What Does the Bible Say about Marriage?

 

Question: 
I have been dating a wonderful man for two years. We are both very serious and involved with our relationship and have spoken about marriage favorable. However, today’s view of marriage seems to teach that marriage is based on your happiness and can be temporary. I’m worried that I’m not prepared for how God wants me to view marriage. What does the Bible say about marriage? 

Answer:
Before we dig into several aspects of marriage, it’s important to start with the Biblical definition of marriage. Marriage was instituted by God in the Garden of Eden at the time of man’s creation as a union between man and woman (Genesis 2:18-24). 

 

Facts the Bible Tells Us about Marriage:

  1. Marriage is an indissoluble relationship except on the highest grounds (Matthew 19:9).  

  2. Monogamous relationship between husband and wife as stated in the original law (Matthew 19:51 Corinthians 6:16).  

  3. Husband and wife are equal before God (Ephesians 5:29-311 Peter 3:7).  

  4. The relationship is to reflect the image of God (Genesis 1:26-27).  

  5. Husband is the loving head of the relationship, and the wife is subordinate.

      (1 Corinthians 11:8-91 Timothy 2:13Ephesians 5:21-33Colossians 3:191 Peter 3:1-6).  

 6. The relationship is fruitful (Genesis 1:28a).

In summary, we can see that marriage is an intimate and complementing union between a man and a woman in which the two become one physically, in the whole of life. The purpose of marriage is to reflect the relationship of the Godhead and to serve him. Although the fall has marred the divine purpose and function of marriage, this definition reflects the God-ordained ideal for marriage from the beginning.
 

Biblical Marriage as a Witness and Example

“By this shall all men know that you are my disciples if you have love one for another” (John 13:35). Marriage is a significant institution by which a lost world can see Christianity in action. Marriage is the most intimate of human relationships in which husbands and wives learn to model Christ’s love. Marriage is the 18-year training ground for children so that they can also love “one another.” Marriage provides a unique opportunity to reflect Him as a couple. Marriage provides a platform for accomplishing God’s intentions for mankind. Read more at A Biblical Perspective of Marriage

How is the Bible’s view of marriage different than what the world says? 

Lie 1:  “If you’re not compatible, you may have married the wrong person.”

God’s truth says that marriage is a covenant relationship. Once you choose to marry, it’s no longer up for debate as to whether your spouse is the “right one.” Marriage makes them the right one, for it’s a commitment before God. It’s never to be based on shifting feelings, but a choice every day to love the spouse you’ve chosen to marry. In a world that often prefers to “trade in for an updated version,” this truth doesn’t make sense. But according to God’s Word, it’s very clear.

 

"Therefore, what God has joined together, let no one separate." (Mark 10:9)

Lie 2:  “If you’re not happy, don’t stay in an unhappy situation. You deserve more.”

For many of us, marriage can tend to bring our selfishness out like nothing else. We want our way. We insist on our rights. We want our spouse to make us happy, and right now! In the midst of demands, we’ll never be free to truly love and serve one another. Our focus will tend to be one-sided – our side – and what we want. God’s goal for marriage was not just to “make us happy.” The truest picture of marriage is that it symbolizes the love of Christ for us.  And His desire for us all is that we be made more into the image of Himself.

 

“Love is patient; Love is kind. It does not envy, it does not boast, it is not proud. It does not dishonor others, it is not self-seeking, it is not easily angered, it keeps no record of wrongs.” (1 Corinthians 13:4-5)

 

Lie 3: Marriage is a 50/50 relationship.” 

Marriage takes two people, fully committed, choosing every day, to love and cherish. 50/50 will never be enough to see you through the toughest times. It’s only half effort, and it seeks to compare what we’re doing with the other, always needing to check to see if they’re keeping up with expectations. This isn’t what God intends. His plan is covenant relationship, centered in Christ, loving through Christ; that is what will carry us through both good times and bad. It will take full effort of 100/100 to have a strong relationship which will thrive over time. 

 

“Love bears all things, believes all things, hopes all things, endures all things. Love never fails…” (1 Corinthians 13:7-8)

 

What does the Bible say about sex in marriage?

In this over-sexed and under-loved world, people are looking for the real deal, the secret to lasting love with a vibrant sex life. Because of this pursuit for a purer passion, the most asked question we get when it comes to Red Hot Monogamy is, “What is okay with God?”

 

First and foremost, sex is for marriage. Ephesians 5:31-32 (quoting Genesis) "For this reason, a man will leave his father and mother and be united to his wife, and the two will become one flesh." 1 Thessalonians 4:3–8 reinforces this with the reminder, “It is God’s will that you keep away from sexual sin as a mark of your devotion to him” (1 Thessalonians 4:3, GW).

 

For married couples, God gives only a few clear commands on what is and isn’t permissible with the gift of sex he created. Instead of a list of “no-no’s” let’s look at his guidelines in the affirmative:  

Yield to one another.

Everything done is agreed upon. The goal in intimacy is unity. In Red Hot Monogamy, we look at the eight areas of intimacy and give tools to build intimacy in each area. Colossians 3:1 encourages: And over all these virtues put on love, which binds them all together in perfect unity. If you love, you will want to talk through and agree on expressions in sexuality.  

Extend it in love.

No one should ever feel forced or coerced in sex. The sex acts should reflect love, not demean or inflict pain. Sex is a relationship to be protected, not a person to exploit. Hebrews 13:4 reminds: Marriage must be respected by all, and the marriage bed kept undefiled.  

Secure it with privacy.

Sex should only be you two alone. Your marriage bed is yours and yours alone (no other partners, no pornography, no mommy porn, no fake imitations of body parts). Why settle for anything fake when you can create the real thing live and in person? When it comes to grey areas, things not specifically forbidden, applying 1 Corinthians 6:12 is a smart choice: 

Everything is permissible (allowable and lawful) for me; but not all things are helpful (good for me to do, expedient and profitable when considered with other things). Everything is lawful for me, but I will not become the slave of anything or be brought under its power. 
Read more: Married Sex - What’s OK with God?  

 

Does the Bible say there is one specific person for us to marry?

There is nothing in Scripture that suggests there is just one person we’re ‘supposed’ to marry. Proverbs 31 urges young men to be guided by a woman’s faith and character in making their choice there is no mention of second-guessing some divine destiny. In 1 Corinthians 7, the apostle Paul tells women (widows, in particular) to seriously consider singleness, but assures them the choice of whether to get married is up to them, and then specifically says women can marry “whomever they wish” as long as their potential husband is ‘in the Lord.’ (v. 39) If the Bible explicitly says, ‘it’s your call whether or not to get married’ (a sentiment Jesus echoes when he says some “choose” to become eunuchs celibate in Matthew 19:12, with emphasis on the word “choose”) and it’s entirely your choice as to who to marry, why should your subjective feelings and reasoning override living by the truth of Scripture?

There is, quite frankly, nothing in Scripture that ever tells us it is our sworn duty to marry one particular person. Whether we marry, and who we marry, are spoken of in Scripture as part of God’s “permissive will,” something he allows us to choose.

Quick Reference Bible Verses About Marriage

1 Corinthians 7:1-40

1 Corinthians 13: 4-7

Ephesians 5:21-23

Hebrews 13:4 

Genesis 2:22-24

 
 
Resources: Click to Learn More About

Pre-Marital or Marriage Counseling Request

A Biblical Perspective of Marriage

Married Sex - What’s OK with God? 

 

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