Sex is a wonderful gift from God that is most enjoyed in the boundaries and precepts of marriage. And just like any of God’s wonderful gifts, sex is meant for married couples to enjoy in God’s time and context.
However, when marriage becomes just a justification for sex, we miss the point.
What is the goal of marriage? Is it just physical intimacy? God’s initial and all-encompassing design for marriage shows us that marriage is meant for so much more. Genesis 2:24 says, “Therefore a man shall leave his father and his mother and hold fast to his wife, and they shall become one flesh.”
The goal of marriage is complete oneness for the pleasure and glory of God. Oneness goes more than just physical attachment to one another but oneness in every way—being united in the midst of uniqueness and differences and being one in purpose, desire and spiritual hunger.
Sex As a Means, Not an End
Think of it this way: When businessmen make money the goal of a venture, chances are it will never work out. If you’re into entrepreneurship, you’ll know that putting up a start-up needs a more compelling “why” than just a thicker bottom line. Money is only a means to get to your final goal—whether that’s helping people, providing a great product, or using a business to support a family.
It works the same way with marriage. Think of sex as money—a tool to get to our goal. Oneness is our “why.” Sex can get us to oneness but it is not complete oneness. When we make marriage just about sex, we set it on just one pillar. Have you ever seen a house on just one pillar? I don’t think so. A structure will always need multiple pillars to stand just as a marriage needs more than just physical intimacy to achieve oneness.
The Goal Is to Glorify God
The Westminster Shorter Catechism states that, “Man’s chief end is to glorify God, and to enjoy Him forever.”
This is also true for the way we conduct marriages. Our marriages exist first and foremost to honour God and experience His goodness.
When God joined Adam and Eve, it delighted Him. And as He set the two as one in the garden, He provided them with all they needed. Our marriages are like that picture of Adam and Eve in the garden. We are given this chance to recreate Eden in our own marriages as a couple—as one—pursues God’s presence together and experience His goodness together.