What is marriage?
Marriage is a covenant. And it’s not for ourselves primarily. It’s a covenant before the Holy and living God that is a representation of Christ and the mutual love of His bride, the church. There are many similarities between Jewish wedding traditions and the marriage of Christ and His Church. It indeed is a beautiful picture! Below I’ve highlighted several reasons why Marriage is good for man to pursue and why I believe singles are not getting married in the church.
Maybe you are single and desire to get married. But don’t ask girls out from church. I believe changing the culture requires proper thinking about what marriage is. How marriage is to be pursued and thought about. And it’s not being encouraged. In fact, I would argue marriage is being discouraged in the church primarily. And it shouldn’t be that way. We need to get back to a proper view of marriage, what it is for, the purpose of marriage, and encouraging men to ask.
Marriage is a beautiful picture of the Gospel and is ultimately about the Greater marriage of Christ and His Bridegroom. Below is how the author of Faithequip.org describes the beautiful marriage picture-
Credit to Faith Equip.org
The first stage of the Jewish wedding system is the arrangement. The father of the bridegroom and the father of the bride arrange the wedding. A bride price is paid and, according to Fruchtenbaum (2005:3), in the case of the bride of Christ, the price was the blood of the Son: “Christ also loved the church, and gave himself up for it” (Ephesians 5:25b; cf. John 3:16). The arrangement was thus sealed with blood.
The second stage is the preparation. It covers the period of betrothal which could last for a minimum of a year or a longer time. During this time, the bride is prepared and trained to take on the role of a wife and her purity is observed. Paul writes: “For I am jealous over you with a godly jealousy: for I espoused you to one husband, that I might present you as a pure virgin to Christ” (2 Corinthians 11:2).
Through the Word of God, the bride is set apart for her future Husband so “that He might sanctify it, having washed it by the washing of water with the word, that he might present the church to himself a glorious church, not having spot or wrinkle or any such thing; but that it should be holy and without blemish” (Ephesians 5:26-27). In the future the bride will be glorified. In her glorious state, the bride will have no spot or wrinkle, meaning she will have no outward or inward defilement of any sort and there will not be any evidence of aging (Fruchtenbaum 2005:5).
During the preparation or betrothal stage, what security does the bride have that the Bridegroom will come to fetch her? During the Church age (from Pentecost until the rapture), every believer is baptised and therefore united or placed “in Christ” (1 Corinthians 12:13). Further, the bride is given gifts (1 Corinthians 12-14; Ephesians 4) and sealed with the Holy Spirit, which certifies ownership and protection.
What does the Bridegroom do during the betrothal period? He prepares a place for his bride: “In My Father’s house are many mansions; if it were not so, I would have told you; for I go to prepare a place for you. And if I go and prepare a place for you, I come again, and will receive you unto myself; that where I am, there ye may be also” (John 14:2-3).
The Fetching of the Bride
The third stage of the Jewish wedding system is the fetching of the bride: “The groom would go to the house of the bride on the wedding day to fetch her to his home” (Fruchtenbaum 2005:5). God will announce this event with a shout and a trumpet blast and Christ will appear in the atmospheric heavens to fetch the universal Church (1 Thessalonians 4:15-16). All believers from Pentecost until the rapture are baptised “in Christ” and they will be fetched. At the time of the rapture, only the dead “in Christ” will be resurrected, meaning their spirits will be united with their resurrected, glorified bodies. Church age believers “in Christ” that are still physically alive will be changed: without experiencing physical death and, in the twinkling of an eye, they will exchange their mortal bodies for glorified bodies (1 Corinthians 15:50-54; 1 Thessalonians 4:13-18).
The Marriage Ceremony
Stage four takes place privately in the home of the Bridegroom and is not the wedding feast, but rather the marriage ceremony (Fruchtenbaum 2005:6). Perhaps one can add that believers who died prior to Pentecost will likely attend this wedding ceremony as “friends of the Bridegroom” (cf. John 3:29). Just before the wedding ceremony takes place in heaven, Church age believers will appear before the judgment seat of Christ (Romans 14:10-12; 1 Corinthians 3:10-15; 2 Corinthians 5:10). This judgement is not to punish or to condemn — “there is now no condemnation for those who are “in Christ” (Romans 8:1) — but to reward Church age believers for worthy works done subsequent to their salvation. Revelation 19:7-8 describes the wedding ceremony where a glorified bride marries her Bridegroom: “For the marriage of the Lamb is come, and his wife has made herself ready. And it was given unto her that she should array herself in fine linen, bright and pure: for the fine linen is the righteous acts of the saints.”
