“Now that the kids have left the house, it seems we don’t have much in common anymore. We go to work, worship, and occasionally spend time with friends, but our marriage no longer seems to have much meaning or purpose. We live separate lives and just happen to sleep in the same bed.”
The Purpose of Marriage
For many, the sole purpose of marriage is to have a regular companion to hang out with, someone to help pay the bills, and someone to help with the household chores. While these are wonderful benefits of marriage, I believe God has much more in mind when he brings couples together. Our marriage is part of a much larger story.
Knowing why marriage exists and its purpose helps to navigate the many seasons and storms of life.
We can see this with other institutions as well. For example, a coffee shop exists to make a decent cup of coffee. On the other hand, a hospital exists to meet the medical needs of its community.
A coffee shop does not have to worry about the latest medical advances because that is not why it exists. As such, it is free to focus on making a quality cup of coffee. Likewise, a hospital does not spend time worrying about brewing the perfect cup of coffee because that is not why it exists. It is free to focus on providing excellent medical care.
Knowing the purpose of our marriage helps to focus our energy, our attention, and the activities we engage in as a couple. It anchors our marriage through the ups and downs, twists and turns of life.
Difficulties such as financial hardships, sexual problems, and issues with in-laws are less likely to take us out when we are fiercely committed to accomplishing our mission. We are also less likely to drift apart with meaningless activities when we have a larger purpose to centre and direct the course of our relationship.
Problems will still come and distractions will still be prevalent. However, knowing our purpose helps us to view these things from a larger perspective and to discern what actually matters in the long run.
Consider the following in discovering the purpose and mission for marriage:
Where Can We Connect?
Each of us connects with a unique combination of people, places, and things. When we consider our place of work and worship, our city and neighbourhood, as well as our many friends and family members, we may find that our purpose is likely linked to these many connections.
What Are We Compassionate About?
As we connect with the world around us , what are our concerns? Is it a heart for social justice or humanitarian efforts, or maybe mentoring the neighbourhood youth, or providing educational opportunities for our communities? What stories tug at our heartstrings? Where do we long to see the glory of God displayed more fully?
How Can We Contribute?
Finally, how can we use our talents, gifts, and abilities to contribute to those issues we are compassionate about? How can we personally make a difference to the world around us ?
It is often helpful to answer these questions individually first, and then as a couple. Our individual missions can then unite into one larger mission for the marriage.
Discovering the purpose of our marriage allows us to develop an outward, mission-oriented focus; there is much more to our marriage than merely a cure for loneliness.
This larger purpose can also be seen in the relationship between Christ and the Church, as together they make known the deep wisdom and abundant love of God to the world (Ephesians 3:10-11).
What is the purpose of your marriage? Why does it exist? Why has God brought the two of you together? If we look for answers to these questions, our hearts will be drawn together and therefore our marriage made stronger — leading us to become more than just roommates again!