There is an epidemic of loneliness today. This is due, not just to the (hopefully) short-term effects of Covid-19 lockdown. There is the wider, and more persistent, problem of loneliness which is linked to the decline in marriage rates and the increase in marriage breakdowns.
God, in his wise and generous love, has provided a wonderful blueprint for flourishing marriages, and has used this blueprint to point towards a yet deeper and more lasting marriage – that between Christ and his people.
David Murray draws some precious truths from Genesis 2. This is what he says (pretty much in his own words):
1. Marriage is for friendship
- Adam was lonely: God said, “It’s not good for man to be alone” (v18).
- So God gave him a best friend: Eve was to be his companion.
Marriage gives us a best friend,
But Christ is the best friend.
2. Marriage is for help
- Adam had no helper: He named all the animals alone.
- God gave him the best helper: God said, I will make a helper fit for him” (18)
Marriage provides a helper,
But Christ is a better helper.
3. Marriage is for sharing
- Adam was different to animals: God saw that for all the animals surrounding Adam, he could not share his life with them nor they with him (19-20)
- God gave him someone to share life with: Adam immediately recognized Eve as someone he could share his life with. “This at last is bone of my bones and flesh of my flesh.” She’s exactly like me.
Marriage lets us share our lives,
But Christ lets us share our secrets.
4. Marriage is for intimacy
- Adam was distant from animals: He was so different to the animals; they could not give him the intimacy he craved.
- God gave him closeness: They became one flesh (v24). They were both naked and both unashamed (v25).
Marriage unites us physically,
But Christ unites us spiritually.
‘Could God have designed anything better than marriage between one man and one woman? Companionship instead of loneliness. Help instead of helplessness. Sharing instead of solitariness. Intimacy instead of distance.’
‘Now of course, sin has entered since then. This has not only increased our need for marriage but also damaged marriage. Some never find someone to marry. Some end up in terrible marriages. Some marriages break up. Our response must not be to give up on marriage (or re-define it) but to seek spiritual marriage to Christ above all.’
All I would want to add to this outline is to say that the single state is not necessarily second best to the married state. Although some single people wish they were married, others experience singleness as a call from God, and an opportunity to flourish and serve in ways that would not be possible if they were married. Do I need to mention that Jesus himself was single?
Not all share in earthly marriage. But all may have that relationship with Jesus Christ of which earthly marriage is the mere shadow.