Regardless of your beliefs or culture, it is generally understood that marriage vows are not to be taken lightly. Marriage is sacred and the decision to get married is a serious and important step which needs to be given due forethought, planning and preparation. It may surprise you to know that in the Bible there is not a set of standard ‘marriage vows’ as such, and the marriage ceremony itself is left widely open to personal tastes, customs and cultures. The concept of marriage, however, is clearly defined in the Bible, and this article will take a look at six things which the Bible says about marriage.
Marriage was created by God
In the beginning when God created Adam from the dust, He saw that it was not good for the man to be alone. So God took one of Adam’s ribs and created the first woman called Eve. God presented Eve to Adam, and so this was the very first wedding ceremony where Adam and Eve became man and wife in the presence of God (See Genesis 2: 7, 18, 21-23). This tells us that marriage was God’s idea in the first place and He sees marriage as a good and wonderful relationship where husband and wife help each other to be the best that they can be. Seeing as God is the author and inventor of marriage, His presence within the marriage relationship gives the ultimate blessing, wisdom, guidance and protection.
Marriage is worthy of respect, commitment and faithfulness
As stated above, marriage is sacred and as such it is worthy of respect, requiring a deep commitment and faithfulness. Hebrews 13:4 says: “Marriage should be honored by all, and the marriage bed kept pure, for God will judge the adulterer and all the sexually immoral.” (NIV) This means that when you get married your spouse becomes your one-and-only beloved, and you sever all ties with any previous partners you may have had. Faithfulness in marriage is the foundation for trust and respect, without which it is impossible to build a strong relationship. Through sexual intimacy in marriage, two people become “one flesh” and that is why unfaithfulness of either partner cause so much pain, devastation and heartaches as that union is ripped apart (see Genesis 2:24). God knows that when both husband and wife make a commitment from their hearts to be faithful and to love and cherish one another, their marriage will be blessed and go from strength to strength.
Marriage is romantic and joyful
According to the Bible, the marriage relationship is meant to be full of romance, physical attraction, excitement and pure joy. One entire book of the Bible is written in the form of a play or drama between two passionate lovers, namely Solomon and his Beloved Shulamite . (Read Song of Songs) The eight chapters of this book describe, in beautiful poetical language, their love for one another and the way they find each other’s bodies attractive and irresistible! For example, Solomon says to his bride: “Your two breasts are like two fawns, like twin fawns of a gazelle that browse among the lilies.” (Song of Songs 4:5 NIV) And later on she says of him: “His arms are rods of gold set with chrysolite. His body is like polished ivory decorated with sapphires.” (Song of Songs 5:14 NIV) Another great love story in the Old Testament is between Jacob and Rachel. In fact he was willing to work seven years for her father before he was allowed to marry her. Genesis 29:20 says: “So Jacob served seven years to get Rachel, but they seemed like only a few days to him because of his love for her.”
Marriage is the best setting to raise a family
Children are one of the many blessings of marriage. God blessed Adam and Eve and told them to be fruitful and multiply (Genesis 1:28). A marriage between two people who love God and love each other is the ideal setting in which to raise a healthy family. The Bible says that we are to train up our children and teach them the right way to live (Proverbs 22:6). Children are to obey their parents, and parents should bring them up lovingly in the instruction of the Lord without exasperating and provoking them (see Ephesians 6:1-4)
Marriage is a representation of Christ and the Church
The Bible tells us that the marriage relationship is a kind of symbol or a living example of the relationship between Christ and His Bride, the Church. Paul the Apostle explains this in his letter to the Ephesians (see Ephesians 5:22-32). In fact he describes it as a profound mystery. Therefore we can understand that the love between a husband and wife who are living their lives in a good relationship with God and with one another is somehow a representation of the love that Jesus Christ has for His people. It is a sacrificial and unselfish love that is willing to put the needs of the other person first. This kind of love is also patient and kind. “It does not envy, it does not boast, it is not proud… It always protects, always trusts, always hopes, always perseveres… Love never fails.” (1Corinthians 13:4-8)
Marriage was meant to last a lifetime
When God created marriage in the beginning He intended it to last a lifetime (see Romans 7:2-3). Sadly however, due to sin and the hardness of people’s hearts, divorce came into being (see Matthew 19:3-9). The reasons for dissolving a marriage are many and varied and every one of them includes severe pain, suffering and heartache. The verses saying that “God hates divorce” (Malachi 2:14-16) are widely known and quoted. In fact, what God really hates is the sin, strife, hatred, violence and unfaithfulness that inevitably accompany divorce. With His help it is possible to experience the loving, faithful and wonderful kind of marriage the way it was meant to be. This will still include a lot of hard work and ups and downs along the way as you learn to love and respect one another over time, but in the end it will be well worth the effort.