Summary: God has a purpose for marriage that is very different than what we initially realize.
Marriage is God's tool for producing a change in the life of two people. He uses marriage to reshape the rough edges in our character. He uses marriage to reorient our selfishness. He uses marriage to reform our spiritual perspectives. Through the relationship of marriage, we will be reshaped, reoriented, and reformed with the intention of making us into better men—the men He wants us to be.
Three Changes We Discover in Marriage
Change One | Character reshaped
One challenge that many do not expect to encounter in marriage is the fact that we can no longer hide our weaknesses and insecurities. Your wife will get to know you in a way that surpasses even your parents’ knowledge. She’s going to eventually be able to discern when you’re lying, hurt, broken, confused, absent, and unfulfilled. While you used to be able to conceal these matters from the general public, your spouse will notice them and might even point them out—maybe unfairly. And while you will not meet her insight with enthusiasm, it’s one way marriage changes you. For when the truth about yourself is exposed, you have the potential for change if you’re receptive. The longer you’re married, the more you will realize this is true. Increasingly, your wife will know you— and you her—and your character will be more visible, examined, and exposed. And if she loves God and His Word, then hopefully she will guide you toward becoming the man God wants you to be. And this relationship and process proves and shapes our character.
Change Two | Selfishness reoriented
All people are inherently selfish and self-centered. And if you happen to be single, you can do what you want. It is pretty easy. You don’t have anybody to check-in with, report to, or attempt to work things out with—except possibly a boss or roommate, though you can choose to opt out of these relationships. But after that first day of marriage, everything changes. You move from one place into another, and someone else moves in too—permanently. It requires a whole new frame of mind, which many don’t understand. It’s a move from one to “oneness,” where two people “become one in the flesh.” And part of this is God’s plan for us to become less of “me” and more of “we.” Many of us, however, move in with the same old selfish expectations, thinking marriage is just going to be life as usual, but with a roommate and some sexual privileges. How wrong we are. Brave unions address our selfishness and its festering wounds, inadequate ideas, poor practices, and acute attitudes that prevent oneness.
Change Three | Spiritually reformed
In marriage, we discover something special. While to many it seems to be only a physical union joined by a contract, it’s primarily a spiritual union joined by an eternal commitment. Marriage is not exclusively about reshaping our character or reorienting our selfishness, but a spiritual covenant that we make to God and commit to for a lifetime. It reforms us at the deepest level. What God joins together is something no man can separate. Like two colors of sand poured into a single container, when one man and one woman join together, something spiritual occurs that makes the two inseparable. We typically understand this binding when a marriage goes through challenges that endanger the connection. And marriage will have its share of challenges. When things go awry and the enemy attacks, eventually you will discover that you cannot do marriage without God. These challenges will prove how hard it is for you to change, and how impossible it is to change your spouse. Let these moments drive you to submission, letting God change you. After all, God never changes. When your marriage bumps into Him, you are hopefully smart enough to give in to Him. Because marriage is God’s institution, it is always under attack; your response should be spiritual attentiveness to a spiritual reformation of the mind, will, and action.