The Truth about Marriage
The truth relative to marriage is rather clear. However, man has often blurred the truth by his doctrines.
God is the author of marriage (a couple joined for life in a special spiritual and physical relationship). God said, "it is not good that the man should be alone " (Gen. 2: 18). It is a common fact that man is a social being. His life is enhanced and increased by having a proper companion. God then said, " I will make an help meet for him." The Hebrew word translated "help meet" suggests a counter-part. Some versions have the footnote, "helper comparable to him."
God made woman for man. It has been remarked that God made Eve, not Steve for Adam. The woman was created for man! (Gen. 2: 18-22, 23). The apostle Paul later wrote, "Neither was the man created for the woman; but the woman for the man" (I Cor. 11: 9). " Man is not of the woman," he further argues to illustrate man's headship, "but the woman of the man" (vs. 8). Man is in "the image and glory of God: but the woman is the glory of the man" (vs. 7). Since God made woman for man, she is ideally suited both emotionally, anatomically, and psychologically to meet the needs of man - all so called women's movements to the contrary notwithstanding.
The exclusivity of marriage. "Therefore shall a man leave his father and his mother ," God says regarding the priority of marriage (Gen. 2: 24). A son/parent relationship is wonderful and demanding, but the marriage relationship is more demanding! Marriage, as ordained by God, involves one man and one woman. Eve, not multiple women, was made for Adam (Gen. 2). "They twain (two, dm) shall be one flesh," Jesus later said (Matt. 19: 5). The play and emphasis is on the numerical "two" and "one." Marriage is monogamous and God was not pleased with polygamy, practiced subsequent to Genesis 2).
What constitutes marriage which is joined by God. Not all marriages are joined by God. Many, even of my brethren, equate marriage and bond. However, in some cases, one can be married to one and bound to another (Rom. 7: 3). Marriage does not necessarily imply there is a bond, in other words. (please read the material on "Scriptural Divorcement" and "Remarriage" found in archives). Two eligible people must have the intent of the marriage commitment. The betrothment (what we loosely call "engagement") of the Hebrew scriptures was indicative of such an intent (Ex. 22: 16). Marriage among the Jews was prearranged by parents - such declared intent.
The Bible speaks of God being "witness between thee and the wife of thy youth." Also, " the wife of thy covenant" (Mal. 2: 14). One commentator wrote regarding Bible marriages: "The actual marriage seems to have been accompanied by certain solemn promises and blessings (The Pulpit Commentary, vol. 14, on Malachi 2: 14). The totality of the teaching of the Bible shows what we call the "exchanging of vows." I stress this facet of marriage to say there is a manifest difference between marriage and just living together in fornication.
We are taught to obey civil laws when they do not collide with God's laws, as such (Rom. 13: 1-7, Acts 5: 29). As a rule, all counties, States, and municipalities have laws relative to marriage - issuance of marriage license, filing of license, etc. Such civil practice is good because it creates order, intent, and record.
The purpose of marriage. The ideal marriage is both physical and spiritual. " To avoid fornication, let every man have his own wife, and every woman have her own husband," the Bible says (I Cor. 7: 2). The conjugal aspects of marriage are clearly and unashamedly taught (I Cor. 7: 3-6, Heb. 13: 4). The belief and teaching that sexual intercourse is just for procreation is patently false and has resulted in many failed marriages.
Marriage is also for the producing and education of children (Gen. 1: 28). Paul wrote of the woman, "notwithstanding she shall be saved in childbearing, if they continue in faith and charity and holiness with sobriety" (I Tim. 2: 15).
Many are conversant with the physical considerations of marriage - the conjugal, children, etc. - but not enough are aware of the spiritual. The biblically ideal marriage involves an acknowledgment of God and his word at the beginning and throughout the marriage. Men and women entering marriage should be as compatible as possible. Moreover, spiritual compatibility should be a requisite. In short, both should be Christians (I Pet. 3: 7, see also Eph. 5: 22-33). Many conflicts and problems occur because neither or just one is a Christian (Acts 26: 28). The expression "one flesh" I am convinced refers to more than the sexual. While they remain two entities, they unite in purpose. The spiritual is also seen concerning the nurturing of children. Children are to be brought "up in the nurture and admonition of the Lord" (Eph. 6: 4). Children are also to "obey your parents in the Lord " (vs. 1).
Headship in marriage. All relationships must have structure in order to properly function, marriage is no exception. The truth stated in the Bible is the husband is the head, the wife is to be in subjection, and the children are to obey their parents in the Lord (Eph. 5: 22-6: 4). The too common American family is in direct opposition to God's teaching regarding marriage. Marriage is not a democracy with all ruling, including the children! Alas, many men lack leadership abilities. They are growing up in homes where biblical headship is not practiced - even members of the Lord's church. More and more preachers and elders (role models) do not rule their own houses (I Tim. 3: 4, 5, Tit. 1: 6). In the case of elders, some local churches have become mutually ruled! (See Hebrews 13: 17.)
The longevity of marriage. God ordained marriage is manifestly permanent (Gen. 1, 2). In alluding to and reinstating the original marriage law, Jesus said: " what therefore God hath joined together, let not man put asunder" (Matt. 19: 6). "For the woman which hath a husband is bound by the law to her husband so long as he liveth ," Paul wrote (Rom. 7: 2). The only exception or contingency to the continuance of the marriage bond, other than death, is adultery. The innocent mate may elect to sever the marriage bond (his tie) based on the fornication of their mate (Matt. 5: 32, 19: 9). It is becoming more and more uncommon to witness forty and fifty wedding anniversaries. How sad.
Beloved, God ordained marriage, when obeyed, will work and will result in one of the most fulfilling human relationships known to man. Such a marriage can also spiritually enhance both the husband and the wife and bestow on them blessings which can not otherwise by enjoyed. (For detailed material, click on "Marriage, Divorce, Remarriage, Questions and Answers" also of interest is, "Polygamy and the Bible")