About this Blog

After banging my head in frustration over the obsession everyone around me had with procreation, I went online to find a community of people who were more like me. I have met some fascinating people along the way, but I have also found that many in the childfree community are quite hostile toward Christianity and a Christian world view. I understand that, unfortunately, many of my Christian sisters and brothers have given them a lot of ammunition (undoubtedly, I have been guilty of this at times too). Not wanting to be perceived as "trolling" for expressing my Christian perspective on other people's forums and blogs, I use my own blog to share my musings on childfree life while at the same time expressing my faith.

My intention is to show support to childfree people, both Christian and non-Christian, but from my own Christian perspective. Questions and constructive comments are welcome; negativity and intolerance are not.

Sunday, July 5, 2009

The Purpose of Marriage

One of the bingo card links I recently posted has a box that says, “The only reason to get married is to have children!” In the modern day, Western, happily-ever-after fairy tale culture in which I was raised, I suppose I was indoctrinated to believe that the only reason to get married is love, and that message came at me from both the secular and religious worlds. But OK, let’s talk about whether or not marriage is just about having children.

I think my deepest held beliefs about marriage sprang from the story of the creation of Eve in Genesis 2: “Then the Lord God said, ‘It is not good that the man should be alone; I will make him a helper* as his partner.’ So out of the ground the Lord God formed every animal of the field and every bird of the air, and brought them to the man to see what he would call them… but for the man, there was not found a helper as his partner.” (v. 18-21, NRSV) So God created Eve, brought her to Adam (easiest wedding in history!), and we have the conclusion (v.24), “Therefore a man leaves his father and his mother and clings to his wife, and they become one flesh.”

As I write this, something one of my high school Bible teachers, Mr. L, used to say rings in my ears. In Genesis 1, we read over and over again that “God saw that it was good” after each stage of creation, but after creating only one human, God said, “It is not good…” I recall at least one occasion where Mr. L., in response to this passage, said to the young men in the class, “Guys, women are not your problem, they are the solution to your problem!”

I am not here to debate whether Genesis is intended to give us a history lesson of a literal, seven-day period of creation or if it is an allegorical tale to help humans understand our purpose on this planet. Even so, if you will pardon my digression for a moment… I was always taught that Moses wrote the book of Genesis, but some scholars believe the book actually has several authors; and if you look at the two creation stories presented in chapters one and two, there does seem to be a different tone to each one. Indeed, the description in chapter two (beginning about v.4) seems to imply a slower and more gradual creation of the planet. In any case, I think there is still something to be learned here.

I do acknowledge that the creation story in Genesis 1 gives the blessing, “Be fruitful and multiply.” Having two sexes enables reproduction as we know it; Adam couldn’t have filled the earth on his own. But this blessing is noticeably absent in the story in Genesis 2. Instead, we are shown that the first marriage was primarily about companionship. It may also be worth pointing out that God intended marriage to be forever and not just for the duration of the upbringing of children (“What therefore God has joined together, let not man separate,” Mark 10:9), so while marriage might serve a useful purpose in providing a stable environment for having children, children are clearly not the only reason to be married. Interestingly, a growing body of research has been showing that marriage is good for people’s well-being, while having children is not. (Perhaps another topic for another post.)

This is why I married, and I genuinely believe that one of my purposes on this planet is to minister to my husband. I know that his life is better because of me, and mine because of him. Further, I believe that our having children would divert us from that purpose, and that would be wrong.

* The use of the word “helper” for Eve really ruffles some people’s feathers as they think it implies she was to be Adam’s servant. However, as Paul Smith explains in his book Is It Okay to Call God “Mother”?, the Hebrew word for helper, ezer, refers to one who comes to someone’s aid in a desperate time of need. This very same word is often used for God, such as in Psalm 70:5, where God is “my help and my deliverer.” It stands to reason, then, that Eve was not intended to be a helper as a subordinate, but rather she was coming to Adam’s rescue. (I’d like to make a quick plug for Smith’s book, since it revolutionized the way I view God. It brought me to a point of anger where I thought I would have to leave the church for its idolatry and discrimination, but it also helped me feel the tug of Christ, saying, “Let go of people’s ignorance, but don’t let go of Me.”)

Do you see the partnership aspect of marriage as being just as important as (maybe more than?) the procreative aspect?


  1. Man and woman are different, and by The Story of The Creation we learn one vital difference: We create differently. I invite you to have a look at my pages

    * http://the-story-of-the-creation.blogspot.com/
    * http://the-ten-words.blogspot.com/

    Children are perhaps not necessary. But the aim of marriage is creation - is the creation of the Son excusing the fall.

  2. I agree with everything you said in this post. Marriage is about the partnership first-if kids come into the mix later, they should be the branches, and not the core part of the marriage. I think that if spouses put themselves above all else, even their children if they have them, the divorce rate would not be as high as it is.

  3. @Anders, thank you for sharing. Your comment regarding marriage being about creation (regardless of children) is very interesting. I'll ponder that for a bit.

    @iandysgrl, I really like your analogy about children being branches in a marriage and not the core. Many parents do seem to forget that once the children are grown and gone, the parents might still want to have an actual relationship with each other, and this requires that they nurture that relationship while raising their children.

  4. I LOVE this. I LOVE you!!! Oh my gosh, you have no idea how good it is to find your blog and read everything that you have to say. I am single, 26, but deeply desiring marriage and I also deeply desire NOT to have children. And wondered if there were even wonderful, godly men who don't want children. Its so nice to see that you're married to one and that God brought you a spouse that you are equally yoked with. I can't even tell you how much grief I have received my entire life for not wanting kids. I have ALWAYS felt this way- ever since I was very young, I never wanted kids and the older I get, the more I am certain that its not for me and that its not God's call on my life. I think it would be a disservice to EVERYONE if I were to have kids and disobedient to God if I were to have kids. I'm still waiting for the man God has for me to come into my life, but its so nice to know that I don't have to worry about whether he'll want children or not, because I know the man for me will not want them either. Thank you so much for your blog- it has truly ministered to me and has given me so much encouragement and peace. : ) God bless you!

  5. Erika, thank you for your kind words. It makes me so happy to know that my ramblings can bring encouragement to others.