Swimmingly smooth or terribly turbulent, newlyweds or lifelong lovers, there is a purpose behind your marriage. You may have slid into marriage because it seemed “the thing to do,” or because you expected marriage to make you happy. But God is up to something bigger. He has a purpose for each of you individually, but He also has a specific purpose for your marriage.

In God’s economy nothing happens by accident. Your marriage, with all its messiness, is neither a surprise nor an afterthought to Him. Marriage was God’s idea. Your marriage is part of His purpose, regardless of how it started. If you got married without seeking God’s specific input, God’s hand is not shortened; He is still going about His purpose right in the middle of your marriage.

So, what is God up to in your marriage?

Not Your Happiness

Oh yes, marriage brings much happiness when done God’s way. But that’s not His primary purpose. Too many people get married because they imagine it will make them feel good; sometimes it does, and sometimes it doesn’t!

You’ve heard it before; marriage is hard. Differing expectations, old baggage, opposite personalities, and life happening all make for very real challenges. Two human sinners united as “one flesh” is a setup for disaster – except for God’s divine intervention.

And on top of that, marriage is supposed to be about intimacy. But ever since the Garden of Eden humans naturally hide. But intimacy and hiding don’t go together; they’re mutually exclusive. And that certainly becomes more problematic than ever in marriage.

So here are five things God desires for you and your marriage. This is what He’s up to.

  1. To Grow You

It becomes harder to ignore your prickly places when you’re living with your spouse. Dr Jordan Peterson describes how impossible marriage is: “I am going to handcuff myself to you, and you’re going to handcuff yourself to me. And then we’re going to get to tell each other the truth, and neither of us get to run away. Once we know the truth, then we’re either going to live together in mutual torment, or we’re going to try to deal with that truth and straighten ourselves out.” Ouch!

In that truth-telling you see the reality about yourself in a way you rarely do otherwise. And you have to contend with it.

That’s where growth comes in. You become desperate enough to change. And that’s where God can do His best work.

  1. To Heal You

When the person who knows you best loves you most, healing can happen. No, healing doesn’t happen in every marriage; some marriages are toxic. But the way God designed it, marriage heals you.

It’s an amazing thing when someone sees and knows everything about you, and still loves you. They don’t love the picture of you that you’ve tried to pretend is you, but they love the real you. If there’s any part of you that cares, that experience heals your soul, and fuels and motivates you to become who you were meant to be.

Isn’t that who God is? And in marriage God is making that process practical and real.

  1. To Teach You to Love Well

God is love. His purpose for every human being is that they “be conformed to the image of his Son.” (Romans 8:29) How is that going to happen? How are we going to become like Love Himself?

Marriage is perhaps God’s very best laboratory for us to learn to love well. Marriage cannot succeed without you becoming loving. Love is not a feeling. Love is first a Person, and then it’s a verb; love is doing. Real love is enduring, sacrificial, persistent, generous, truthful, full of hope. (see 1 Corinthians 13:4-7)

That’s who God is, and it’s who we are to become. Marriage is an amazing, challenging, and helpful place to learn that.

  1. To Demonstrate Oneness

Love is outward looking, creative. Because He is love, God wanted a family. He created humans. Even sin and evil has not been able to dissuade God from His desire, His plan, to be one with His human family; that’s the whole purpose and story of Jesus.

And God created marriage as an object lesson, a parable, a “sign and wonder,” a demonstration of what He desires to experience with us. (Ephesians 5:32)

Oh how far we usually are from that ideal! But when husband and wife learn to love well and demonstrate true physical, emotional, and spiritual intimacy, oneness, especially as two sinful human beings, it truly is an amazing demonstration of what God is after in His whole plan for us and for this earth.

  1. To Show His Glory

The only way any marriage can make it is for God to do His miracle-working power in each spouse and in the union between them. And He does! Over and over and over again God does exactly that. Every marriage is truly impossible – but for God.

And that’s what He’s after in your marriage. Broken communication, messed up by life, too much old baggage, no connection or intimacy, violence or addiction or infidelity – yes, God can do His miracle-working power in your marriage. Remember that both you and your spouse get a vote, and you can’t vote for your spouse. But problems just give God a bigger opportunity to do His work.

So, what is God up to in your marriage specifically? Seeking to understand how He is working in your unique situation will bring hope and empowerment to keep going. Make sure your vote is Yes, and give God the opportunity to do what He does best.

Your Turn: Which of these things do you see right now as most evident in God’s purpose for your marriage? Leave a comment below.

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  • God’s purpose for your marriage is not primarily to make you happy. Yes, marriage God’s way results in much happiness! But regardless of where your relationship is now, God has something bigger in mind.   Tweet that

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