What Does The Bible Say About Marriage?

What Does The Bible Say About MarriageWhat does the Bible say about marriage? Well, the truth is that what the Scriptures teach us about marriage is far different from what modern society tells us about marriage. In modern society, it is common for a person to sleep with many different people before “settling down”, to live with a partner in order to “try them out” before marriage, and to divorce and end the marriage very quickly if it is “not working out”. But is that the way God intended for it to work? Of course not. The Scriptures paint a completely different picture of marriage. The Biblical model for marriage is for a man and a women who have kept themselves pure to join themselves together as “one flesh”. Sex outside of the marriage is absolutely forbidden and men and women are given specific roles to fulfill within the marriage.

So does this work?

It more than works – when you see a truly Godly marriage in action it is an awesome thing. But let us not get ahead of ourselves. Let us go back to the very beginning in order to understand God’s original design for marriage.

In Genesis 2:22-24, God created the institution of marriage…..

And the rib, which the LORD God had taken from man, made he a woman, and brought her unto the man. And Adam said, This is now bone of my bones, and flesh of my flesh: she shall be called Woman, because she was taken out of Man. Therefore shall a man leave his father and his mother, and shall cleave unto his wife: and they shall be one flesh.

God’s original design was for a man to leave his father and mother and to take his own wife and to start his own family. Marriage was always meant to be permanent and one of the foundational institutions of society.

In fact, Jesus reinforced this permanence in Matthew 19:4-6…..

“Haven’t you read,” he replied, “that at the beginning the Creator ‘made them male and female,’ and said, ‘For this reason a man will leave his father and mother and be united to his wife, and the two will become one flesh’? So they are no longer two, but one. Therefore what God has joined together, let man not separate.”

So how is a marriage supposed to function according to the Bible? In modern society, to even suggest that men and women may have different roles in marriage is unthinkable to many people.

But what does the Bible say?

In Ephesians 5:22-25 the Scriptures tell us this…..

Wives, submit to your husbands as to the Lord. For the husband is the head of the wife as Christ is the head of the church, his body, of which he is the Savior. Now as the church submits to Christ, so also wives should submit to their husbands in everything. Husbands, love your wives, just as Christ loved the church and gave himself up for her

The reality is that the Scriptures do tell us that there are specific gender roles, and one of the things that really jumps out in this passage is the huge responsibility placed on men.

Husbands are given the responsibility to do whatever they have to do in order to protect their families.

In fact, this passage tells us that husbands are required to go as far as dying for their wives and families if that is what it takes.

A godly husband is instructed to provide for and to protect his family in the Scriptures.  The husband is the one who is ultimately responsible before God for the welfare of his family. 

But if you turn on the television today, you are not going to see this kind of husband.

Instead, what you will mostly see on television or in the movies are sex crazed, beer swilling, irresponsible slackers who cower before their more mature, more responsible and more dominant female partners.

But that is NOT the Biblical model.

According to the Scriptures, women are supposed to let men be the strong, responsible and sacrificial leaders of the home.  Men are supposed to be willing to sacrifice their own desires and their own welfare for the overall good of the family.

But in America today most homes are absolutely dominated by the female.

The truth is that there should not be a male dictator or a female dictator in the home.

Rather, the Bible tells us that the husband is to exercise self-sacrificial leadership in the home by putting the needs of his wife and children above his own.

But how many homes do you know where that is happening?

Even in homes where mean are “wearing the pants”, they are way too often using that position to make themselves happy instead of serving their wives and children.

There are very, very few truly Biblical marriages out there.

Instead, unhappiness is rampant and many choose to run out and find fulfillment in the arms of another.

But God says that adultery in marriage is absolutely forbidden.

In fact, it is one of the Ten Commandments.  Exodus 20:14 says this…..

“You shall not commit adultery.”

Hebrews 13:4 is even more explicit about this…..

Marriage should be honored by all, and the marriage bed kept pure, for God will judge the adulterer and all the sexually immoral.

