Author: Ron Graham
What God Says About Marriage
—Part 2, The permanency of marriage
We continue to look at what God says about marriage. One of the most emphatic things he says about marriage, is that marriage is for life. Nothing but death should separate the married man and woman.
Divorce and remarriage were common in Jesus’s day. He did not approve. The story of Jesus and the woman at the well illustrates his attitude (John 4:5-18).
1 A Marriage Should Last As Long As Both Live
Only the death of one partner should dissolve a marriage and free the other to remarry. The widow or widower can of course remarry whenever they feel ready, because death has dissolved the marriage (1Corinthians 7:39).
Nobody Should Break Up a Marriage
Jesus said, "What God has joined together, let not man put asunder" (Matthew 19:6).
When man does what only death is supposed to do, that is a bad thing. It is never right, and never the will of God, that a marriage is dissolved by anything but death.
When you marry, you are bound by God for the life of the one you marry. If that bond is broken beforehand, then a very grave wrong has been committed in God’s sight, and worse still, that wrong will lead to other grave wrong.
If your intention is less definite and less committed than what God has bound, don't marry. Only marry if you are saying in your heart, “till death do us part”.
2 God Hates Divorce
If you are already married, then you need to establish your intention to honour and preserve that marriage “as long as you both shall live” —divorce is not an option.
God has made it pretty clear what He thinks of divorce: "I hate divorce" (Malachi 2:13-16).
Divorce Holds Hands with Adultery
Matthew 19:9 shows that, when a person gets divorced and then remarries, the consummation of that marriage is an act of adultery —except where adultery causes the divorce. So either adultery results from the divorce, or the divorce results from adultery.
The only right course for the married person is to do your utmost to honour your marriage as a lifetime contract.
3 Love is the First Principle of Marriage
We now conclude our study of what God says about marriage. Of course you cannot talk about marriage without talking about love. The special relationship between husband wife cannot be established and maintained without a true and genuine love. It takes a special kind of love to keep a marriage strong. This love is the first or foundation principle of marriage, where the husband sacrifices himself for his wife, and the wife submits herself to her husband.
A Higher Love
- Not sex. Sex in marriage is a good thing, but it's not the love that makes a marriage strong.
- Not romance. Romance in marriage is a good thing, but it's not the love on which a marriage is founded.
- There is a far greater love. This is sacrificial and selfless love (1Corinthians 13:4-7)
A Husband’s Love
Many "marital problems" can be avoided by diligent obedience to one simple yet profound command: "Husbands love your wives as Christ also loved the church ...husbands ought to love their wives as their own bodies. He who loves his wife loves himself..." (Ephesians 5:25,28, 1Peter 3:7).
The Bible teaches that the man in a marriage is the head of the woman he is married to (1 Cor 11:3). The wife is to obey her husband (1 Peter 3:1-6, Ephesians 5:22-24).
The husband, however, must be caring, sharing, and self-sacrificing, loving his wife selflessly, just as Christ loved the church (1Peter 3:7, Ephesians 5:25,28-33).
The husband’s love of his wife determines the nature of his headship over her.
A Lack of Love
A marriage is likely to fail if...
- the husband demands his wife’s subjection to him, whilst he himself refuses to give himself up for her.
- the wife demands her husband’s full sacrifice of himself for her, whilst she herself refuses to be in submission to him.
Marriage is founded upon a husband’s Christ-like love for his wife. If the wife respects and trusts that love, she will be a happy wife. And we all know that a happy wife makes for a happy life.