of the years they become one flesh--that is what marriage is. It is not something that happens instantaneously when you get married. The wedding service does not make you one. The first act of sex after marriage does not make you one. It begins the process, but it does not finish it. It takes the whole marriage to accomplish this. Marriage is the process of two people becoming one.

Therefore man and woman are not to live together as roommates. Marriage is not going your separate ways and having your separate careers and merely sharing a house and a bed together. Nor are they to split up over every problem or difficulty that arises between them; they are to work them out. They are not to separate; they are to choose to be together, to spend the rest of their lives together, in order that they might merge their lives together. Therefore they stop being rivals and start to become partners. A successful marriage, therefore, is not one without problems; it is one where the problems are being worked out, where the husband and wife do not split but stick together, face up to their problems, discover the hardness of heart that is there, and learn how God can soften it. In other words, it is a process, not a single production. It is a pilgrimage, not a six weeks' performance. It is intended to be a public portrayal, not a private predicament. It is a lifelong contract, not a renegotiable franchise, as many presume today.

Thank You for these plain and clear words that help me understand what is involved when we choose a wife or husband and what Your purpose is in it. Help me to walk in these ways.

Life Application

Has the cultural perception of marriage corrupted our perception of God's plan for this foundational relationship? How does malpractice of marriage violate God's intention?

Daily Devotion © 2006 by Ray Stedman Ministries. For permission to use this content, please review RayStedman.org/permissions. Subject to permission policy, all rights reserved.

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