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What Is Marriage For?

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Genesis 2:18-25, “What Is Marriage For?”

03/94/12 PM, Sharon OPC

Dr. Jeffrey K. Boer

Have you ever wondered what God made marriage for? After all, you don’t need marriage in order to propagate the species. The animals seem to be able to propagate quite well without it, and unfortunately, many humans do as well.


In order to answer the question, “What Is Marriage For?” we have to understand God’s design for marriage. We need to see marriage in light of God’s purposes and God’s laws for mankind.


Now this is by no means the common approach of the world today in seeking to understand marriage. The world today doesn’t know the difference between “laws” and “helpful suggestions.” Even Ted Koppel once quipped that God didn’t give Moses the “Ten Suggestions.”

但世人却不常用这方法来寻求明白婚姻。现今的世代不明白“诫命”和“有用的建议”之间的不同。前美ABC “夜线”栏目主持Ted Koppel有一次谈话中说神没有给摩西“十条建议”。

But most counselors and psychologists do little more than give people helpful suggestions as to what marriage is all about and how it should work. There are so many different views of marriage floating around today that people are pretty much inclined to take the “smorgasbord” approach. There’s the “let’s live together,” or the “let’s make a baby together,” choices. There’s the “male/female” choice, the “male/male” choice, the “female/female choice,” and even the “three or more is company” approach. A whole variety of choices is laid out before us, and all we have to do is pick the one that’s “right for us.” 但大多数的辅导师和心理学家在婚姻的本质和如何对待婚姻上却没有给出什么有益的建议。现在世人对婚姻有各家说法,他们对婚姻的认识也越来越倾向“大杂烩”的概念。有直接就“我们同居吧?”或“我们造人吧?”。有“男/女”选项,有“男/男”选项,有“女/女”选项,更甚至有“三人跟多人伴侣”选项。各种各样的选择琳琅满目,我们所要做的就是在这当中选择“适合我们”的一项。

So you go to one counselor and he says he prefers the chicken while another counselor says he prefers the shrimp, but ultimately, they’ll both tell you, “The choice is yours. You must pick the one that’s right for you, whatever suits your tastes.”你去看辅导师,然后他告诉你他喜欢吃鸡,然而另一个辅导师说他喜欢吃虾。但最终他们俩告诉你“这选择还是在于你,选你觉得对的,合你口味的就好。”

Will it be the “chicken marriage”? You know, the one where you jump in, and then chicken out, jump in, and then chicken out? Maybe after you chew on it for awhile, you decide it’s not for you after all?可能是“胆小如鸡的婚姻”吗?你努力进去了,马上又被吓得跑出来,然后你又想进入,马上又被吓了出来? 也许你品味了一番之后发现这不是你要的婚姻?

Maybe you should try the “liver and onions” marriage where you live together but have a few extra onions on the side to add some spice?或许你该尝试“猪肝洋葱”婚姻,你们同床却仍异梦。

Or the “spaghetti” marriage where you get all tangled up with other relationships and swinging couples?又或是“意大利面”婚姻,把婚姻关系跟其他关系混杂在一起,弄得夫妻关系经常摇摆不定。

Then there’s the “fish of the day” marriage where you never really get married at all. You just go out every day and see what relationships you can find and catch on that day.也有“钓鱼”式婚姻,你们根本没有真的缔结婚约。只是每天出去看看你们的关系也许会在某天发展到什么地步。

Or the “hamburger” marriage which is basically a marriage based on economics. “It’s cheaper to live together than to live apart, so let’s get married.”或者“汉堡包”式婚姻,只是出于对经济的需要。“两个人住一起比分开住总要便宜点,我们结婚吧。”

There’s also the “caviar and escargot” marriage where you marry for status or for wealth. This is a rich dish which often leads to indigestion.有“鱼子酱和田螺肉”式的婚姻,你为了地位和财富而结婚。不过这是道营养过于丰富的菜,小心会引起消化不良。

You could try the “split pea soup” marriage where each half of the marriage has an equal say and where there’s a very democratic split in the home.你们可以试试“分豌豆汤”式婚姻,夫妻双方各有一半说话权,所以就需要在家中实行完全的民主。

There are many, many more entrées from which to choose, of course, but let me mention one new item that’s getting to be rather popular nowadays. It’s the “fruit salad” marriage. This is where you take all different kinds of “fruits” and put them together in the same bowl. 当然我们有很多道菜可以选择来比喻今天的婚姻,但是今天我要讲一种更常见的婚姻模式,就是“水果沙拉”式的婚姻。就是把各种各样的水果放在同一个碗里。