God takes adultery very, very seriously.  God always intends for marriage to be permanent, but Jesus instructed his followers that adultery is one thing that would justify divorce.  In Matthew 5:32 He said this…..

But I tell you that anyone who divorces his wife, except for marital unfaithfulness, causes her to become an adulteress, and anyone who marries the divorced woman commits adultery.

But God does not approve of all of the “easy divorces” that are taking place today.  In fact, the Scriptures tell us that God hates divorce.

For a more complete examination of what the Bible says about divorce, please see our recent article entitled “What Does The Bible Say About Divorce?

While many would view what the Bible says about marriage as “old fashioned”, the truth is that it works.  If all young men and women stayed pure until marriage and never got divorced, there would be no teen pregnancies, no sexually transmitted disease pandemics, no fear of getting AIDS from your partner and a lot less broken families.  The world would be a far better place.

But instead we felt like we knew better.  We rebelled against God.  We ran around and had sex with everyone we wanted to before and during our marriages.  We promoted easy divorces and watched the consequences.  Now millions of families are a mess.

The truth is that God knows what is best.  As long as we rebel against Him we will continue to suffer the consequences of our rebellion.

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  • Tony

    “for God will judge the adulterer and all the sexually immoral.” Does this include concubines which was a popular “sin” of jewish kinks in the old testament? How did they justify that?

  • Tony

    And Adam said, This is now bone of my bones, and flesh of my flesh: she shall be called Woman, because she was taken out of Man. Therefore shall a man leave his father and his mother, and shall cleave unto his wife: and they shall be one flesh.
    I wonder why the fall and sin is atributed to adam and eve disobeying God’s command not to eat of the fruit – didn’t eve sin before partaking of the fruit when she misquoted what God said to them? Wasn’t that a lie? If I say you said something you did not say wouldn’t I be a liar? Would you not say that I was sinning?

    • Sara

      Because God the man is the head of household, He didn’t give the woman the authority to make great decisions in the family. And Satan knew this, and that’s why he tempted Eve first, because he knew that Adam was going to rebuke him. That’s why now a days, there’s a lot of conflicts in our families, because women want to be the head, and the man is the head of the household, for God is the head of him.

      • Sarah

        I would add to that… as long as woman insist on being the head of her household, she will not be under the umbrella of protection as God intended. Also, there is only one seat at the head of the household and if she is in it, her husband can not fulfill his role as God intended. Ladies, do yourselves a favor and give that seat (gladly) to your husbands. There is so much freedom in that!

  • Caleb

    God did not voice the command to Eve. He told Adam they were not to touch the fruit and Adam then told Eve. Perhaps that is why the snake approached Eve and not Adam. And please tell me where she lied before eating the fruit.

    • http://whatdoesthebiblesayabout.com rebecca

      In Gen.2:17 God tells Adam not to EAT of the tree of the knowladge of good and evil. God never said,”you shall not TOUCH it.” Therefore Eve was wrong AND DID IN DEED LIE.



    • Evangelio

      Yes in Genesis 2:22-24 it plainly states that a man and his wife is one flesh. 1+1=1. You can look at examples of polygamy marriage in the Bible; Abraham, Jacob, Solomon, and you see why polygammy marriage aren’t right.



  • bob

    Shamar it says in 1 corinthians 7:2. its says let man have his own wife and a wife her own man, not somebody elses man, her own, which makes that statement a man should have one wife TRUE

  • Theresa


  • http://whatdoesthebiblesayabout.com/archives/what-does-the-bible-say-about-marriage Bill

    The bible state that But I tell you that anyone who divorces his wife, except for marital unfaithfulness, causes her to become an adulteress, and anyone who marries the divorced woman commits adultery. Does this really mean that If a man marries a women who has been divorced by their previous husband would commit adultery or am I just misunderstanding it

    • Besie

      Yeah you read right. That’s pretty deep! Marriage is not to be entered into lightly.

