The Matter of Marriage
The institution of marriage is firmly ingrained in our society and for good reason. The Bible teaches that marriage and the home have come from God (Gen. 2:18,25). Since God is the originator and designer of marriage, is it not a demonstration of wisdom and good sense to learn what He had in mind regarding it?
So many people enter into marriage very unprepared for the kind of relationship God intended. Many times the marriage runs aground upon hard times and even falls apart in divorce. Much of this could be prevented if those who contemplate getting married would spend a few moments in serious consideration of marriage and what it involves.
There are certain purposes for marriage as revealed in Scripture. Companionship is probably the best word of our language to convey in brief form the nature of marriage. “It is not good that man should be alone,” God determined. He did not say being unmarried is bad, but the need of companionship was recognized and intended by God.
Procreation, the perpetuation of the human family, was also an intended result of marriage (Gen. 1.28). Children are to be born into a home of married parents.
Marriage is to avoid fornication (1 Cor. 7.2,3). The sexual drive is a powerful force, and of itself is not evil. When people satisfy their sexual drive outside of marriage it is sinful in the sight of the very One who gave man that drive in the beginning. God gave the drive and God provided for the satisfaction of it in marriage. The sad fact that many disregard God’s law does not change His law. The havoc many have reaped because of their unwillingness to obey the Lord is beyond measure.
Marriage is for Life
Marriage is intended to last for the lifetime of those involved (1 Cor 7:39; Rom. 7.1-4). To enter into marriage with any other intent than “till death do us part” is to pervert a divine institution.
God hates divorce (Mal. 2:16), and there should not be the putting asunder what God has joined (Matt. 19:3-8). The will of Jesus Christ regarding marriage was what God designed from the beginning.
Yes, God will allow divorce, but only when one of the partners has been guilty of fornication (Matt. 19:9). This is the only grounds on which God will accept divorce.
Many have divorced their mates for a variety of reasons, many even trivial. Today, there is even what is called a “no fault” divorce. You do not even have to have a reason. Just divorce! But even though such are the ways of our world, it is a violation of the way of God. People who think that everything that is legal is also acceptable to God are grossly misled.
When one has the misfortune of having their husband or wife be unfaithful to them and “defile the marriage bed,” they are permitted by the Lord to divorce the sinful one. Of course, they should consider forgiving their wayward mate if he or she is penitent and seeks forgiveness. But God does not require one to live with a mate who has broken his or her vows and given the body to another.
The one who divorces a fornicating mate may remarry if he or she wishes (Matt. 19:9), but the one who has committed the transgression has forfeited the right of marriage (Matt. 19:9).
It is a tragedy of our time that so many people are behaving as if they were nothing more than animals, swapping marriage partners, living in adultery, taking to themselves whosoever they will without respect for the sanctity of the body, the institution of marriage, or the integrity of their vows. No one should marry unless they understand and appreciate God’s intent and design for marriage regarding the source of it, purpose, duration and expectations. It is the height of folly to expect a marriage to be what it ought and can be if God and His will is left out of it.
Leave and Cleave
Those who marry are to “leave and cleave” (Gen. 2:24; Mt. 19:5). They are to leave others and cleave to one another. While this does not require a complete severance of all association with others, it does demand loyalty to one’s mate before anyone and everyone else, including parents. It is been shown repeatedly that in-laws, would-be-suitors, nobody can disrupt a marriage when the husband and wife “leave and cleave.” One ought not marry unless they can place their first loyalty to the mate, only second to God. The beautiful thing is, when one truly loves God, he will love what God says regarding marriage and will put the mate first.
God has given the prescription for a blessed and happy marriage. Every prospective bride and groom should study Ephesians 5:22-33. The Holy Spirit, through the inspired pen of Paul, shows the marital relationship likened unto the relationship between Christ and His church.
While destructive and heretical views are being promoted in our society that would confuse and pervert the distinct roles of husband and wife, there has never been conceived a better plan for the welfare of marriage mates than that which is revealed in Scripture, nor shall there be. Who would know more about human happiness than He who created? Who would know more what it takes to have a happy marriage than He who originated it? People show their arrogance and foolishness to break themselves against the will of God. The misery, torment, regret, sorrow and collapse of the homes of those who defy God are evidences that people are happiest when they love God and love one another God’s way.
The Way That Works
This brings us to a general statement that gives the recipe for a happy marriage. Marriages are happy when the mates love God and each other. When either is left out there is a flaw that shall plague the marriage, oftimes until it breaks apart.
It is regrettable that many enter marriage without ever really making serious preparations for it. One should understand the nature of marriage, its purpose, and then have reverence for the institution. One should prepare himself or herself mentally, emotionally, physically and spiritually for marriage. Entrance into this sacred relationship while divided on matters religious is to dare the devil. So many times a man and woman will enter marriage and never will have even discussed those things that ought to be of primary concern in their lives.
Who May Marry?
There are three classes of people that Scripture teaches are permitted to marry: (1) Those who have never married (1 Cor. 7:36); (2) those who have been married but the mate has died (Rom. 7:3); (3) those who have married and have divorced the mate because the mate was guilty of fornication (Matt. 19:9). Unless one fits into one of these classes, he does not marry with God’s blessings and approval.
Too many look for guidance and counsel regarding marriage from sources that do not and will not uphold God’s plan. But if you want a marriage that can reach the level of joy and happiness that God intended for it, then you must consider His ways and be wise. When a man and woman are united in Christ, and love each other more than all else except Deity, they can build on a foundation that will sustain the home in prosperity, adversity, sickness, health, good times, bad times, all times.
One may choose to remain unmarried, and there is no obligation for one to marry. Marriage is a privilege, not a duty. But should one marry, he is obligated to be governed in all matters pertaining to it by the will of God. Otherwise, whatever dire consequences that may come can only be attributed to one’s own rebellion.
To the unmarried, we would urge these things upon you for consideration before entering marriage. To those who plan to be married, your very plans make consideration of these things of prime priority. To the married, even those who have not yet attained the quality of marriage that God intends, a sincere study and application of God’s principles regarding the home will make the difference.
1. What is the best source of information regarding marriage?
2. Discuss the Biblical purposes for marriage.
3. What is God’s attitude toward divorce?
4. For what one reason will God allow divorce?
5. Does fornication demand divorce?
6. May the guilty partner remarry?
7. What is the preventive to outside interference in a marriage?
8. To what is the relationship of Christ and the church compared?
9. What is the recipe for a happy marriage in just a few words?
10. What are the dangers of marrying a person who is not a Christian?
11. Is it wrong to remain unmarried?