Being married is one thing, but being happily married is quite another. Marriage can be one of the most challenging relationships created by God and sometimes that’s because we enter marriage with unrealistic expectations. Many of us expect that marriage will make us happy. It won’t. All it does is make us married. It’s up to us to make our union a happy one. One of the best ways to increase our chance that our marriage is happy is to clearly understand how the Bible describes marriage and do our best to model our marriage after these Biblical descriptions. The following verses shed considerable light on marriage from God’s perspective.
And the Lord God said, “It is not good that man should be alone; I will make him a helper comparable to him.” Genesis 2:18 (NKJV)
If “it is not good,” it’s bad. This scripture tells us that God designed us to be better with a spouse than without a spouse. He also designed man and woman to be “comparable” or of equivalent quality. Equivalent quality means that each individual in the marriage is different and equally loved by God. God knows the plans He has for man and woman and that more could be achieved in a partnership rather than as individuals. To follow God’s plan, it’s important for us to make our decisions based on what is in the best interest of our marriage rather than what is in the best interest of either individual. The only thing more important than this sacred relationship is our relationship with God.
Therefore a man shall leave his father and his mother and shall become united and cleave to his wife and they shall become one flesh. Genesis 2:24 (NKJV)
The word “united” means made one. We are to be united with our spouse to strengthen the union and function as one. This certainly speaks to how we should parent any children we may have. “Cleave” means “to adhere firmly and closely or loyally and unwaveringly.” There is no other earthly relationship that is to be closer, stronger, and more unquestionably loyal than the relationship between husband and wife. Making our primary bond with our spouse can be particularly difficult if we are in a blended family because making our primary bond with our spouse rather than our children can trigger feelings of guilt and disloyalty to the children we bring into our blended family. But making our primary bond with our spouse is a key decision to help protect us, our children, and other loved ones from the devastation of divorce.
Marriage is honorable among all, and the bed undefiled… Hebrews 13:4 (NKJV)
Here God tells us that marriage should be held in high esteem everywhere and He instructs us that fidelity in marriage is His standard. If marriage is to be “honorable among all,” of course we have to honor it ourselves by remaining faithful to our spouse. Fidelity is so important to God that He tells us elsewhere in scripture that infidelity is a legitimate reason to divorce. Infidelity includes the physical act of adultery of course, but also inappropriate emotional attachments. Spending time in God’s word, praying for our marriage, and spending time with other people who honor marriage can help keep us grounded and help hold us accountable.
You have ravished my heart, my sister, my spouse; you have ravished my heart with one look of your eyes, with one link of your necklace. How fair is your love, my sister my spouse; How much better than wine is your love, and the scent of your perfumes than all spices! Song of Solomon 4: 9, 10 (NKJV)
“You have ravished my heart with one look of your eyes” describes flirtatious behavior between a husband and wife as good taking note of the intense physical and emotional reactions the husband experiences when he sees his wife. This passage also describes how the scent of his wife’s perfume triggers longing in her husband. God wants us to enjoy sex within the bounds of marriage. If you’re still not convinced of what God thinks about sex within the confines of marriage, read the Song of Solomon. It is quite sensual.
…submitting to one another in the fear of God. Wives, submit to your own husbands, as to the Lord. For the husband is head of the wife, as also Christ is head of the church; and He is the Savior of the body. Therefore, just as the church is subject to Christ, so let the wives be to their own husbands in everything. Husbands, love your wives, just as Christ also loved the church and gave Himself for it… Ephesians 5:21-25 (NKJV)
This is probably one of the most contentious verses in the Bible for married couples, but it needn’t be. If we do as the Bible instructs, our marriage becomes a beautiful love story. The devotion of a wife who submits herself and of a husband who continues to lift her up by loving her “just as Christ also loved the church and gave Himself for it…” is at the heart of a tender and sacred love story if there ever was one. One of our responsibilities to our spouse is to help our spouse become the person that God meant him or her to be. Jesus died for us before we were perfect. By this example, we need to meet our partner’s needs now, and not wait until our spouse achieves perfection.
There are many other verses in the Bible that instruct us regarding marriage. Take time to find out what God intended for your marriage and pray about it. Your marriage can always be better.