A good number of people talk about marriage so much so that we are not sure anymore of what it is all about. We not only have a large pool of information, but a large pool of inconsistent information. In spite of all these, what does the Bible say about marriage?
Two things are definite:
- God instituted marriage. (Matthew 19:4-6)
- The Bible is God’s word, and therefore, His guidance to us on the subject matter. (2 Timothy 3:16)
Instead of allowing people’s opinions/experiences, fuel our minds about marriage, let us look to God’s word. Surely, it will address our concerns and fears about marriage.
Without further ado, here are 4 things the Bible says about marriage:
1. Marriage is beautiful
“Two are better than one because they have a good return for their labor. For if either of them falls, the one will lift up his companion. But woe to the one who falls when there is not another to lift him up.” – Ecclesiastes 4:9-10 NASB
If unromantic relationships can be beautiful, how much more the companionship between two people who become one flesh? Two people who have shared imposed responsibilities to each other.
Verse 12 of the same chapter goes further with the beauty of companionship, and I dare say marriage.
“Furthermore, if two lie down together they keep warm, but how can one be warm alone? And if one can overpower him who is alone, two can resist him. A cord of three strands is not quickly torn apart.” – Ecclesiastes 4:11-12 NASB1995
Please verse 11 is for the married only. Thank you.
Anyway, this is not to say that those not yet/who may never get married, are pitiful. Marriage is not the source of our joy. Neither is it the purpose of our lives.
The Apostle Paul never got married, and he fulfilled the purpose we were all given- the ministry of reconciliation. (2 Corinthians 5:18)
Apostle Peter got married, and still very much fulfilled his purpose of reconciliation.
Therefore, the purpose of our lives is Christ Jesus. Never forget that. The Bible says you can desire marriage. Do not be shy about it just because there are some who downplay the beauty of marriage. God created it, so it is a good and perfect gift from Him.
2. Do not marry a dead person
“For God so loved the world, that He gave His only begotten Son, that whoever believes in Him shall not perish, but have eternal life.” John 3:16 NASB
This scripture evidently points out that there are two types of people- those who have eternal life, and those who are perishing.
By reason of the fall of the first man, all were born in the nature of sin, hence death. Only those who believe in Jesus have received His eternal life. So why should anyone who has received life, choose to join themselves with a dead body?
“Do not be bound together with unbelievers; for what partnership has righteousness and lawlessness, or what fellowship has light with darkness?” – 2 Corinthians 6:14 NASB1995
While this scripture is not limited to marriage, it very much applies to it. Those who believe in Jesus, should not be bound together with those who do not believe in Jesus.
P.S: Anyone without Christ should be preached to. Don’t fold your arms and watch them perish. That’s not love, it’s the opposite.
3. According to the Bible, marriage is a union of two partners
There is neither Jew nor Greek, there is neither slave nor free man, there is neither male nor female; for you are all one in Christ Jesus. – Galatians 3:28 NASB1995
In Christ, there is really no gender significance. God sees Christ when he looks at us, because our lives are hidden in Christ Jesus. He sees two people in His nature, who have chosen to commit to each other in marriage.
Yes, 1 Peter 3:7 NASB says:
“You husbands in the same way, live with your wives in an understanding way, as with someone weaker, since she is a woman; and show her honor as a fellow heir of the grace of life, so that your prayers will not be hindered.”
Regardless of what we may assume “weaker” to be, it would not negate the fact that the wife is a fellow heir of grace with her husband. For that reason, the husband receives the instruction to honor his wife.
If you are wondering where the submission of the wife should fit into the above, I address that in the next paragraph.