  • Michael

    Is sex outside marriage wrong if it is with the person you are going to marry? Do you have to get married to be married? As far as I know, you don’t have to be legally married to be married. If you follow what the Bible says about a married couple, how is that any different than someone that’s gone through a wedding? If you believe “Till death do us part.” “In good times and bad.” and keep with one woman, than you are married to that woman spiritually.

    • Besie

      According to scripture sex outside of marriage is sin. Before 1935 I believe you didn’t need a marriage license. Your vows before a witness was required and it was recorded in your family bible. A license permits you to do something that is otherwise deemed illegal, how is marriage, an institution ordained by God illegal??? The whole license thing in my opinion is man working a financial angle and the governments way of having control over you, your children and your property

  • Guess Who

    That wasn’t justified by God about the concubines.. that is why the scripture is there and what Jesus said after the fact, also remember Jesus came to tell the Jewish Priest they were preaching the word in the wrong context. Its simple and clear to see and understand.

  • Debbie

    Where does it say in the bible about wife is first after him. Does it say anything about friend over wife?

  • Miller

    I always wonder about David…”Man after God’s own heart.” yet also permitted to have more than one wife. Even when he was young and not yet king. He married Abigail. I don’t remember ever seeing in scripture that this was point out as being wrong??

  • Joseph

    look yall need to read colossians 3:18.. it says “wives submit to your husbands”that means when all HECK breaks loose we (husbands)have to answer to the SAVIOR of the WORLD OUR LORD JESUS CHRIST for not just us but the whole household. Women be joyfull that you have a husband to yell at when it all said and done with, we (husbands) have to respond to God in submission on our knees with humiliation and faith, if the man is a real man at all he will fer the Lord his God because that is what proverbs says the beginning of widom is (Fear of the Lord) then also realize that Proverbs 18:10 says “the name of the Lord is a strong tower the righteous run into it and they are saved.” Along with Lamentations 3:23 also says that Gods mercies are new every day.. Then the rest of that verse colossians3:18 says”as is fitting for those who belong to the Lord.” There is alot there also but I will keep it simple, if that person doesnt have a view of vision for Jesus Christ then they are not to be yous to be one with..Have to be equally yoked.. Now also realize that in order to be right in marraige before God himself means to do it at the standards of legal documentation required by law you are to have, but dont follow the wrolds standard of marriage but only desire Gods truth for marraige. See 1st corinthians chapter 7 for further details..I hope I helped and God Bless you ALL…….

  • Ester King

    If a man and a woman commits adultry, divorces their spouses, and marries each other, how is their situation viewed according to the bible?

    • Admin


      The Bible makes it clear that adultery is very, very wrong.

      And if two people commit adultery with each other, then divorce their spouses and remarry each other that is also very wrong.

      Just check out what Jesus had to say in Matthew 5:32


  • Mary777


    Marriage is a Sacred Covenant with God. It is a Holy Sacrament in the Catholic Church. It isn’t just something to do and a word to say. As mentioned, “The two become one flesh.” A man and a woman joined together in “Holy” Matrimony. Marriage has far more value / worth than this world has pushed it down to be.
    Why do you think that the break down of marriage and families is destroying this world? Look at what that is doing to children in broken homes. People get married on a whim or live together just because. Where is the commitment in that? Walk out when you want to?
    God loves us far more than we know and each immortal soul is more valuable to God than the whole world and all that is in it. Our life on earth is short and should be lived honoring Him who created us by keeping the 10 Commandments not the 10 suggestions. Fornication which is the term used when you live together out side of Holy Matrimony is a sin. God gave us guidelines so that we could be with Him for eternity. We all have free will to what is right or wrong. (shrug)
    There are many placed to go for information such as the Holy Bible. Or in the Catholic Church there is the Catechism of the Catholic Church that explains things more in depth. Or if you want you could go to a Pastor of a Christian Church or a Priest in the Catholic Church who have gone to Seminary for many many years and they could explain to you how and why God instilled Marriage to be the way it is.
    Dr. Scott Hahn a Professor of Theology at Franciscan University of Stubenville in Ohio has a lot of in depth teaching on such subjects. His Wisdom is incredible!!

