What Does the Bible Say About Marriage?

by: Bill Bratt

Marriage is the state of being united to a person in an intimate and close relationship in which the husband and wife must be best friends, love each other and share their lives together.

What does the Bible say about marriage? Letís take a look at a few scriptural passages and see what we can glean from them and hopefully we can improve our relationships with our mates.

Marriage is a Living Symbol of Christ and the Church

First letís notice that marriage is compared to Christ and the Church: "Wives, submit to your own husbands, as to the Lord. {23} For the husband is head of the wife, as also Christ is head of the church; and He is the Savior of the body. {24} Therefore, just as the church is subject to Christ, so let the wives be to their own husbands in everything. {25} Husbands, love your wives, just as Christ also loved the church and gave Himself for her, {26} that He might sanctify and cleanse her with the washing of water by the word, {27} that He might present her to Himself a glorious church, not having spot or wrinkle or any such thing, but that she should be holy and without blemish. {28} So husbands ought to love their own wives as their own bodies; he who loves his wife loves himself. {29} For no one ever hated his own flesh, but nourishes and cherishes it, just as the Lord does the church. {30} For we are members of His body, of His flesh and of His bones. {31} "For this reason a man shall leave his father and mother and be joined to his wife, and the two shall become one flesh." {32} This is a great mystery, but I speak concerning Christ and the church. {33} Nevertheless let each one of you in particular so love his own wife as himself, and let the wife see that she respects her husband" (Ephesians 5:22-33 NKJV.)

Notice in verse 25 that the husband is to love his wife as Christ loves the Church and Jesus was willing to lay down His life for His friends, the Church and for all of mankind (John 15:13.) This is the kind of love that a husband is to have for his wife.

Notice in verse 33 the husband is admonished again to love his wife and the wife is to respect her husband.

Love Each Other

A very important part of love is communication. On Jesusí last Passover on earth, He communicated with His apostles, and gave them many instructions in how to live good Christian lives (Luke 22 and John 13-17.) In order to have a good healthy marriage a husband and wife must communicate with each other.

Communication is to love what blood is to the body. By talking to our mates, we can keep the lines of communication open. Communication can be more than talking, it can include eye contact, touching and holding hands, or even silence and just being together.

A very important part of communication is listening. Please gentlemen, when your wife is talking to you, turn the television off! Give her your undivided attention. It is part of a womanís personality to want the "details" and to share the details with her husband. It is part of the manís personality to just get enough of the details to see the "big picture," but we husbands must learn to listen to our wives to show her that we care.

Another very important part of communication is tell your mate that you "love" them. Husbands, get in the habit of complimenting your wife, for a nice meal she prepared, a new dress or a new hair style, and whatever you do, donít forget her birthday or your wedding anniversary.

Love for your spouse is based upon respect. You should never use profanity, curse your mate or speak evil of your mate. Letís notice what the apostle Peter said: "For he that will love life, and see good days, let him refrain his tongue from evil, and his lips that they speak no guile" (1 Peter 3:10 KJV.)

Marriage is Godís Idea

Letís notice that marriage is Godís idea: "And the LORD God said, "It is not good that man should be alone; I will make him a helper comparable to him." {19} Out of the ground the LORD God formed every beast of the field and every bird of the air, and brought them to Adam to see what he would call them. And whatever Adam called each living creature, that was its name. {20} So Adam gave names to all cattle, to the birds of the air, and to every beast of the field. But for Adam there was not found a helper comparable to him. {21} And the LORD God caused a deep sleep to fall on Adam, and he slept; and He took one of his ribs, and closed up the flesh in its place. {22} Then the rib which the LORD God had taken from man He made into a woman, and He brought her to the man. {23} And Adam said: "This is now bone of my bones And flesh of my flesh; She shall be called Woman, Because she was taken out of Man." {24} Therefore a man shall leave his father and mother and be joined to his wife, and they shall become one flesh" (Genesis 2:18-24 NKJV.)

