Marital situations that differ from the plan devised by God are nothing new. Society’s views on marriage have always been in contrast to God’s marriage plan. In the Bible, you see marriages like
- a man, a woman, and her property (a female slave)
- a man, one or more wives, and some concubines
- a male soldier and a female prisoner of war
These are variations of marriage based on the ideas of man, not God’s marriage plan. Just because people did something in the bible does not mean God approved of it.
Marriage, as designed by God, has a spiritual aspect to it. It is a metaphor for the more profound love between a human being and God. However, our sin and selfishness make it difficult for us to truly comprehend the wonder of God’s purpose for marriage. The world cannot understand marriage without divine revelation from God.
God’s Design for Marriage
There are six parts to this marriage design from God.
Marriage is a Divine Institution
And the rib that the Lord God had taken from the man he made into a woman and brought her to the man. Then the man said, “This at last is bone of my bones and flesh of my flesh; she shall be called Woman, because she was taken out of Man.” Therefore a man shall leave his father and his mother and hold fast to his wife, and they shall become one flesh. Genesis 2:22-24
Marriage was the first institution ever created by God. It is a sacred relationship that you make before God and then devote yourself to live under His plan. According to God’s marriage plan, when we marry, we enter a covenant. The relationship between spouses is established with God as a witness, making Him a part of the marriage. It takes a joint commitment to conduct your marriage as God designed.
Marriage Makes You One Flesh
Therefore a man shall leave his father and his mother and hold fast to his wife, and they shall become one flesh.Genesis 2:24
The bible says that a man must leave his father and mother and cleave to his wife. He is required to he leave his family of origin to unite with his wife, and thus creating a new family unit from what was once two individual lives. They give themselves over to each other willingly and are mostly concerned with one another with love and devotion. The act of sexual union establishes a new closer affinity between two individuals.
Marriage is for Procreation
So God created man in his own image, in the image of God he created him; male and female he created them. And God blessed them. And God said to them, “Be fruitful and multiply and fill the earth and subdue it and have dominion over the fish of the sea and over the birds of the heavens and over every living thing that moves on the earth.” Genesis 1:28 ESV
God told Adam and Eve to go and populate the earth. He embedded reproduction in the marriage covenant from the beginning, and it is still vital today.
Marriage Requires Male and Female
So God created man in his own image, in the image of God he created him; male and female he created them. Genesis 1:27
Men and women are different, no matter how some people may try to avoid that truth. The bible says “Male and Female he created them.” God created us that way because He created marriage to be a place where one partner would be able to offset the other to create one. Men and women are different and distinct, but they complement each other. Opposites attract, you know.
Marriage is Exclusive
Let marriage be held in honor among all, and let the marriage bed be undefiled, for God will judge the sexually immoral and adulterous. Hebrews 13:4
No other human relationship should interfere with a marriage. Jesus considered even lustful thoughts a serious matter. Marriage is for ONE woman and ONE MAN. You should honor this exclusivity even before you meet the one you will marry because having sex before you are married interferes with the exclusive claim your future spouse has on you.
Marriage is a Lifetime Plan
What therefore God has joined together, let not man separate.” Mark 10:9
God’s marriage plan is a permanent one. As in a serious commitment, or a solemn vow to your partner and God. Divorce is only biblically allowed in certain situations which we will discuss later.
How Today’s View of Marriage Stacks Up
In the Old Testament, it was common for men of the day to make their own rules concerning marriage, taking women to be their wives in ungodly circumstances. Today there is also a cultural distortion of marriage. We seem to be making it up as we go along.
Marriage is Only a Legality
Society has reduced marriage to a legal institution developed by man, instead of a divine creation. It’s no longer a way for two people to become one flesh, but something ruled by self-interest and a desire for personal freedom.
Marriage is for Any Couple
It’s seen as wrong to believe that a man is a man and a woman is a woman. We are led to believe that anyone can be anything and that any gender roles are oppressive and debilitating. With this watering down, individuals can become confused about what it means to be male and female. This confusion blurs the lines between the sexes causing confusion and anxiety instead of the freedom they crave.
Since part of God’s marriage plan was to create children, the idea of homosexual marriage does not fit into that design. Even the common observation that many homosexual relationships have one or the other partner taking on the opposite gender role shows evidence of the need for one man and one woman in a marriage relationship.
Man and women are different and distinct creations. However, the many strengths and weaknesses between the sexes complement one another. There are distinct roles and expectations for each in a marriage, but when those roles get watered down, people become confused about what it means to be male and female. The lines between the sexes begin to blur. Confusion creates a lack of security as neither partner understands what precisely is expected of them.
Marriage is for My Needs
Saying that it’s okay to have an affair or multiple wives if you feel like your spouse isn’t meeting your needs violates God’s plan of exclusivity. God spoke quite clearly when he stated in the Ten Commandments “You shall not commit adultery.” As far as polygamy, even though it is common in the Old Testament, it is not what God planned from the beginning. If that was the plan, He could have made more than one wife for Adam, but he did not. When the Bible mentions these forms of marriage, it usually results in a dangerous situation like favoritism, jealousy between wives and a decline into idolatry. You may notice that by the time Jesus was born, the Israelites had abandoned the practice anyway.
Marriage is Disposable
Many people view marriage today as a social convention that can be entered into or ended whenever it is convenient without care for anyone else, even one’s children. It is more important to many people that they fulfill their desire to be independent and self-sufficient. Even though it was so common that there were rules for it in the Mosaic laws, divorce was not part of God’s marriage plan. God hates divorce. It’s only allowable in individual cases such as when adultery occurs or when one partner refuses to stay married to one who has recently converted to Christianity. If abuse is happening, there is a legitimate possibility of permissible divorce after a separation paired with a sincere attempt at change.
How Do You View Marriage?
Marriage was God’s idea, and therefore it is not open to revision or renegotiation by man. People can best understand it and see its full beauty through divine revelation from God. I believe that the people who are part of the Church should educate both Christians and non-Christians regarding the actual plan for marriage.
Keeping trinkets around the house that remind you of your promise to one another everyday can make it easier to remember what a Godly marriage is all about. Maybe you’d like a sign like one of these in your home.
Are there areas of your marriage where you are living by the world’s design instead of God’s? Commit yourself today to changing your marriage mindset from a worldly one to a Biblical one and following God’s marriage plan.
Sign up for our mailing list and receive the Seven Mindsets for a healthy marriage workbook.