What 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.