4. The Bible instructs submission and love in marriage
“and be subject to one another in the fear of Christ. Wives, be subject to your own husbands, as to the Lord. For the husband is the head of the wife, as Christ also is the head of the church, He Himself being the Savior of the body. But as the church is subject to Christ, so also the wives ought to be to their husbands in everything. Husbands, love your wives, just as Christ also loved the church and gave Himself up for her…” Ephesians 5:21-25 NASB1995
Notice that before the directive for wives to subject themselves to their own husbands, every child of God already received the directive to subject themselves to one another, in the fear of Christ. Verse 21
So the husband and his wife are to subject themselves to one another, and then the wife is to particularly subject herself to her husband. Paul then tells her why she is being spotted out on this subjection matter; which is because her husband is her head.
It is the same in Galatians 5:13-14, where we all have the instruction to serve one another through love.
So while the wife is to subject herself to her husband, he is to do the same, serving her through love, as is the instruction he has received, first as God’s child.
Now let’s look into the directive of love, to the husbands. The husband is to love his wife as Christ loved the church, that He gave Himself up for her.
This is such a huge responsibility. Loving like Christ means to love to the point of death, to serve your wife- as Christ said in Matthew 20:26-28 “the Son of Man did not come to be served, but to serve, and to give His life a ransom for many.”
Giving His life for the church is how He loved, and loves us. John 3:16
The husband is to serve his wife. Regardless of the situation, or his wife’s actions, his response must always be love and service to the point of death. Does this mean loving is for the man alone?
Let me just seize the opportunity to let you know that “love” doesn’t mean “romantic feelings”. 1 Corinthians 13 properly tells us what love is.
Back to my question:
In John 14:15 Jesus said if we love Him, we would keep His commandment. What commandment?
“A new commandment I give to you, that you love one another, even as I have loved you, that you also love one another.” John 13:34 NASB
“We know love by this, that He laid down His life for us; and we ought to lay down our lives for the brethren.” 1 John 3:16 NASB
Everyone saved by Christ Jesus has been commanded to love like Christ. But 1 John 3:16 gives a specific directive- we have been specifically directed to lay down our lives for our brethren.
So the point?
The husband and wife are to love the same way, and subject themselves to one another in the same way. But as equal as they may be, there is a first amongst equals, and that is the husband. He is the head of his wife.From the definition of love, and His standard of love, which is Christ, the headship of the husband is not for him to become a bully, or become the Lord over his wife. Christ would always be Lord to both of them.
They are one body, and even one Spirit, but they have two brains, two minds, working simultaneously and sometimes in different directions. If they would be truly one, then they must learn to yield to one another- one more than the other. If you know anything about institutions and organizations, then you know chaos is inevitable where there is no specified/ delegated leader, who can break the ties, and who everyone can look to for direction.
The wife’s brain doesn’t stop when she gets married, but when it comes down to it, she must subject herself to her own husband, as he is her head. This way, order would be inevitable in a home. Please tell me you can see God’s Wisdom.
Side note: this is why you must choose UNCONDITIONALLY, whom to marry.
The husband and wife have not received any responsibility that they did not already have before they both got married, neither have they received divided duties; one to submit, and the other to love.
But the woman is particularly reminded that her husband is her head, therefore she must subject herself to him, and the man is told that although his wife is the weaker vessel, he must honor her. Honor is no joke, and I believe it was used for a reason.
Historians have deduced that in the time of the old, women had little or no social stand and reputation, which is why Paul had to remind the men that their wives have also received the gospel and are now heirs in Christ as well. (1 Peter 3:7)
For the reason of their co-inheritance, the women have acquired honor. Therefore, husbands must see their wives in an elevated lens. It was probably why Paul had to let the wives know that although they both must subject one to another, having become co-heirs in Christ, her husband remains her head.
I sincerely hope that this gives a balance to a lot of issues these days.
There are other lessons on marriage in the Bible, but I hope this helps to build a proper foundation on marriage. Do you disagree with some of my points? Please comment below.
If you have other lessons on marriage from the Bible, please share them with us in the comment section.
You can also read “Divorce and Remarriage: The Biblical Perspective“
Written by Kewve Ndakara