The Marriage Feast
After the private wedding ceremony comes the public marriage feast (stage five). The Father invites many to attend the marriage feast of his Son, but only believers can attend (cf. Matthew 22:1-14). Whereas the wedding ceremony will take place in heaven, the marriage feast will take place on earth. Once the Father has made all Christ’s enemies his footstool during the seven-year Tribulation period (cf. Matthew 22:44; Hebrews 2:8), Christ will return to the earth to establish the Messianic kingdom in terms of the Davidic kingdom. Old Testament saints and Tribulation saints will also attend the wedding feast (cf. Isaiah 25:6; 26:19; Daniel 12:2; Revelation 19:9; 20:4-6). The marriage feast will begin the Messianic kingdom (Fruchtenbaum 2005:7).
The Home of the Wife of the Lamb
The Messianic kingdom will exist for a thousand years, then the final rebellion will occur, Christ will then judge all unbelievers of all time at the great white throne judgement and then the Messianic kingdom will merge into the Eternal order (1 Corinthians 15:20-28; Revelation 20:1-15). The final abode of the Wife of the Lamb will be the New Jerusalem in the Eternal order (Revelation 21:9-22:5).
As the Bridegroom, Christ shows the unfathomable depths of his love for his bride by dying for her on the cross. He has betrothed her and she is being sanctified by the washing of the Word. At the moment the Church is still called the bride of Christ. But soon the marriage ceremony will take place in heaven and the glorified bride will become the Wife of the Lamb. The marriage feast will follow thereafter on earth in the kingdom.
To Christ be the glory, great things He has done, great things He is doing – and great things He will yet do!
I loved reading this article because it highlights marriage as being a representation of the marriage we live for- The marriage of Christ to His bridegroom. As Christians, we live in hope of the Eternal Marriage and get married on Earth as a representation of the Gospel, and unity of the Trinity, giving glory to God!
Marriage is good; It is Not Good for man to be alone
Then the LORD God said, “It is not good that the man should be alone; I will make him a helper fit for him.” Genesis 2:18
The world says 2 people complete each other. As if they are lacking something and “need eachother.” That is false. A healthy relationships starts with 2 people that are complete with Christ. The Ezer mentioned in Genesis is a helpmeet. Ezer was a military term. It signified someone on mission. The idea is that the Ezer or helpmeet is someone God provides who is on mission with the other person to work for and live for God’s Kingdom and His purposes. Creation was called good. But all of a sudden it’s not good for man to be alone. Man was not created for woman but woman was created for the man. At the same time, the marriage covenant is a covenant of companionship! It’s a one flesh union that goes beyond the mere physical although that is part of it. The one flesh union is a one person relationship in which everything is shared- (Goals, plans, thinking, desires, work, and bodies) for God’s glory. It’s the most intimate relationship someone will have on Earth! Jay Adams talks about how marriage is consummated not by sex as is thought of in the culture buy at the marriage vows.
Why is it not good for man to be alone?
Man needs a helpmeet to help him accomplishes God’s work in His life.
1 Corinthians 11:9- “Nor was man created for woman but woman for the man.”
In addition, a helpmeet helps couples fulfill the command in Genesis:1 to be fruitful and multiply.
Children are a great blessing form the Lord.
Psalm 127:3-5 ESV
Behold, children are a heritage from the LORD, the fruit of the womb a reward. Like arrows in the hand of a warrior are the children of one’s youth. Blessed is the man who fills his quiver with them!
A helpmeet helps fulfill God given sexual desires. The context of sex is within marriage. And within that context, sex is a good thing. God’s judgment is on the sexually immoral.
Sex is a good thing that needs to be pursued within the context of marriage. Many men struggle with lust. Although marriage won’t solve the lust problem, it can definitely help! Sex is God’s design for creation. It’s something to be enjoyed and delighted in! The immature think sex is not good. That the desire for sexual intimacy is evil/disgusting. But God says sex is good within the right context. Look at the verses below-
1 Corinthians 7:9
But if they cannot exercise self-control, they should marry. For it is better to marry than to burn with passion.
4 Let marriage be held in honor among all, and let the marriage bed be undefiled, for God will judge the sexually immoral and adulterous.
Let your fountain be blessed, and rejoice in the wife of your youth, a lovely deer, a graceful doe. Let her breasts fill you at all times with delight; be intoxicated always in her love.