God knew that it was not good for man to be alone. We all need friends, and especially a friend who will love us (Proverbs 17:17) and who will stick closer than a brother (Proverbs 18:24.) This is one of the reasons why God created the marriage institution. God made a woman, Eve, to be a helper for the man, Adam. Our mates should be our best friend, our helper, our loyal and faithful companion for life.

Since marriage is Godís idea, then we should keep God in our marriages. Letís notice an interesting verse: "Though one may be overpowered by another, two can withstand him. And a threefold cord is not quickly broken) (Ecclesiastes 4:12 NKJV.) A marriage involves a husband and a wife which is a twofold cord, but when we involve God in our marriages, it becomes a three fold cord. Letís think of a quick example of this: Take one pencil and see how easy it is to break. Now take two pencils and hold them together and see how it takes a little more effort to break them. Now finally take three pencils and holding them together we will find that it takes a good bit of effort to break them.

Jesus is our friend (John 15:11-17) and we can ask Him in prayer to be the third member of the threefold cord of our marriage union.

Commitment is Essential to a Successful Marriage

To have a successful marriage we must make a commitment to it. We must obligate, pledge and bind ourselves to the goal of marital success.

The divorce rates, in our country, are above fifty percent. The odds are against us to succeed in our marriages. Why are the odds against us? It is due to Godlessness in the Last Days: "But know this, that in the last days perilous times will come: {2} For men will be lovers of themselves, lovers of money, boasters, proud, blasphemers, disobedient to parents, unthankful, unholy, {3} unloving, unforgiving, slanderers, without self-control, brutal, despisers of good, {4} traitors, headstrong, haughty, lovers of pleasure rather than lovers of God, {5} having a form of godliness but denying its power. And from such people turn away!" (2 Timothy 3:1-5 NKJV.)

The society in which we live is very immoral. The entertainment industry capitalizes on and exploits sex in the movies and in television sit-coms. Satan uses the entertainment medium to tempt people into sexual sin by using the lack of self-control to lead them to immorality. Satan can take the good gift of sex that God created and lead people to use it in sinful ways.

How can a Christian fight sexual immorality? Letís see how the apostle Paul would answer this question: " Now concerning the things of which you wrote to me: It is good for a man not to touch a woman. {2} Nevertheless, because of sexual immorality, let each man have his own wife, and let each woman have her own husband. {3} Let the husband render to his wife the affection due her, and likewise also the wife to her husband. {4} The wife does not have authority over her own body, but the husband does. And likewise the husband does not have authority over his own body, but the wife does. {5} Do not deprive one another except with consent for a time, that you may give yourselves to fasting and prayer; and come together again so that Satan does not tempt you because of your lack of self-control. {6} But I say this as a concession, not as a commandment. {7} For I wish that all men were even as I myself. But each one has his own gift from God, one in this manner and another in that. {8} But I say to the unmarried and to the widows: It is good for them if they remain even as I am; {9} but if they cannot exercise self-control, let them marry. For it is better to marry than to burn with passion" (1 Corinthians 7:1-9 NKJV.)

Our wedding vows is a covenant with our spouse and God. When we said "I Do" we were not to be swearing falsely (Matthew 5:33-37.) We made our commitment with our spouse, not their face or figure. Our vows are our commitment to the end. Our commitment to our mate is essential for us to have a successful marriage.

Letís look at a Biblical example of commitment from the life of Rebekah who accepted the marriage proposal from Abraham for his son Isaac: "Then they called Rebekah and said to her, "Will you go with this man?" And she said, "I will go." {59} So they sent away Rebekah their sister and her nurse, and Abraham's servant and his men. {60} And they blessed Rebekah and said to her: "Our sister, may you become The mother of thousands of ten thousands; And may your descendants possess The gates of those who hate them" (Genesis 24:58-60 NKJV.)

