Recently The West Australian published an article opining that now that people in de facto relationships can claim superannuation benefits from their partner’s fund, that the institution of marriage has been rendered redundant.
The idea that marriage is just a contract that becomes needless if sex and financial security can be obtained another way, is deeply offensive to those of us who believe this institution joins two people in a divine union that is greater than the sum of its parts. It is also a damaging idea because marriage and family are the foundation of a stable and sustainable society.
In an age where everyone thinks they know best how to live well and make themselves happy, suicide and addiction rates are soaring. Society’s loose morals have not led to people feeling fulfilled, but broken, ashamed, exploited and objectified. I would argue that we should go back to how our Designer ordained us to live – only having sex in the committed relationship of marriage, forsaking all others.
Yes some marriages don’t last, yes people fail and cheat, yes marriage is hard and not always happy, but the design is good and nothing we are doing instead is making us any happier or more fulfilled. The longing of every human heart is to be loved unconditionally for who we are, to be appreciated and cherished as a unique individual, and to have the security to able to express ourselves intimately and vulnerably with another. God designed marriage to meet those needs in an imperfect way that points to His desire for us to ultimately have those needs perfectly met in Him.
Marriage is sublime, the Bible calls it a mystery¹. It says that “the two become one flesh”² and that sex joins us with another human being in a way that involves more than just our bodies, but includes our souls. We may pretend to separate the physical from the emotional, but the Apostle Paul warns us that when we are immoral we are sinning against ourselves³, destroying our own psyche for the sake of a hormone rush.
On the other hand, God told Adam in Genesis that it was not good for man to be alone. We are designed as human beings for companionship. Regardless of what modern gender studies courses are teaching, the Bible tells us that men and women are distinct from each other and created equal but different. Men have physical strengths and women have emotional strengths that the opposite sex just do not have. We are designed to be joined together in wedlock, using the strengths of each of our genders to raise the next generation.
Of course, this does not negate the meaning, value and purpose of singlehood, in all its forms and for all its reasons. Just that, on the whole, for the perpetuating of society and the containment of sexual desire, which can be an incredibly destructive force – just look at the stats on sexual abuse, child porn and human trafficking for a start – God designed marriage.
And the Lord God caused a deep sleep to fall on Adam, and he slept; and He took one of his ribs, and closed up the flesh in its place. Then the rib which the Lord God had taken from man He made into a woman, and He brought her to the man.
And Adam said: “This is now bone of my bones and flesh of my flesh; She shall be called Woman, Because she was taken out of Man.”
Therefore a man shall leave his father and mother and be joined to his wife, and they shall become one flesh. And they were both naked, the man and his wife, and were not ashamed. (Genesis 2:21-24)
1. Ephesians 5:32
2. Genesis 2:24, Matthew 19:6
3. 1 Corinthians 6:18