To Love a Story

Why are you getting married? Do you know?

I recently spoke to a group of engaged couples. They were a few years removed from college and ready to begin their new phase of life. As I looked into the collection of eyes staring back at me, I pondered: Why do people marry? To take that question into the Christian realm, why do Christians marry? Do most couples take time to answer that question, or do they simply follow the rush of desire that says my heart was made for this?

A look into God’s formation of marriage reveals several purposes for matrimony.

  1. To live in relationship—God creates Adam with a loneliness that is not met by any of the animals. (Genesis 2:18)
  2. To reflect God to the world in love—The Trinity relates in perfect relationship, and out of that existence of love they decide to create mankind to do the same. (Genesis 1:27)
  3. Procreation—The story God is telling with creation involves sharing in His joy of creating.  (Genesis 1:28-30)
  4. To rule—God gives us the privilege and responsibility of ruling over creation together. (Genesis 1:28-30)

All of these can be written into the desires of our heart. But other than companionship, how many couples really make their decision to marry by checking off a list of reasons? Are not we far more likely to watch Titanic and exclaim, “I want that!” as Jack woos Rose.

In a culture and world inundated with stories of romance, we want to reenact a similar story, minus the sinking ship and frozen Jack at the end, of course. What romances have stolen your heart in film and novel? What stories or romances have made you want to step out of your own life in favor of another narrative? The stories that ignite our passion tell us about our own loneliness. This longing for beauty and adventure can be unbearable at times. For good reason, God has set within us a desire to live an adventurous love story. But often it is beauty and adventure, two things we mistake for love, that trick us into marrying. Love is what we learn when we encounter another reason for marriage.

I find a fifth purpose for marriage appears in Genesis 3. Just after Adam eats the fruit from his wife, God ushers in the curse but also the offer of grace and the foreshadowing of redemption. The story, and with it marriage, takes a turn here. Up to this point, Adam and Eve could live a full marriage with each other, mirroring God’s image, recreating, and ruling. After the Fall, redemption becomes a new category to the young newlyweds. Now their lives will be broken as they have been expulsed from home. They will primarily look out for their own needs rather than those of their spouse. Tragedy becomes a theme in their story. But amidst the tragedy in Genesis 3:15, God previews the rescue work of the Redeemer. Broken stories will be redeemed. The overarching narrative of Scripture becomes full of individual redemptive stories. David cries out for forgiveness. Hosea chases after Gomer. Jonah repents and teaches in Nineveh. Saul the killer becomes Paul the evangelist. Enter you and your life.

The decision to marry after the Fall is ultimately an invitation to participate in the redemptive story of your spouse. This is the Hosea story plus some. As Francine Rivers illustrates in her allegory Redeeming Love, Hosea’s pursuit and faithfulness to Gomer’s story does not end with the wedding. It is a lifelong mission.

As you move toward or begin your marriage, consider these questions:

  • Do you know your own story? (How has your present been shaped by your past? What has been the tale of the life of your heart? How has the theme of tragedy shattered innocence?)
  • Are you committed to the redemption of your spouse’s story?
  • Do you know your spouse’s story enough to have vision for what God is redeeming? How can you step into that process?


Luke Brasel writes about relationships, intimacy, parenting, and Christian spirituality. He is passionate about the intersection of theology and the human heart. He has a counseling practice in Nashville, TN where he helps people follow their pain to understand their story and recover their heart. When he is not counseling, teaching, or writing, he is learning more about life and love from his wife and twin daughters. You can read his blog at and follow him on Twitter.

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