God’s Master Plan for Marriage

Wynand Jacobs

Someone once told me: “If a hammer is the only tool in your toolbox, you’ll treat everything like it is a nail.” Now although that saying relates to broadening your skillset and mastering your trade, I think the concept leads to some valuable reflection on invention and purpose.

The purpose of a hammer is to drive a nail into an object, but when I use that hammer on something it wasn’t designed to be used for, I may cause some serious damage. In carpentry, every tool has a purpose and unless we understand the design and purpose of each instrument, we won’t be effective in our craft.

“If purpose is unknown, abuse is inevitable.” Dr. Myles Munroe

In the same way each tool in a carpenter’s toolbox has a designed function, there is also a design idea behind marriage. So let’s take a brief look at the outline of God’s design for marriage; the Master Plan:

“Therefore shall a man leave his father and his mother, and shall cleave unto his wife: and they shall be one flesh” [Gen 2:24 – ASV]”

In God’s design for marriage there are 3 stages to this process:

  • Leave: Letting go of your old identity as a single under your parent’s care.
  • Cleave: Marry, or be joined to your partner.
  • Become one: The process of growing together as one in your new identity as “married”.

When we talk about this topic at our Weekend to Remember couples getaway we refer to the 3 P’s of marriage:

  • Priority
  • Permanence
  • Passion

I’ll try to briefly summarise each of these in the following few paragraphs, but for a full discussion on The Master Plan, listen to our podcast episode with Brad Carr here. 

Priority

When God designed marriage he knew that for the relationship to flourish, the married couple would need to prioritise each other. The idea of “leaving” your father and mother has a distinct implication. It indicates that the priority has shifted from the family you grew up in, to the family you’re building. People who fail to make this shift in their thinking end up in a relationship that cannot flourish because they have their resources of time, money, and energy contending between multiple families, which places unnecessary strain on the relationship.

Now, when we prioritise our marriage it does not necessarily mean we neglect our parents. It simply means that we focus on ‘this’ relationship first. When our marriage is thriving, the community around us should also benefit from the fruit of a healthy relationship. This includes our extended family and others God gave us an opportunity to influence.

Permanence

God’s design for marriage was meant to be a lifetime commitment between one man and one woman. When we realise that we are committed to one another for life, it creates the sense of psychological security that allows us to flourish. When this foundation of “permanence” is missing from our marriage we’ll be stuck in a performance based relationship. “I will love you as long as you…” Adopting a permanence mindset in marriage means that when those relational issues come up, we’re not looking for an escape or way out of the relationship, but rather we are committed to working together as a couple to come up with the solutions to our problems – whatever they are.

Passion

The 3rd P in God’s design for marriage is Passion. Intimacy in marriage is something God designed. Sex within the confines of a comitted-for-life relationship is a beautiful union of two people physically bonding and becoming one in an environment of trust and acceptance. God didn’t look at the earth one day in shock and horror seeing 2 people having sex and wonder: “What dodgy act have they come up with now?” No, God designed sex for our pleasure and so that we can bond “as one” in marriage. The fruit of this physical act of oneness also leads to the 2nd part of God’s design for marriage and our lives in general: to build a family.

Healthy marriages lead to healthy families. Healthy families lead to healthy communities. Healthy communities literally make the world a better place. There is a purpose behind this idea of marriage and our Designer knew what he was doing when he created the first couple and brought them together as one.

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