The marriage of Isaac and Rebekah was arranged by Abraham and she made her commitment sight unseen: "And Isaac went out to meditate in the field in the evening; and he lifted his eyes and looked, and there, the camels were coming. {64} Then Rebekah lifted her eyes, and when she saw Isaac she dismounted from her camel; {65} for she had said to the servant, "Who is this man walking in the field to meet us?" The servant said, "It is my master." So she took a veil and covered herself. {66} And the servant told Isaac all the things that he had done. {67} Then Isaac brought her into his mother Sarah's tent; and he took Rebekah and she became his wife, and he loved her. So Isaac was comforted after his mother's death" (Genesis 24:63-67 NKJV.)

Marriage Holds Times of Great Joy

Our physical marriage is a type of marriage to Jesus Christ. Notice in the following prophecy how Jesus is a type of a loving and a forgiving husband: "For your Maker is your husband, The LORD of hosts is His name; And your Redeemer is the Holy One of Israel; He is called the God of the whole earth. {6} For the LORD has called you Like a woman forsaken and grieved in spirit, Like a youthful wife when you were refused," Says your God. {7} "For a mere moment I have forsaken you, But with great mercies I will gather you. {8} With a little wrath I hid My face from you for a moment; But with everlasting kindness I will have mercy on you," Says the LORD, your Redeemer. {9} "For this is like the waters of Noah to Me; For as I have sworn That the waters of Noah would no longer cover the earth, So have I sworn That I would not be angry with you, nor rebuke you. {10} For the mountains shall depart And the hills be removed, But My kindness shall not depart from you, Nor shall My covenant of peace be removed," Says the LORD, who has mercy on you" (Isaiah 54:5-10 NKJV.)

Letís notice the apostle Paulís admonition that the Church is to be chaste, innocent, pure and spotless in order to be the bride of Christ: "For I am jealous for you with godly jealousy. For I have betrothed you to one husband, that I may present you as a chaste virgin to Christ" (2 Corinthians 11:2 NKJV.)

Weddings are a time of great joy and our marriage to Jesus Christ will be a time of great rejoicing and gladness: "Let us be glad and rejoice and give Him glory, for the marriage of the Lamb has come, and His wife has made herself ready." {8} And to her it was granted to be arrayed in fine linen, clean and bright, for the fine linen is the righteous acts of the saints. {9} Then he said to me, "Write: 'Blessed are those who are called to the marriage supper of the Lamb!' " And he said to me, "These are the true sayings of God" (Revelation 19:7-9 NKJV.)

Since our physical marriages picture Jesus and the Church, our marriages should have times of great joy also.

A lot of our joy in marriage can come from the little things: Holding hands, saying "I love you," a phone call, get a baby sitter and go out on a date, or go to a restaurant for a dinner for two. Perhaps buying a small gift or a card for your spouse. Buying flowers or candy for your wife can brighten her day. Gentlemen, if you really want to please your wife, do the dishes or sweep the floor.

In reality, marriage is a God-plane relationship, it involves the spiritual qualities of giving, sharing, loving, serving, forgiving and forgetting.

Romance is Important

Romance involves a love story or a love affair. The Bible records a beautiful love story between Jacob and Rachel. Romance usually begins by physical attraction, and in this love story we find that Rachel was beautiful in appearance (Genesis 29:17.)

Letís see what happened when Jacob first met Rachel: "And it came to pass, when Jacob saw Rachel the daughter of Laban his mother's brother, and the sheep of Laban his mother's brother, that Jacob went near and rolled the stone from the well's mouth, and watered the flock of Laban his mother's brother. {11} Then Jacob kissed Rachel, and lifted up his voice and wept" (Genesis 29:10-11 NKJV.)

Jacob kissed Rachel. He was really smitten by her beauty. As this love story unfolds, we find that Rachelís father Laban negotiates with Jacob and Jacob decides to work for Laban for seven years for the hand of Rachel. On their wedding night, seven years later, Laban is cunning and gives his older daughter Leah to Jacob as his wife and Jacob went in unto her. Can you imagine Jacobís reaction in the morning when he realized that he had been making love all night long to the wrong woman.

