Marriage is an institution ordained of God. Accordingly we, as Christians, should be careful to make sure that we provide our full support both for the institution of marriage itself and also individual marriages. We remember in this how the LORD Himself was happy to attend the wedding at Canaan (see John 2:1-11) during the course of His ministry thus sealing His approval to marriage.
What is Marriage?
The pattern is set right back at the beginning of mankind when Adam has a woman brought to him by God and they are joined together as one flesh in the marriage bond; husband and wife together (Gen. 1:18-25). How they come together is not important; it can be a love marriage or an arranged marriage. But it is one man and one woman. Homosexual marriages and polygamous marriages are thereby outlawed by God.
Both parties enter into a covenant together and they must do so willingly. This pattern is seen in how Rebekah was consulted by Laban and Bethuel before they committed her to a marriage with Isaac (Gen. 24:58). Forced marriages are thereby not true marriages.
The way a marriage is legally sealed obviously varies from culture to culture, but for a relationship to be conceived of as a marriage; it must satisfy the law of the land wherever it is undertaken.
How Long Should A Marriage Last.
“Till death us do part” is a familiar line in the marriage service; it is also the declared purpose of God. Paul in Romans 7:2-3 affirms this. This is God’s ideal. Accordingly if a Christian marries they should always enter such with the determination that, with the Lord’s help, the marriage will be unto death or the coming of the LORD.
However, we all should know that we live in a sinful world where we fail. The scriptures have regard to this. In fact our LORD gives something of the balance in Matt. 19: 1-10. The thrust here is that we should not allow marriage breakdown to be accepted as the norm, but we have to accept there are times when marriages breakdown. Paul in 1 Cor. 7:10-16 similarly gives teaching in this direction.
When marriages are breaking down all attempts should be made toward restoration. However, we have to accept that there are times when a marriage is finished, according to a proper biblical evaluation. Nevertheless marriage breakdowns should always be a source of grief. And, amidst the inevitable heartache and concern over wrongs done and sins committed, we must always remember that for those who repent there is forgiveness with the LORD.
How Can Marriages Be Made To Work?
It is quaintly, but truly, said that the couple who pray together stay together. This reminds us that the biblical injunction is for a Christian to marry another Christian (see 2 Cor.6:14-18). If our spouse will not pray with us then that takes away from the strength of the marriage.
Men and women are different though, and they bring different things to the relationship. Put simply the man will determine whether or not the marital home is orderly and the woman will determine the atmosphere of the home. So you can have “warm chaos” or “well-ordered fridge”. However, what you should have is “warm orderliness”.
The man is called to loving leadership; not as a tyrant, but as a protector of his wife. The woman is called to submission; not through gritted teeth, but out of respect for her husband (see Eph.5). These concepts are at variance with the world in which we live. However they stand as the statutes of the LORD and we put ourselves in peril if we go against them.
Let us then support marriages. If we are married we should pray for the strengthening of our own marriage. And we should all be praying that married couples should be prospered in their relationship. Remember Satan walks around like a roaring lion seeking whom he may devour. He wants to devour marriages; let us resist him!
(Taken from Feltham Evangelical Newsletter of November 2004)