Friday, June 13, 2014

real talk // the mission of marriage

this is an installment of my series on The Meaning of Marriage by Tim Keller.

catch up on past posts here: 
  the secret of marriage | the power for marriage | the essence of marriage

marriage, at it's most simple form, is a friendship. God himself is a friendship - between the Holy Spirit, the Son, and the Father. because we were made in God's image, we were made for relationship.

a friend loves at all times. Proverbs 17:17a
the sweetness of a friend comes from his earnest counsel. Proverbs 27:9b
iron sharpens iron, and one man sharpens another. Proverbs 27:17

Tim states "while erotic love can be depicted as two people looking at one another, friendship can be depicted as two people standing side by side looking at the same object and being stirred and entranced by it together." and that is why marriage is a friendship. because a marriage isn't simply about the relationship, but rather it's about something that both people are committed to besides each other - God.

and that is also why marriage is a mission. it is two friends on a journey together to the same destination. and on that journey these friends help each other through the challenges they face.

therefore, confess your sins to one another and pray for one another, that you may be healed. James 5:16a
be kind to one another, tenderhearted, forgiving one another, as God in Christ forgave you. Ephesians 4:32
bear one another's burdens, and so fulfill the law of Christ. Galatians 6:2

friendship is birthed out of the common mission that both spouses are committed to. but the spouse's differences are what strengthens the friendship as well.

and let us consider how to stir up one another to love and good works. Hebrews 10:24
but exhort one another every day, as long as it is called "today," that none of you may be hardened by the deceitfulness of sin. Hebrews 3:13

these commands were given to unrelated Christians. so the question is, if two unrelated Christians are supposed to engage this way, how much more should a husband and wife?!

i love how Tim discusses that the search for an ideal mate is hopeless. an ideal mate would be like a finished statue. but none of us on earth are finished! we should instead be looking for a wonderful block of marble. because in this block of marble, weaknesses, flaws and all, you can see the person that God is creating! and part of the mission of marriage is to help your spouse become the person that God is creating him or her to be! what a special role we get to play in our spouse's life!

when i made my vows on my wedding day, i was committing myself to my husband. but i was also committing my marriage to the Lord. and even more than that, i was committing myself to my husband's holiness. committing myself to helping him love the Lord more than he loves me. because only when we both love the Lord more than each other, can we truly put each other's needs ahead of our own.

just like the Lord should be first in our marriage, every other relationship should be prioritized under our marriage. not that these other relationships don't matter, but just that our marriage should be top priority. and that's the way it is meant to be. as Tim explains, "God did not put a parent and child in the garden of Eden, he put a husband and a wife."

"therefore a man shall leave his father and mother and hold fast to his wife, and they shall become one flesh." Genesis 2:24

becoming one flesh means forming a new union. this union must be even more powerful than any other union. marriage is meant to be our most important relationship and also our most fulfilling relationship. that's why my husband is not only my partner, but also my best friend.

forming a new union also means creating a new mission. not compromising between both of our families ways of doing things. but rather, working together to create our own unique pattern of doing things because we are a new family. marriage is powerful and can set the course of the rest of our lives. and because it has unequaled power, it must have unequaled priority.

marriage is a mission and spouses are partners in that mission. i love that analogy. 

quote by Antoine de Saint-Exupery


  1. YES, yes, and YES! Amen. This is such an amazing post full of soooo many beautiful truths. It's also a gentle nudge from God in reminding me of this. Thanks, friend, for sharing.

  2. Love this - Love the quote on that list picture too!!! Such good truths!

  3. thanks Jenna! reading this book has really been a blessing because like you said - it's full of so many truths & nudges from God :)

  4. thanks Caroline!!! that quote is one of my favorites ever! & actually why i had that picture taken at our wedding! ha!

  5. This is amazing. My husband read that book and I think it's' time that I did as well. I love the analogy that we are partners in a mission. So good.

  6. I got The Meaning of Marriage out from the library but haven't started it yet, I can't wait to get to it!

  7. I've heard great things about this book! I'll need to look into it :)

  8. yes! such an awesome analogy and one i need to remember so often! we are teammates! :)

  9. you will be so blessed by it! :)

  10. i hope you read it! i was so blessed & so challenged by it! :)

  11. this is full of wisdom! i love it! the statue/block of marble bit makes me think. thanks for this!