God’s View Of Marriage
Marriage is a divine institution established by God for our good. Yet, we find it to be a most puzzling phenomenon. On one hand, there are multitudes that cannot wait to get into marriage, while on the other hand, there are many who desperately want to get out of it.
One of the most intimate and difficult of all human relationships is that of marriage. It can be the most gratifying and fulfilling of all relationships but at the same time it can also be one of the most frustrating. It is not to be leapt into, but entered with steps of solemn deliberation. Marriage is the rock on which the family is built. The family, in turn, provides the rock on which society rests its foundation.
Socrates told his students, “By all means marry. If you get a good wife, it is well and good; you would be a blessed man. But if you get a bad wife, don’t worry – You will become a philosopher.” The only real way to understand God’s view of marriage is to look back into the first marriage as recorded in the Bible. We understand from Genesis 2:18-24 that marriage was desired and designed by God.
i) Marriage is Desired by God
a) For Human Pleasure
God saw all that he had made, and behold, ‘It was very good.’ But concerning only one thing, he said ‘It was not good.’ Then the Lord God said, “It is not good for the man to be alone; I will make him a helper suitable for him.” (Gen. 1:31; 2:18). Actually Adam was not really alone. There were many animals and living creatures, but he could not have a soul-satisfying communion with them. “… But for Adam there was not found a helper suitable for him.” (Gen. 2: 20).
The word ‘helper’ or ‘helpmate’ is derived from two Hebrew words meaning ‘a help’ and ‘agreeing to him.’ Woman was created to be a helper suitable for man, compatible with him-spiritually, mentally, emotionally, and physically. She is his complement, providing what he lacks and fulfilling his potential.
She is a part of him. In fact, she has a part of him, and man is incomplete until he gets that part back in the person of a wife. Does this mean that singleness is wrong? No, but singleness can only be practiced when a person has the divinely bestowed gift of celibacy. The Bible teaches that celibacy is a special gift from God that is sometimes bestowed on a man or a woman, when the single status would permit him or her to be more effective in the service of Jesus Christ (Matt. 19:11, 12).
So, a woman is a part of man and has a part of him. We must take note as to which part of man God used to make her. He took a rib out of Adam and made the beautiful Madame. St. Augustine wrote, “If God had meant woman to rule over man, he would have taken her out of Adam’s head. If he had designed her to be man’s slave, he would have taken her out of his feet. But God took woman out of man’s side, for he made her to be a helpmeet and an equal to him.” A man’s wife is his partner, not his property.
b) For Human Partnership
When God brought Eve to Adam, he 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.” God responded by saying, “For this cause a man shall leave his father and mother and cleave to his wife; and they shall become one flesh.” (Gen. 2:23,24).
Marriage is the beginning, not the end. It is a new life together with new decisions to make, new relatives and in-laws to know, new intimacies to enjoy, new responsibilities to share, and new friends to make. It is a fusing of two lives, a meeting of two paths, of two streams running into one river.
c) For Human Parenthood
God blessed them and said to them, “Be fruitful and multiply…” (Gen. 1:28).
ii) Marriage is Designed by God
Designed by God marriage is for His glory and for the exhibition of His purposes of love on earth. In this world, the most advanced ideal of marriage is expressed by the word ‘togetherness.’ But a Christian marriage is expressed by the word ‘oneness.’ The goal of marriage is a relationship of oneness. The Bible teaches us that this relationship offers two elements which are absolutely essential if we are to live as God intended: a) the security of being truly loved and accepted and b) the significance of making a substantial, lasting, positive impact on another person.
We should be careful not to allow this relationship to be characterised by our feelings. We do not need to feel secure or significant in order to function, as we should. I may not feel worthy or accepted, but I am still responsible to believe God’s word, which assures us that in Christ we are both secure in his love and significant in his plan. A wife who feels desperately insecure is quite capable of giving herself fully to her husband, if she believes that she is secure in Christ. A husband who feels threatened by his wife’s rejection is responsible for lovingly accepting her, because he can believe that he is a worthwhile Christian regardless of his wife’s response.
Our goal as marriage partners must be to minister to each other. “Marriage is a relationship that begins when you sink in his arms, and continues with your arms in the sink.” Robert. C. Savage. The usual saying is, ‘she seems made for me.’ The better way of saying it would be ‘she seems to be meant for me.’ This would better express the Christian conviction that one has found God’s will. A Christian should know the purpose of God in his marriage. Success in marriage is more than finding the right person; it is becoming the right person.