As this love story unfolds, Jacob agreed to work another seven years in order to marry Rachel.

This is a story of real romance. Jacob was willing to work fourteen years for the woman of his dreams in whom he loved dearly.

There is another book in the Bible that is dedicated entirely to romance and that is the book of "The Song of Solomon." It is written like a play, in which the husband and wife could each read their parts.

We need to keep romance alive in our marriages. How do we keep romance alive in our marriages? Do the little things. Look forward to spending time together. Take the time to look nice with good grooming, and to smell good by taking showers and using deodorant, perfume and cologne. Put on a smile, be friendly and be romantic and intimate.

We have to remember that romance doesnít begin in the bedroom, it begins in the morning and lasts all day. It involves how you treat each other all day long. Be kind, be gentle and apply the fruits of Godís Holy Spirit with each other (Galatians 5:22-23) by expressing love, joy, peace, and patience.

Marriage is Good and Honorable

The writer of the book of Hebrews gave the following admonition: "Marriage is honorable among all, and the bed undefiled; but fornicators and adulterers God will judge" (Hebrews 13:4 NKJV.) Notice that the beds in our marriages are to be undefiled. We are to keep ourselves pure (1 Timothy 5:22.) Notice also in this verse that fornicators and adulterers will be judged by God and they will not be in the kingdom of God: "For this you know, that no fornicator, unclean person, nor covetous man, who is an idolater, has any inheritance in the kingdom of Christ and God" (Ephesians 5:5 NKJV.)

What is the best thing that we can do to keep our marriage good and honorable? The apostle Paul said that we must FLEE sexual immorality: "Flee sexual immorality. Every sin that a man does is outside the body, but he who commits sexual immorality sins against his own body" (1 Corinthians 6:18 NKJV.) To "flee" means to run away from danger or evil and to hurry toward a place of security.

Marriage Creates the Best Environment for Raising Children

God is in the process of creating a family in His image, but He needs our help. Letís notice what God said: "Let Us make man in Our image, according to Our likeness; let them have dominion over the fish of the sea, over the birds of the air, and over the cattle, over all the earth and over every creeping thing that creeps on the earth." {27} So God created man in His own image; in the image of God He created him; male and female He created them. {28} Then God blessed them, and God said to them, "Be fruitful and multiply; fill the earth and subdue it; have dominion over the fish of the sea, over the birds of the air, and over every living thing that moves on the earth" (Genesis 1:26-28 NKJV.)

Notice that God said for man to be fruitful and multiply, to have babies and children.

God admonishes us as parents to teach our children the right way to live with proper values: "Train up a child in the way he should go, And when he is old he will not depart from it" (Proverbs 22:6 NKJV.)

What is Godís goal for our children? Letís notice the answer from Malachi the prophet: "Yet you say, "For what reason?" Because the LORD has been witness Between you and the wife of your youth, With whom you have dealt treacherously; Yet she is your companion And your wife by covenant. {15} But did He not make them one, Having a remnant of the Spirit? And why one? He seeks godly offspring." (Malachi 2:14-15 NKJV.)

God wants our children to be godly offspring. We are responsible to God to raise our children to be responsible, upright, god-fearing, righteous members of His Church and His family.

Marriage best fits this teaching environment for children with the husband as a father and the wife as mother, both showing love and concern. This environment is the best for a childís emotional and mental health.

Broken homes are very traumatic for children. Many times these children will think that they are responsible for the breakup of their parentís marriage. They are frightened and confused. These children are more likely to have problems in school, problems with peers and parents, and have behavior problems. 

Marriage is Permanent  

What did Jesus Christ teach about marriage and divorce?

Mark recorded the following: "Therefore what God has joined together, let not man separate" (Mark 10:9 NKJV.)