Well I want to make it very clear that from the beginning the Scriptures offer only one item on the marriage menu. The Scriptures offer the “filet mignon” of God’s law for marriage and that’s all! 圣经却从始至终在婚姻的菜谱中仅开了一道菜,那就是神的婚姻法则这一“腓力牛排”。

All the other entrées have been poisoned and will make you sick if you eat them. All the entrées of the world will leave you unsatisfied and disappointed in your choice.其他的菜都已经被投了毒,如果你吃了你就会中毒。所有这属世的菜都会让你不满足并只会令你对你所作的选择失望。

Now don’t get me wrong. I’m not implying that the Scriptures leave no possibility for “variety” in marriage, or that’s there no place for “personal tastes.” You can have your filet mignon rare, medium, or well done, with or without a bacon wrap, and with varying spices. But it must be God’s filet mignon or you’ll be disappointed. Marriage must be based on the basic principles of God’s law for marriage or it will make you deathly sick. These laws and principles for marriage are set forth for us in the Bible which is God’s Word and which is true and authoritative.但请不要弄错了。我不是说圣经告诉我们婚姻没有“多样性”或说就没有“个人的口味”。你可以享用“三成熟,五成熟或全熟”的腓力牛排,可加可不加那一层熏肉,也可以自己选择加香料。但这必须是神的腓力牛排,否则你就要失望。婚姻一定要建立在神的婚姻法则之上,否则你便会中致命的毒。圣经中婚姻的诫命和法则是神所启示的,是真实而立定在天的真神言语。

According to God’s Word, marriage is a COVENANT OF COMPANIONSHIP. It’s a COVENANTAL PARTNERSHIP.从神的话,我们知道婚约是伴侣关系的圣约, 是盟约的关系。

In Genesis 2:18, God says, “It is not good for the man to be alone. I will make a helper suitable for him.”、创世纪2:18 神说,“那人独居不好,我要为他造一个配偶帮助他。”

Here we see that companionship or partnership is a key element of marriage. The term, “helper suitable for him,” can also be translated, “helper corresponding to him.” There’s a partnership – a companionship – a “teamwork,” if you will, involved in the marriage relationship.这里我们看到友谊或说伴侣关系是婚约的一个关键因素。 这里“配偶帮助他”也可以翻译成“与他协调一致的帮助者。” 在婚姻关系中包含着伴侣关系-友谊-也有“团队合作,”等关系。

In Proverbs 2:17 we read about an adulteress…“who has left the partner of her youth and ignored the covenant she made before God.”箴言:2:17我们读到一个淫妇“她离弃幼年的配偶,忘了 神的盟约。”

There we see those two words again: “partner” and “covenant.”这里我们有再次看到这两个词“配偶”和“盟约”

And in Malachi 2:14 we read about a man who’s broken faith with his wife, Malachi says, “though she is your partner, the wife of your marriage covenant.”玛拉基书2:14我们读到一个对他妻子背信弃义之人,玛拉基说,“她虽是你的配偶,又是你盟约的妻。”

Here again we see that marriage is a covenantal partnership.这里我们再一次看到婚约是盟约的关系。

The idea of “covenant” implies a life and death commitment to one another. The idea of “partnership” also implies doing something together. It’s more than just being together. It’s a working together with a common goal.“盟约”蕴含着“生死相依”的依存关系。“配偶关系”也蕴含着“一起同工”的关系。不仅是指生活在一起,更 是为着共同的目标而一起同工的关系。

But the question that I want to address today is one which has been sadly neglected, even in most Christian marriage manuals. The question is this: If the woman is to be a “helper” to the man, “What is she to help him do?” In other words, “What is marriage for?”但今天我想要提出一个被忽略的问题。是个即使是在基督徒的婚姻中也被忽视的问题。如果女人是男人的“帮助者”,“她要帮助他做什么呢?”换句话说,“婚姻的目的为何呢?”

Many people tend to think of marriage as an end in itself. They see marriage as a goal, rather than as a means to a higher goal. But the Scriptures teach that God made marriage so that human beings could do something as a partnership. What was it that Eve was supposed to help Adam to do? In what task was she supposed to help him?

许多人认为结婚是婚约的结束。他们当结婚是目的,而非为了到达更高目标的途径。 但圣经教导我们神设计婚姻是为了让人类有伴侣一起做事。夏娃原本要帮助亚当做什么呢?她本应去帮助他什么呢?

She was to help him in the great task that God gave to all mankind, of course! And what was that task? 她当然是要帮助他完成上帝所赋予人类的神圣使命!那是什么使命呢?

