The marriage institution was ordained by Yahweh the Almighty God of Israel at the creation of the world. Though there was no civil ceremony as we know it, that first wedding in Eden was nevertheless as legal a contract as ever there was: because the Almighty himself officiated and the angel host were witnesses. Yahweh’s own opinion about marriage was that ‘it was not good for man to be alone.’
|18: And the LORD God said, It is not good that the man should be alone; I will make him an help meet for him.
19: And out of the ground the LORD God formed every beast of the field, and every fowl of the air; and brought them unto Adam to see what he would call them: and whatsoever Adam called every living creature, that was the name thereof.
20: And Adam gave names to all cattle, and to the fowl of the air, and to every beast of the field; but for Adam there was not found an help meet for him.
21: And the LORD God caused a deep sleep to fall upon Adam and he slept: and he took one of his ribs, and closed up the flesh instead thereof;
22: And the rib, which the LORD God had taken from man, made he a woman, and brought her unto 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 shall a man leave his father and his mother, and shall cleave unto his wife: and they shall be one flesh.
|22: Whoso findeth a wife findeth a good thing, and obtaineth favour of the LORD.|
2. A Spiritual Model
Fresh from the Creator’s hand, Eve was presented to Adam to become his wife: to be his companion, his helper, his soul-mate, his physical and spiritual partner. But by far the most important purpose for their marriage was that it should prefigure a union still to come: the union between the second Adam (Yeshua the Messiah, Jesus Christ) and his future wife, the ransomed Church. It is only when we consider marriage with that thought in mind, that it is a living object lesson of the soon coming spiritual partnership between the Messiah and his Bride, that we will ever hope to understand its mysteries, appreciate its privileges and benefit from its disciplines.
Marriage, in short, was ordained by the Almighty to typify Yeshua the Messiah’s spiritual union with the Church, a partnership which is about to commence in the very near future and which will continue for all time. Understanding and living by this basic truth will pave the way to a happy marriage.
3. Marriage Is For Life
Sad to say the marriage union is not taken very seriously these days and marriages are being dissolved at an alarming rate. Nevertheless the Bible teaches that marriage is for life and once consummated can only be annulled by the death of one of the parties.
|1: Know ye not, brethren, (for I speak to them that know the law,) how that the law hath dominion over a man as long as he liveth?
2: For the woman which hath an husband is bound by the law to her husband so long as he liveth; but if the husband be dead, she is loosed from the law of her husband.
|39: The wife is bound by the law as long as her husband liveth; but if her husband be dead, she is at liberty to be married to whom she will; only in the Lord.|
No matter how the attitudes of people may change or what laws earthly governments may pass, the above divine precepts are still on the statute books of heaven and society disregards them at great cost.
4. Personal Duties
The Bible also gives us detailed directions as to how married couples should behave towards each other. I will take a few points from just one passage in Scripture: Ephesians 5:22-31.
- 22: Wives, submit yourselves unto your own husbands, as unto the Lord.
23: For the husband is the head of the wife, even as Christ is the head of the church: and he is the saviour of the body.
24: Therefore as the church is subject unto Christ, so let the wives be to their own husbands in every thing.
- 25: Husbands, love your wives, even as Christ also loved the church, and gave himself for it;
26: That he might sanctify and cleanse it with the washing of water by the word,
27: That he might present it to himself a glorious church, not having spot, or wrinkle, or any such thing; but that it should be holy and without blemish.
28: So ought men to love their wives as their own bodies. He that loveth his wife loveth himself.
29: For no man ever yet hated his own flesh; but nourisheth and cherisheth it, even as the Lord the church:
30: For we are members of his body, of his flesh, and of his bones.
31: For this cause shall a man leave his father and mother, and shall be joined unto his wife, and they two shall be one flesh.
32: This is a great mystery: but I speak concerning Christ and the church.
33: Nevertheless let every one of you in particular so love his wife even as himself; and the wife see that she reverence her husband.
Married couples who practice this advice will find their partnership a happy and beautiful experience: infinitely more blessed than they had expected. The secret, as we can see from the above passage, is for each partner to concentrate on the welfare and happiness of the other. This spiritual formula will, of course, only work IF it is applied by both parties. Selfishness by either party will wreck any marriage in the course of time.
5. A Team of Equals
Marriage is a team of equals. Their should be no dictatorial bosses and no slaves. In Genesis 2:18 we read the following words:
|18: And the Lord God said, It is not good that man should be alone; I will make him an help meet for him.|
That word ‘meet‘ means ‘appropriate, fitting, suitable and equal.’ In other words Eve was made Adam’s intellectual and spiritual equal: different yes, but not inferior. Men should, therefore, not delude themselves into thinking that they are superior to women, because they are not. Likewise, women should never imagine that they are smarter than men. Both viewpoints, popular as they are these days, are totally wrong and self-destroying. When fostered and applied in a marriage, they end in sorrow and tears. The modern trend on TV is for husbands to be depicted as blundering fools constantly being put right by their smart, efficient wives. This trend is slowly brainwashing the nation’s youth into thinking that this is the norm. It isn’t. The truth is that in some areas men excel: in others women take the lead. This is because each sex has been divinely created with different strengths and no amount of propaganda will change that biological fact. The sexes have been designed by the Creator to play entirely different roles in every field. They complement each other and should never compete. Married couples ignore these basic facts at their peril.
