1 Corinthians 7:35 “This I say for your own benefit; not to put a restraint on you, but to promote what is appropriate and to secure undistracted devotion to the Lord.”

Observation: Paul was sharing what he understood God’s desire to be regarding marriage. He addressed whether to marry and the importance of both spouses giving themselves fully to each other. He said what a widow’s next step ought to be, what should happen in the event of a separation, how couples that are unequally yoked spiritually ought to behave, and the merits of remaining single. He even touched on arranged marriages and remarriage…a long litany indeed! But consider what he did not discuss: why God instituted marriage in the first place.

Application: For at least part of the answer, I need to go back to Genesis 2. God had created male and female versions of all the animals, and Adam. As each pair of animals paraded past Adam so he could name them, his heart must have yearned for something he had never yet known. It is one thing to be in a loving marriage and to experience longing for your mate when separated. But Adam had never been married; how did he know he was lacking? God decided to make a wife for Adam, saying,” It is not good for the man to be alone” (Gen. 2:18).

Yet in 1 Corinthians 7, Paul encouraged singles to remain single. What’s going on here? Everything Paul taught comes down to verse 35, “to secure undistracted devotion to the Lord.” That is my primary purpose. God made me, as an individual, in His image. But His image wasn’t just “Him,” was it? No, His image included not just the Father, but also the Son and the Holy Spirit. He intended that my coupling would be in His image: “She shall be called Woman, because she was taken out of Man. For this reason a man shall…be joined to his wife; and they shall become one flesh” (Genesis 2:23-24).

What is that an echo of? Didn’t Jesus say that He and the Father are one? That if you’ve seen Him you’ve seen the Father? He may have created marriage so I would be surrounded at every turn by a walking, talking image of the unity of the Father, Son, and Holy Spirit. If He intended my marriage to be a perfect reflection of His own unity, how hard should I be willing to work on that most important of relationships? It’s not about me only, is it?

Prayer: Father God, I am so thankful for the wife You gave me, but even more thankful for the model of perfect unity You present as I consider Your relationship with your dear Son. Forgive me for ever entertaining the thought of casting aside what You joined together. Thank You for this additional glimpse of Your passion for me.