From the very beginning, man’s task on this earth has been to “glorify God” and to “enjoy Him forever.”起初,人类在世上的使命是要“荣耀神”,“以他为乐直到永远。”

Man’s task is to show forth God’s glory, as God’s image, exercising dominion over creation, under God.人类的使命乃是以神的形象来彰显神的荣耀,在神的主权之下统治所有受造之物。

Back in Genesis 1:28 we read the command that God gave to mankind: “28 God blessed them and said to them, ‘Be fruitful and increase in number; fill the earth and subdue it. Rule over the fish of the sea and the birds of the air and over every living creature that moves on the ground.’”在创世纪1:28我们看到神命令人“28神就赐福给他们,又对他们说:‘要生养众多,遍满地面,治理这地;也要管理海里的鱼,空中的鸟和地上各样行动的活物。’”

Man’s task is to have dominion and rule over this earth, under God. Genesis 2:15 says, “15 The LORD God took the man and put him in the Garden of Eden to work it and take care of it.”人类的使命是要在神的主权下管理和治理这个世界。创2:15说“15耶和华 神将那人安置在伊甸园,使他修理看守。”

Man’s task was to have dominion over the earth, to care for it, to dress it and keep it, to guard it, and to develop it for God’s glory.人类的使命是为神的荣耀统管受造界,并照管,护理,保护,爱惜并发展它。

The whole “back to nature” movement is a complete reversal of God’s intended purpose for mankind. Man is not some kind of “intruder” in the perfect and pristine world of nature. He’s a caretaker, a steward, a developer.所以“回归自然”的运动实在是神创造婚姻目的的倒向逆施,人不是完美和纯朴世界的入侵者,相反他是诸世界的保护者,管理者和建设者。

This world was never intended to function properly on its own without the labors of mankind, God’s vice-regent over the earth.这世界从未离开过人的工作 而自存过,神通过他所造的人在管理这一切。

Now we all know that Adam and Eve failed in that task from the very beginning. They worshipped and served the creature rather than the Creator. But God was gracious, promising to send Jesus Christ, the seed of the woman, the Second Adam, to restore man to his original place of dominion and godly rule over the earth.如今我们都知道亚当和夏娃从开始堕落的时候就失职了。他们敬拜侍奉受造之物反而不敬拜那造物的主。但神满有恩典,应许要差遣耶稣基督,女人的后裔,第二个亚当,来重新恢复人的管理和神圣的使命。

Even after the fall, after the flood, God repeated this same command to Noah and his family in Genesis 9:1. “Be fruitful and increase in number and fill the earth.”即使人类堕落之后,在洪水过后,神在创世纪9:1“你们要生养众多,遍满了地”中重申他与诺亚和他全家所立的约.

In the NT, when Christ, the Second Adam, came, He fully exercised dominion over creation through His mighty miracles. He exercised dominion over sin through His perfect life of obedience to God’s law. And He exercised dominion over death through His resurrection from the dead.从新约圣经记载看基督耶稣,第二个亚当的到来,透过他行的大能神迹,他完全管理支配受造界。透过对神所设律法的完全顺服,他也胜过一切罪的权势。透过他从死里复活,他也完全胜过死亡。

Christ, in principle, accomplished the defeat of sin and death, and He, therefore, issues a command to His people to exercise dominion once again and to fill the whole earth, bringing all nations into subjection and obedience to God. In Matthew 28:18-20, we read, “All authority in heaven and on earth has been given to me. 19 Therefore go and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them into the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit, 20 and teaching them to obey everything I have commanded you. And surely I am with you always, to the very end of the age.”基督按神的启示已经完全击败罪和死亡,而他也因此颁布大使命叫属他的人去重新管理这世界并遍满全地,把万国万民带到神的面前,在马太福音28:18-20我们看到“天上地下所有的权柄都赐给我了。所以 你们要去使万民作我的门徒,奉父,子,圣灵的名给他们施洗。凡我所吩咐你们的,都教训他们遵守,我就常与你们同在直到世界的末了。”

The Gospel is to go forth into the whole world in order that men might be brought back to doing the things that God commanded them from the very beginning. And those things involve man’s exercising dominion and rule over all the earth and filling the earth with worshippers and servants of God.福音是让人能够回转到 神面前重新开始去做神起初就给他们的使命。这使命包括人类要管理并治理受造界,并为神在世上生养众多虔诚的后裔。

The purpose of marriage is to help man in that task. That’s what marriage is for! Man and woman are to complement and to complete one another in this partnership of service as they work together.婚姻的目的是帮助人完成这伟大使命。这才是婚姻的意义!男人和女人在一起相辅相成,相互造就,合作完成神所交付的使命。

That doesn’t mean that a man or woman can’t serve God and glorify God if they remain single. God often gives His people special gifts in this regard, and He often calls them to do things that can be best accomplished by those who don’t have the responsibilities of marriage or children placed upon them. But marriage is God’s normal design for exercising dominion. Marriage is woman helping man to glorify God.