Now letís notice what Jesus said in the book of Matthew: "The Pharisees also came to Him, testing Him, and saying to Him, "Is it lawful for a man to divorce his wife for just any reason?" {4} And He answered and said to them, "Have you not read that He who made them at the beginning 'made them male and female,' {5} "and said, 'For this reason a man shall leave his father and mother and be joined to his wife, and the two shall become one flesh'? {6} So then, they are no longer two but one flesh. Therefore what God has joined together, let not man separate." {7} They said to Him, "Why then did Moses command to give a certificate of divorce, and to put her away?" {8} He said to them, "Moses, because of the hardness of your hearts, permitted you to divorce your wives, but from the beginning it was not so. {9} "And I say to you, whoever divorces his wife, except for sexual immorality, and marries another, commits adultery; and whoever marries her who is divorced commits adultery" (Matthew 19:3-9 NKJV.)

Notice in verse 8 that Jesus said that Moses allowed divorce because of the hardness of their hearts, but from the beginning it was not so. What did God want from the beginning? God did not want divorce. God wanted one man and one woman to get married for life.

Now letís notice that the only exception that Jesus allowed for divorce was for "sexual immorality." Jesus is quoting here from Deuteronomy 24:1-4 and He is referring to adultery.

God Hates Divorce

What does God think about divorce? Malachi the prophet recorded the following: "Yet you say, "For what reason?" Because the LORD has been witness Between you and the wife of your youth, With whom you have dealt treacherously; Yet she is your companion And your wife by covenant. {15} But did He not make them one, Having a remnant of the Spirit? And why one? He seeks godly offspring. Therefore take heed to your spirit, And let none deal treacherously with the wife of his youth. {16} "For the LORD God of Israel says That He hates divorce, For it covers one's garment with violence," Says the LORD of hosts. "Therefore take heed to your spirit, That you do not deal treacherously" (Malachi 2:14-16 NKJV.)

This scripture is plain in saying that God hates divorce.

Unfaithfulness Breaks the Bonds of Marriage

God gave His Ten Commandments to man so that a man could live a righteous life (Psalms 119:172.) The Commandment that God gave to preserve the family is the Seventh Commandment: "You shall not commit adultery" (Exodus 20:14 NKJV.)

When you commit adultery, you are defiling yourself (Leviticus 18:20.) The term "defile" means to pollute, to make unclean, to be contaminated.

Our society is very tolerant and permissive of adultery. It is redefining morality and it is in a downward spiral. Many Americans have lost their shame and guilt and are not able to blush over their sins of adultery.

How does being unfaithful begin? It begins by rationalizing your behavior. You will reason that you love your wife and family and you donít want a divorce, so you feel it is better to have an affair for the sake of your family. Perhaps a woman might rationalize that her husband is not fulfilling her sexually, so she seeks a man for sexual satisfaction instead of divorcing her husband.

People will even try to rationalize cyber-sex and porn on the internet as acceptable behavior. We have to realize that our personal integrity is much more valuable than an orgasm.

If we love our mate, we will not want to bring them any pain or suffering from our foolish rationalized behavior.

Ideally, Only Death Should Dissolve a Marriage

Our wedding vows included the following: "in sickness and in health and till death do us part."

The apostle Paul wrote the following: "For the woman who has a husband is bound by the law to her husband as long as he lives. But if the husband dies, she is released from the law of her husband. {3} So then if, while her husband lives, she marries another man, she will be called an adulteress; but if her husband dies, she is free from that law, so that she is no adulteress, though she has married another man" (Romans 7:2-3 NKJV.)

In Conclusion: Good marriages donít just happen. Donít take your marriage for granted. Marriage requires a lot of work and without work your marriage will deteriorate. A good marriage is like a beautiful rose bush, but the bush has thorns on it. We all have trials and tests within our marriages, but we have to put forth the effort to overcome them and love and cherish our mates.

Loving your mate involves conversation and outgoing concern with giving, serving and sharing.

Donít forget to keep God in your personal life and in your marriage.

For more information -  Pick the following link:
The Seventh Commandment: Thou Shalt Not Commit Adultery

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