1 Corinthians 7:2-3
But because of the temptation to sexual immorality, each man should have his own wife and each woman her own husband. The husband should give to his wife her conjugal rights, and likewise the wife to her husband
A wife is a good gift from the Lord
22 He who finds a wife finds a good thing
and obtains favor from the Lord.
This is the Godly Perspective that People should be thinking through as they pursue marriage. But that doesn’t answer the question, why aren’t singles getting married? I believe there are several reasons.
Lack of initiative. Men won’t ask. But there are many reasons for this. Many men are trying to avoid rejection, slander, and gossip. Passivity is safe. Noone will say anything about you. But if you try to get married, be prepared for lots of negativity. Going on-line to find a date has become the “easy route.” All negativity is avoided by going on-line.
They want to save their reputation. And it’s hard to come back from a bad reputation. Unfortunately, when men try and ask, their name gets around. People assume things about them that aren’t true. Asking too many girls results in being labeled as an idolater. Generally speaking, men aren’t encouraged to ask. Asking comes with consequences . It’s generally a negative experience unless she says yes!
Can’t tell if she’s interested or not. Countless men have told me they can’t tell if a girl is just Godly or interested. Asking has become a big deal. Several men have told me that can’t get Godly women to go to coffee. It’s hard to do!
Idolatry-Men are initially attracted visually. I agree that she should be attractive to the man. The Song of Solomon paints a great picture of marriage and the attraction of the spouses. Attraction can grow. But sometimes the physical appearance outweighs the character. Physical appearance will fade over time but it is a women’s character that will last a lifetime.
Marriage perspective- I’ve heard from several women that they think just getting coffee is one step toward marriage. That coffee is a really big deal. It shouldn’t be that way. People should be able to get coffee without the perspective being we are going to head down the marriage path. Yes dating is for marriage but there are initial stages of getting to know one another.
Availability- I’ve noticed some women just aren’t available. They just talk to other women or are in a lot of 1-1 situations. Girls can be more available in group settings. Yes we need to trust in the Lord but if you are creating situations in which no one can get to know you, there may be an issue. If you desire to get married, check your heart. Do you desire to get married and reject almost everyone?
Idolatry- Many women want a man that can provide. And for good reason. However, 1 Timothy 5:8 is not talking about a man that makes six figures. It’s talking about someone who can provide the necessities of life. Food, clothing, shelter. Now, woman are free to make more expectations but they will just narrow down the field a lot. Many men qualify under 1 Timothy 5:8 but are instantly discarded. Both men and women need to be rebuked for having expectations that are unrealistic.
What makes the Christian dating culture weird?
It is weird that there is a church full of singles that desire to get married and many can’t find a partner in the church. There are unwritten rules in the Christian dating culture such as only hanging out with girls in groups. Asking one girl one week that says no and another girl the next week is inappropriate. It’s expected that singles be friends first before asking. Going to coffee is a bigger deal than it needs to be. Women should give more guys chances. 1 Timothy 5:8 is not talking about someone that makes six figures. Beauty is not the only thing that counts but character that will last a lifetime. Asking is automatically idolatry if more than one girl is asked. Guys can’t tell who’s interested or not. Asking is generally not encouraged. Men’s leadership is being undermined. If it isn’t being encouraged to lead in this area, how will they be encouraged to lead in other areas? Guys can expect a lot of negativity, and gossip if they take leadership and ask. I think of South Africa where men are encouraged to ask and it’s celebrated. How the dating culture would change if we were taught to celebrate guys asking instead of looking down upon it. With all that said, frankly, many singles make the decision to go on-line. Singles don’t want to deal with all of the above.
Marriage is a beautiful thing! Marriage is valuable because it gives glory to God. While we wait for the Eternal marriage, we get married on Earth as a representation of Him and what he has done in our lives! Marriage is a covenant of companionship in which each party promises to provide company to the other party, leaving and cleaving to their spouse. Children are a blessing, sex within marriage is a good thing, and it needs to be pursued. It is not good for men to be alone. They need an Ezer to be on mission with them to help them accomplishes God’s purposes! A helpmeet, that was created for man. Women can be more open about going to coffee. Both sexes can have a more realistic view of marriage and what they want in a spouse. The looks, money and charm will fade quickly but a spouse of character will last a lifetime. Marriage glorifies God and helps us multiply the Earth. It is sanctifying and part of God’s good design. In the end, the only thing that will matter is Christ and how we lived for Him. We will bow before Him and give an account! A spouse can help us live for him, help us be more sanctified, and ultimately give a better account when we face Christ for all of eternity. A wife is a valuable thing. Pursue her.