But God doesn’t create man simply for work without reward. And that brings us to the second thing marriage is for. Marriage is for enabling man to better glorify God, but marriage is also for enabling man to better enjoy God.


Marriage enhances man’s pleasure in life as a result of God’s blessings in marriage. We’re not talking about godless hedonism here or living for sinful pleasure. We’re talking about the godly pleasure that God brings to His own obedient children versus man seeking his own pleasure in rebellion against God.


Christians sometimes have a mental block against pleasure because they see the Bible talk so often about the sinful pleasures of men and pleasure-seekers who don’t love God. But the Bible also talks about God-given pleasures that man may enjoy.信徒有时候也有对这点想不通的时候,圣经多次讲到罪人的罪中之乐和不爱神之人追求肉体享乐。但圣经也谈论到神所赐的,人可以享受的乐趣。

In Genesis 1:29-30, for example, we read, “29 Then God said, ‘I give you every seed-bearing plant on the face of the whole earth and every tree that has fruit with seed in it. They will be yours for food. 30 And to all the beasts of the earth and all the birds of the air and all the creatures that move on the ground –

everything that has the breath of life in it – I give every green plant for food.’  And it was so.” 例:创世纪1:29-30,我们读到,“29 神说,‘看啊,我将地上一切结种子的菜蔬,和一切树上的所结有核的果子,全赐给你们做食物。至于地上的走兽和空中的飞鸟,并各样爬在地上有生命的物,我将青草赐给他们作食物。’事就这样成了。”

Food is not simply something that God created to help to keep man alive and to provide nutrition for his body. Food is also pleasurable. Think of all the wonderful variety that God gave in the foods He created, things like shrimp and lobster, steak and potatoes, onions and garlic and spices, apples, oranges, grapes, sweet corn, pasta and rice, beans and tomatoes.神造食物并不仅仅是供应我们身体所需的营养让我们存活。食物也可以带来享受。想一想神所造的各种各样鲜美可口的食物,比如我们吃过的虾,龙虾,牛排,土豆,洋葱和蒜,各种的调味品,苹果,桔橙,葡萄,甜玉米,意大利面和米饭,豆类和西红柿。

John Calvin recognized this pleasurable quality of food in his commentary on Psalm 104:14-15 where we read, “14 He makes grass grow for the cattle, and plants for man to cultivate – bringing forth food from the earth: 15 wine that gladdens the heart of man, oil to make his face shine, and bread that sustains his heart.”

约翰 加尔文在对如下经文注解中阐述了对美味的享受,诗篇104:14-15节:他使草生长,给六畜吃。使菜蔬发长,供给人用,使人从地里能得食物。又得酒能悦人心,得油能润人面,得粮能养人心。

Calvin says, “God creates food not only for our needs but also for our pleasure.”


Read Genesis 2:8-25 and you’ll see the pleasures that God poured out upon Adam and Eve. In vv. 8-9 we read, “8 Now the LORD God had planted a garden in the east, in Eden; and there he put the man he had formed. 9 And the LORD God made all kinds of trees grow out of the ground – trees that were pleasing to the eye and good for food.”

请读创世纪2:8-25你会看到神如何倾福给亚当和夏娃。在2章8-9节,我们读到“8耶和华 神在东方的伊甸立了一个园子,把所造的人安置在那里。9耶和华 神使各样的树从地里长出来,可以悦人的眼目,其上的果子好作食物。

Marriage was also given to man in order to enhance his pleasure. We read in vv. 2-25, “22 Then the LORD God made a woman from the rib he had taken out of the man, and he brought her to the man. 23 The man said, ‘This is now bone of my bones and flesh of my flesh; she shall be called “woman,” for she was taken out of man.’ 24 For this reason a man will leave his father and mother and be united to his wife, and they will become one flesh. 25 The man and his wife were both naked, and they felt no shame.”

婚姻也使人增加对生活的乐趣。读创世纪2章2-25节“22耶和华 神就用那人身上所取的肋骨造成一个女人,领她到那人跟前。23那人说,‘这是我骨中的骨,肉中的肉,可以称她为女人,因为她是从男人身上取出来的。’24因此,人要离开父母与妻子连合,二人成为一体。25当时夫妻二人赤身露体并不觉羞耻。 ”

Adam was alone and God gave him a wife as a companion and a helper to him. God gave to them both the pleasure of that “one flesh” union and the fellowship of one another’s presence.


