Thoughts on Marriage
In the beginning, God created man and woman for each other and instituted the marriage relationship as the bond that would unite them as the starting point and foundation for the family, which is the foundation for society itself. Since that time, man has introduced many variations and changes to the marriage relationship which, in turn, changes the makeup and understanding of the family relationship and society, too. Though some of these changes have long existed, they have not been for the good of man or woman, family, or society. As with anything God has created or instituted, no good will result when man changes [or tries to redefine] what God has done.
But if we have never known what God intended or did, we may not understand what is wrong or why it is wrong, and it is certain we won’t know what is right. Such is the case with the marriage relationship; man’s changes to the relationship, perception of the relationship, and redefining of the relationship have all caused some confusion about the institution itself, resulting in confusion about what families are supposed to be and how they are supposed to function, and what society itself is supposed to be and how it is to function.
For that reason, it would be beneficial to stop and consider a few things about the marriage relationship, especially as it was created and intended by God in the beginning. It is only by knowing what is right that we can identify and correct what is wrong. And if we are interested in pleasing God, we will seek to know these things, and make corrections, if necessary. So what does God’s word say about marriage?
The Intended Composition of Marriage. For everything God did before He created man, the record tells us that God saw what He created and “God saw that it was good” (Gen. 1:4, 9, 12, 18, 21, 25), But when God created man, and saw that he had no companion, God declared, “It is not good that man should be alone” (Gen. 2:18), and He then created the woman for the man (Gen. 2:21, 22). In case there is any doubt, the apostle Paul notes that woman was created for the man (1 Cor. 11:8).
Immediately following the record of woman’s creation for the man, God’s word tells us, “Therefore a man shall leave his father and mother and be joined to his wife, and they shall become one flesh” (Gen. 2:24). Let it be noted that this is the beginning of the marriage relationship, something God instituted and over which He controls and defines — not man. The marriage relationship is not something that ‘evolved’ over time and as a result of commerce and politics, as some are now theorizing; it is of God’s design and creation, and it is, therefore, within His authority alone to define and oversee.
As God instituted it and as God defined it, the marriage relationship is to be comprised of one man and one woman; that eliminates multiple spouses within the marriage relationship [polygamy], and it also eliminates same-sex marriage. Though the changes and perversions of this are not really new, they are not what God intended, nor are they approved of God.
The Intended Endurance of Marriage. Once, when Jesus was asked about whether or not a man could simply divorce his wife for any reason, He replied, “Have you not read that He who made them at the beginning ‘made them male and female,’ 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’? So then, they are no longer two but one flesh. Therefore what God has joined together, let not man separate” (Matt. 19:4-6). In answering the question, Jesus went back not to the Old Law, but to the beginning, when marriage was first instituted by God, and where His intent for the endurance of the marriage relationship is established.
Though we may not have concluded this from a casual reading of the passage Jesus cited (Gen. 2:24), His conclusion is, of course, correct and binding. God never intended divorce or any other means of ending that relationship; the marriage relationship was intended by God, from the beginning, to be a lifetime relationship. It was not to be ‘until we don’t love each other anymore’; it was not to be ‘until things get tough’; it was intended to be for life — ‘until death do us part.’
Man, as we know, wanted it to be different, and has introduced many ‘reasons’ to end a marriage, but God’s word is clear: “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” (Matt. 19:9). Though God never intended a marriage to end, He allows divorce, but for one reason only. [And that is not demanded; it is an allowance.] If a marriage ends for any other reason, it is not done so with His approval, and any subsequent remarriage should be strongly discouraged for the simple fact of what Jesus said would be the result. We can make all kinds of excuses and create all kinds of emotional arguments for why it should be different, but those words do not change and all the pleading in the world will not change what Jesus has said.
The Intended Purpose of Marriage. Though man argues and theorizes that the institution of marriage came about because of economic and political purposes, that is not what the Creator of the marriage relationship has revealed. Let’s go back and note what He has said:
It is after the creation of man that we find the record telling us God said, “It is not good that man should be alone; I will make him a helper comparable to him” (Gen. 2:18). This simple observation of God and the decision to alleviate the situation reveals to us one of the main intents of the marriage relationship: companionship. God saw that man had no one for him, so He created woman for the man (Gen. 2:21, 22), and then followed that by establishing the marriage relationship (Gen. 2:24).
It should also be noted that the marriage relationship demands the man “leave his father and mother,” meaning he must stand apart from them and they are not a part of the relationship that follows — when he is then “joined to his wife.” This relationship is to be between the husband and his wife, and should never be one where parents and/or in-laws are identified as part of the relationship. This is one of companionship, where God intended the woman to be what the man needs, and the man is to be what the woman needs. When God created a “helper comparable to him,” He was giving to man exactly what he needed, and created this relationship where two individuals [one woman, one man] work together to make each other complete. A good marriage and an enduring marriage is one where both parties recognize this, and are constantly striving to be that “helper comparable” to the other to make the other always feel ‘complete.’
If you are contemplating marriage, or even if it is a long way off and you are just beginning to think about or plan for what might some day be in your future, keep these things in mind. If you are already in a marriage relationship, keep these things in mind, too. This is what God intended for the marriage relationship to be, and when we fulfill our responsibilities as God intended, it will be a relationship that properly parallels that of Christ and the church (Eph. 5:22-33), and it will be a relationship worth celebrating. — Steven Harper