When I talk to couples about marriage, I often ask them a couple of questions. The first is Did God put you together? Almost every couple says yes.
Then I ask them Why did God put you together? Typically, they return a blank stare. Karen and I were like that. We believed God put us together and made us for each other. But we didn't know why.
I believe understanding God's purpose for your marriage is vital to a successful, fulfilling relationship. Here are a few facts you should know:
1. You will not be the same in five years
—as individuals and as a couple. You may be better or worse, but you won't be the same. Think of the couples you know whose lives have imploded over the past five years, or who have experienced the greatest years of their lives. People change.
2. Success happens on purpose and never by accident.
You won't wake up five years from now and say, "Honey, we never talk or spend time together, and we never work at it, but isn't our marriage fabulous?" That's not how it works.
3. In marriage, success only happens if you're both in agreement and committed to the same purpose
. There are two of you. Amos 3:3 asks "Do two walk together unless they have agreed to do so?" The answer, of course, is NO. You can't walk together if you don't first agree.
Marriage is the longest journey you'll take in life, but are you and your spouse walking in agreement? Do you know why God put you together? Do you know the purpose for your marriage? Those are big questions, which leads us to...
4. To find the purpose for your marriage, you have to start with the big questions.
A few years ago, there was a national, secular poll that asked people what they would ask God if they could ask Him just one question. The number-one response was Why am I here?
We want and need to know our purpose. In Matthew 22, Jesus gives us the answer: "Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind.' This is the first and greatest commandment. And the second is like it: ‘Love your neighbor as yourself.'" (Matt. 22:37–39)
The answer to our questions of purpose is love. That's life's universal purpose. When we ask God why we are here, His answer to us is "Relationship. You're here for a relationship with me and with each other."
Relationships are why we exist, but the devil is the enemy of relationships. A strong marriage is a threat to Him. He is always trying to divide us, trying to get us to substitute things for our children, for our marriage, for God, for the things that matter. He wants us to chase after things that won't last.
That's what happened with Adam and Eve. The devil separated them from God, separated them from each other, and convinced them that something would make them happier than someone.
Separation and substitution: those are his methods, and they never change.
Don't let those methods take hold in your marriage. Work at it. Pursue God's plan for your lives together. That plan is to love Him and love people, especially your family. We are created for God and for relationships. That's our purpose.