Sex, in the context of marriage, is one of God’s pleasurable gifts. Sex is not just for procreation. Sex is also for pleasure.


Just read the Song of Solomon sometime. It opens with these words: The bride says, “2 Let him kiss me with the kisses of his mouth – for your love [or possibly, “your lovemaking”] is more delightful than wine. 3 Pleasing is the fragrance of your perfumes; your name is like perfume poured out. No wonder the maidens love you! 4 Take me away with you – let us hurry! Let the king bring me into his chambers.” And then the maidens sing, “We rejoice and delight in you; we will praise your love more than wine.”

雅歌整本书是这样开始的:新娘说“2愿他用口与我亲嘴,因你的爱情[或有可能是 “与你做爱”]比酒更美。3你的膏油馨香,你的名如同倒出来的香膏,所以众童女都爱你!4愿你吸引我,我就快跑跟随你。王带我进了内室。”然后众童女就唱:“我们必因你欢喜快乐;我们要称赞你的爱情,胜似称赞美酒。”

All the physical and emotional delights of marriage are here praised as good and godly.


In Proverbs 5:18-19, Solomon says, “18 May your fountain be blessed, and may you rejoice in the wife of your youth. 19 A loving doe, a graceful deer – may her breasts satisfy you always, may you ever be captivated by her love.”

箴言5:18-19,所罗门说,“18要使你的泉源蒙福,要喜悦你幼年所娶的妻。19她如可爱的麀 鹿,可喜的母鹿,愿她的胸怀使你时时知足,她的爱情使你常常恋慕。”

There’s nothing evil or sinister about the pleasures of sex in the context of marriage. All of these pleasures are God’s gift to make man’s task more enjoyable in this world. Ever notice how things are more enjoyable when you do them together with others?

在婚姻关系前提下,夫妻双方享受到的性乐趣是没有丝毫邪恶和罪性的。所有这些乐趣都是 神为了让人能够更享受他在世上的使命。有没有想到过即便是跟别的人一起同工也会让你更开心呢?

Those of you who’ve moved from one place to another know how much work is involved in packing up all that furniture and all those household goods and loading them onto a truck. This can be a rather daunting task.


But when you get together a whole group of friends and you provide them with pizza and sodas, it becomes much more enjoyable.但当朋友一起帮忙,你也给他们准备批萨和饮料,这样一起搬就会轻松多了。

When churches organize church work days when a whole group of people gathers to clean the church and work in the yard and grill hamburgers together, it’s much more pleasurable than when they do these things by themselves, as individuals on their own. Companionship and partnership makes work more enjoyable as well as less taxing upon people.


Well marriage is that kind of a companionship. It’s a sharing in the work God gave us to do in ruling over the earth and subduing it for His glory.而婚姻就是这样一种的伴侣关系,是一种互助完成管理世界来荣耀神的工作。

It’s not an accident that husbands and wives sometimes get together at the end of a long day and share with one another how their day went. They cry on each other’s shoulders. They share exciting news with each other. And they comfort and encourage one another when one of them is down. The desire for this kind of companionship is built into man’s nature. Human beings are social creatures. And marriage is a big part of experiencing that companionship and that teamwork in their daily lives.


But if a marriage isn’t founded firmly on the principles of God’s Word, it can be a literal hell on earth, can’t it? You can nag one another and fight and argue and put each other down and basically make life miserable for one another. But marriage, when it’s based on God’s law, can be a beautiful and pleasurable thing. That’s what we should strive for. Marriage is for helping us to do the things that God wants us to do in life. Marriage is for enabling us to find more pleasure and more enjoyment in our service to God.但如果婚姻不是基于神的话,很可能就会变成人间地狱,夫妻之间经常争吵,争论不休打压对方,这样会把人带到非常悲惨的境地。但如果婚姻是基于神的话,定会是一件美好和愉悦的事情。那是我们要奋斗的目标。婚姻是为了帮助我们在生命中去更好的服侍神。婚姻也可以使我们 在服侍神的时候获得更多的满足和喜乐。

May God grant that those of us who are married can find such happiness in marriage. And may God grant that those who, by God’s will, are not presently married, may experience the companionship and friendship of the body of Christ. And may we all experience that companionship and friendship with God Himself, for it’s that relationship between Christ and His church that marriage is supposed to reflect. And if we’re members of Christ’s church, we’re all married to Christ by covenant! And He’s our companion in all things!