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).
Bible Verses about Marriage:
1. The relationship is to reflect the image of God – Genesis 1:26-27 – “So God created mankind in his own image, in the image of God he created them; male and female he created them.”
2. The relationship is fruitful – Genesis 1:28 – God blessed them and said to them, “Be fruitful and increase in number; fill the earth and subdue it. Rule over the fish in the sea and the birds in the sky and over every living creature that moves on the ground.”
3. Monogamous relationship between husband and wife as stated in the original law – Matthew 19:5 – “and said, ‘For this reason a man will leave his father and mother and be united to his wife, and the two will become one flesh’?” and – 1 Corinthians 6:16 – “Do you not know that he who unites himself with a prostitute is one with her in body? For it is said, “The two will become one flesh.”
4. Husband and wife are equal before God – Ephesians 5:29-31 – “After all, no one ever hated their own body, but they feed and care for their body, just as Christ does the church – for we are members of his body. “For this reason a man will leave his father and mother and be united to his wife, and the two will become one flesh.” and – 1 Peter 3:7 – “Husbands, in the same way be considerate as you live with your wives, and treat them with respect as the weaker partner and as heirs with you of the gracious gift of life, so that nothing will hinder your prayers.”
5. Marriage is an indissoluble relationship except on the highest grounds – Matthew 19:9 – “I tell you that anyone who divorces his wife, except for sexual immorality, and marries another woman commits adultery.”
6. Husband is the loving head of relationship and wife is subordinate – 1 Corinthians 11:8-9 – “For man did not come from woman, but woman from man; neither was man created for woman, but woman for man.” and – Ephesians 5:21-33 – “Wives, submit yourselves to your own husbands as you do to the Lord. For the husband is the head of the wife as Christ is the head of the church, his body, of which he is the Savior. Now as the church submits to Christ, so also wives should submit to their husbands in everything. Husbands, love your wives, just as Christ loved the church and gave himself up for her…However, each one of you also must love his wife as he loves himself, and the wife must respect her husband.” and – Colossians 3:19 – “Wives, submit yourselves to your husbands, as is fitting in the Lord. Husbands, love your wives and do not be harsh with them.”
7. The relationship is fruitful – Genesis 1:28 – “God blessed them and said to them, “Be fruitful and increase in number; fill the earth and subdue it. Rule over the fish in the sea and the birds in the sky and over every living creature that moves on the ground.”
In summary, we can see that Scripture tells us 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. God’s 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.
“Two Shall Become One”
“So God created mankind in his own image, in the image of God he created them; male and female he created them.” Genesis 1:27
“That is why a man leaves his father and mother and is united to his wife, and they become one flesh.” – Genesis 2:4
The relational aspect of God’s image is reflected in the bringing together of male and female in “one flesh”.
This oneness with sexual differences portrays various aspects of God’s image: same nature and essence, equal members, intimate relationship, common purpose, and distinct personalities with different roles, including authority and submission. In the Trinity the Father leads, the Son submits to the Father, and the Holy Spirit submits to both the Father and the Son. However, all three are fully and equally deity. Likewise, male and female in the marriage relationship are of the same nature and essence, equal as persons intimate in relationship, common in purpose, but distinct personalities with different roles: the husband leads and the wife submits to his leadership.
Human reproduction comes through intimate sexual union designed only for the marriage relationship. Cohabitation abuses the procreative nature of the marriage relationship. While reproduction is a divine purpose of marriage, some couples are unable to have children for various physical reasons. This does not make their marriage second-rate or inferior. However, a married couple should desire to obey the divine injunction of procreation if possible. Children are one manifestation of the “one flesh” of marriage. The procreative injunction obviously precludes homosexual “marriages.”
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. From: A Biblical Perspective of Marriage
Bible’s View of Marriage Vs. The World and Culture
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. Yet 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.
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:
You can say YES if you:
Yield to one another. Everything done is agreed upon. The goal in intimacy is unity. In Red Hot Monogamy we look at the 8 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.