  • stephanie

    I hope and pray for marriage to be taken seriously. I herd the divorce rate is higher in the church than in the world sad.

  • Kale

    Does it say that the man has to work?

    • Admin

      The Bible indicates that a man should provide for his family, but there are times when that is not possible (disability, etc.)


  • Heather

    What if the husbandis the one who commits adultery then divorces his wife. Then that wife remarries down the road.

    • Admin

      If the husband committed adultery the wife would be free to remarry.


  • Taj

    What happens when two people both have a child from a previous relationship (never married), get together, marry, and have children together? That is my situation and I am in desperate need of some bible passages/scriptures because our marriage is failing. My husband has to fight to see his child out of wedlock constantly, to the point that it takes all energy. The mother makes it difficult and does not want me around. Aren’t we one flesh?what’s next?

    • Admin


      Blended families can be a real challenge. I would advise for you and your husband to get some counseling. It is going to take a lot of work and prayer but a blended family can work.


  • http://Lilmadonna65@aol.com Leenia

    I believe if a couple Is in a sexual relationship before there were married then got married according to our laws. And the stayed married I think that would count as a liegal marriage in gods Eyes. What do I think.

  • Ryan

    It breaks my heart to hear of all the pain and also the misguided teachings and interpretations of the Bible. Our Lord and Savior did not come to condemn the world he came so that through him it might be saved. (John 3:17) Ask Jesus into your heart not your legalistic conscious. We are saved by faith that he shed his blood for our sins, and then by repenting from our sins. By his love, grace and mercy we are saved. Not by a Law. He did it because he loves us not because we deserve it by following a law. If the love of God is in your heart the truth will be in you and you will want to do right. Because of love not law.

  • Ryan

    I will also add that “For who ever shall keep the whole law yet stumble in one point is guilty of all.” (James 2:10). Thats is why we All need Jesus so. Keep his commandments because of your love for him and what he indured for us. May Jesus’ light shine on us all.

  • Anonymous

    Has anyone run across the idea that “sex equals marriage” primarily because if 1 Cor. 6:16-17?

  • Don

    God is very patient with us, HE only knows answers to all questions. The bible has been twisted in a lot of ways either to justify us or make us look more righteous. Yes the bible says not to “unequally yoked” but the same bible says in Corinthians 7:12-16 that a man may marry the unbelieving wife and she is santified and become holy by marrying her. Please explain this further, does this mean something totally different? Also, in the corinthians, it stated that “if a man behave uncomely towards his virgin and she passes the flower…” corinthians 7: 36 to be specific. I know someone mentioneddat that if you intend to marry that person you doibg everything with, is it a sin. I stand not to say it is right or wrong because no one really knows how our God operates, someone stamped as hell bound may actually be the first in heaven. I pray HE speaks to us directly. Important thing is knwing Jesus as your Lord and savior.

  • http://whatdoesthebiblesayabout.com/archives/what-does-the-bible-say-about-marriage Forever

    I know the Bible says marriage only lasts until we die. Why would God just have us be married for a lifetime and be cut off at death? Why doesn’t God want us to be married forever and be with our family?

  • Max

    That is the biggest load of ************** I have ever read. And this author trying to romanticize the meaning behind the ridiculous subjugation of a woman and the bigotry of a homosexual. So yes women be submissive to your husband. Stay in that kitchen and cook and clean while I get to do what ever I please. These are crazy stories a bunch of Bronze Age cave dwellers came up with to try and explain science and control society. And we will never progress and evolve into the amazing creatures we are capable of being when billions of people believe this garbage. Think people!!!!

  • guest

    The word is right all by it self, you choose max & ryan