6. Be Faithful
The world is in disarray. Marriages are collapsing all about us. Almost every person these days knows a friend, neighbour or relative whose marriage is on the rocks. Why should this be? What has gone wrong with society? One of the main reasons given in the divorce courts is adultery. What has God to say about adultery? He says this:
|14: Thou shalt not commit adultery.|
|20: Moreover thou shalt not lie carnally with thy neighbour’s wife, to defile thyself with her.|
|32: But whoso committeth adultery with a woman lacketh understanding: he that doeth it destroyeth his own soul.|
The law that forbids adultery is one of the Ten Commandments and it is still on the statute books of heaven. Fornication, the sexual act between an unmarried couple (even though one of the parties is married) is likened to the act of adultery. (Revelation 2:20-23) Nothing is guaranteed to destroy a marriage faster than these two acts of adultery and fornication. I urge all married couples to obey the Almighty’s commandments. Failure to keep them will surely devastate a relationship; not to mention the terrible effect adultery and fornication have on the children and the awful punishment that will be meted out to the guilty on the terrible Day of Judgement.
7. Daily Worship
Years ago Scotland was known as the Land of the Book! In cottages, crofts and castles, the Holy Bible was read almost every day. The Bible made Scotland great: it fortified the faith and character of its people and directed their behaviour. Scottish missionaries compassed the world and taught multiplied millions of heathen the Gospel of Jesus Christ and the laws of Almighty God. But alas! the Holy Bible is out of favour these days in most Scottish homes. The prophet Isaiah and the apostle Paul give us this priceless advice about reading God’s word:
|16: Seek ye out of the book of the Lord, and read, Not one of these things shall fail …|
2 Timothy 2:
|15: Study to shew thyself approved unto God, a workman that needeth not to be ashamed, rightly dividing the word of truth.|
8. Be Equally Yoked
In the Old Testament we read that the Israelites were forbidden to marry Gentiles. This principle still holds good for all true believers; for it is carried forward into the new covenant where Christ’s followers are expressly forbidden to be unequally yoked with unbelievers.
|12: Now therefore give not your daughters unto their sons, neither take their daughters unto your sons …|
|30: And that we would not give our daughters unto the people of the land, nor take their daughters for our sons.|
|25: And I contended with them, and cursed them, and smote certain of them, and plucked off their hair, and made them swear by God, saying, Ye shall not give your daughters unto their sons, nor take their daughters unto your sons, or for yourselves.|
2 Corinthians 6:
|14: Be ye not unequally yoked together with unbelievers: for what fellowship hath righteousness with unrighteousness? and what communion hath light with darkness?|
The requirement for believers to be equally yoked (married to like-minded believers) is still binding: and most religious authorities will agree that couples who ignore this basic guideline do so at great risk.
9. Better to Marry than Burn
Millions of young couples these days set up home without getting married. It’s the ‘in thing.’ The beautiful and the famous are seen doing it: so the youth follow suit. But the point is – are these couples doing wrong? Is sex outside marriage a sin? The answer is: Yes they are doing wrong, sex outside marriage is sin. According to God’s law these couples are committing the sin of Fornication! They may think they are being ‘smart,’ ‘with-it’ and ‘cool;’ but they will realise on the Day of Judgement how foolish they have been. Concerning the many sexual sins that are gaining popularity these days the Bible says this:
1 Corinthians 7:
|2: To avoid fornication, let every man have his own wife, and let every woman have her own husband.|
1 Corinthians 6:
|9: Know ye not that the unrighteous shall not inherit the kingdom of God? Be not deceived: neither fornicators, nor idolaters, nor adulterers, nor effeminate, nor abusers of themselves with mankind,(homosexuals)
10: Nor thieves, nor covetous, nor drunkards, nor revilers, nor extortioners, shall inherit the kingdom of God.”
In summary we would say that:
- According to the Almighty it is not good for a man to be alone. That is why He designed the marriage institution: to give man a companion.
- Marriage is a spiritual model typifying the Messiah’s relationship with His church.
- Marriage is for life and normally may only be dissolved at the death of one of the parties.
- In marriage the husband should love his wife as Christ loves the church: even to the point of sacrificing his life for her. The wife’s part is to honour and obey her husband just as the church is expected to honour and obey Christ.
- Marriage is partnership of equals. It is not a competition between the sexes. Men and women have different roles to play in society and are qualified accordingly.
- Faithfulness in a marriage is absolutely vital. Acts of adultery or fornication are devastating in their effects.
- As a guide to a happy marriage, daily study of the Bible is recommended. Nothing builds a sense of responsibility towards one’s spouse better than does Bible study.
- Being unequally yoked with unbelievers is not wise. The Bible advises that believers should marry like-minded believers.
- Unmarried couples living as man and wife are fornicating. If this sin is not forsaken it will, like adultery and homosexuality, exclude the couple from the kingdom of heaven.
For further study see:
May Yahweh’s Spirit guide you all for His name’s sake.
Author: David B Loughran
Stewarton Bible School, Stewarton, Scotland
September 1996 … Reformatted: December 1999