22 Wives, be subject to your own husbands, as to the Lord.
23 For the husband is the head of the wife, as Christ also is the head of the church, He Himself being the Savior of the body.
24 But as the church is subject to Christ, so also the wives ought to be to their husbands in everything.
25 Husbands, love your wives, just as Christ also loved the church and gave Himself up for her,
26 so that He might sanctify her, having cleansed her by the washing of water with the word,
27 that He might present to Himself the church in all her glory, having no spot or wrinkle or any such thing; but that she would be holy and blameless.
28 So husbands ought also to love their own wives as their own bodies. He who loves his own wife loves himself;
29 for no one ever hated his own flesh, but nourishes and cherishes it, just as Christ also does the church,
30 because we are members of His body.
31 For this reason a man shall leave his father and mother and shall be joined to his wife, and the two shall become one flesh.
32 This mystery is great; but I am speaking with reference to Christ and the church.
33 Nevertheless, each individual among you also is to love his own wife even as himself, and the wife must see to it that she respects her husband.

What is the true purpose of marriage? For many in the world, the purpose of marriage is finding true happiness or the connection with a soul mate that makes one feel complete. While this seems like a good purpose, the reality is that no other person will bring us complete satisfaction and fulfillment.

In Ephesians 5, Paul stated the purpose of marriage as given by God. The purpose of marriage is to show a picture of Christ and His relationship with the church. According to John Piper, “Marriage is patterned after Christ’s covenant relationship to his redeemed people, the church. And therefore, the highest meaning and the most ultimate purpose of marriage is to put the covenant relationship of Christ and his church on display. That is why marriage exists. If you are married, that is why you are married. If you hope to be, that should be your dream.”

According to the purpose of marriage given by Paul in this passage, the boundaries of marriage are clearly defined as one man and one woman. As we have discussed throughout this week, God made man and woman equal but distinct. In the picture of marriage, the distinction between the man and woman picture the relationship between Christ and the church. The man is to love His wife as Christ has loved the church, giving himself up for her. The woman is to submit to her husband as the church submits to Christ, as He loves her selflessly. In submitting to one another in this way, marriages give a picture of the gospel.

• How have you historically view the purpose of marriage?

• How does this passage from Paul expand your view on marriage and show the greater purpose of marriage as given by God?

• Pray and thank God for the picture of the gospel He has given in marriage. Pray for your marriage or the marriages around you that they would glorify God and given testimony of Him.

[1] Piper, John. This Momentary Marriage: A Parable of Permanence. Wheaton, IL: Crossway, 2012.