There are many purposes for marriage, but according to Jesus in Mark 10, the immediate reason God created marriage is the need for companionship: “’For this reason a man will leave his father and mother and the two will become one flesh …’” (vv. 7–8 CSB). The “reason” is of course in the verse right before it, which says: “… from the beginning of creation ‘God made them male and female’” (v. 6).
God’s creation of the female was in response to a problem, and that problem was that it was “’not good for the man to be alone …’” (Genesis 2:18). So God decided to make a companion for him.
About everything else he had made, God had said, it is “good.” But for the man in his alone state, he said, “not good.” Notice that God made that statement before the fall. The ache of loneliness is the one ache we have that does not arise from sin. Adam had a perfect quiet time with God 24 hours a day, and yet he still ached for human companionship. This was because God created us in his image, and God exists eternally as a Trinity in community with his equals.
The ache of loneliness is the one ache we have that does not arise from sin. Adam had a perfect quiet time with God 24 hours a day, and yet he still ached for human companionship.
So God created for Adam a companion, his equal, just of the opposite gender. The word God used to describe her, ezer kenegdo, literally means “alike but different”—someone like him, his equal, but a different gender. In that way, they would be like the Trinity—in their essence, the same, but in their persons and roles, different.
And if that blows your mind a little bit, you’re probably starting to get it.
The woman was created to be Adam’s companion and friend. Several times in the Old Testament, the marriage partner is called halup, which in Hebrew means “deep friend.” (You have my permission to try using halup as your nickname for your sweetheart. Just give some context first.)
If friendship is the purpose of marriage, then that has massive implications for dating because then friendship ought to be the basis of dating. If you are currently dating, then you should be looking for someone who is your equal, who can be your friend, with whom you can share your deepest commitments.
This is why, if you are a Christian, you should never date or marry someone who is not a Christian.
You should be dating to find your partner for marriage and life. For a marriage to truly work, you have to open up and share the deepest parts of yourself. If you are committed to Jesus and your partner is not, when you open up this part of your life to them, they’re not going to understand it, and you will feel violated.
When you are married to someone who does not share your same fundamental beliefs, then your life is going to feel like two people rowing on opposite ends of a boat in different directions, pulling two different ways. This will apply in making decisions, managing money, raising children—in every area of your life together—and it will leave you constantly misunderstood and at odds.
Understanding that friendship is God’s purpose for marriage brings gospel light to dating. There is no better time to lay a strong foundation for your marriage than when you are dating and finding your best friend and the person with whom you can share the most important part of life.