recognize that a great deal of time, effort, and physical pain
are required to accomplish the necessary level of training, if
they are to perform at an optimal level. Sacrifice, in addition
to being necessary to accomplish what must be done, comes to be
equated with the goal. Carrying out the actions of commitment
represents the same value of marriage, and becomes satisfying in
itself. This is why people who value marriage can make sacrifices
for their spouse, without feeling that they are towing a ball and
TRADITIONAL MARRIAGE VOWS
"I (Groom's name), take thee (Bride's Name), to my
wedded Wife, to have and to hold from this day forward, for
better for worse, for richer for poorer, in sickness and in
health, to love and to cherish, till death us do part, according
to God's holy ordinance; and thereto I plight thee my
"With this Ring I thee wed, with my Body I thee worship, and
with all my worldly goods I thee endow: In the Name of the
Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Spirit.
remember those vows above on your Wedding Day?
Explanation of "plight" and "troth"
"Plight" here used means to pledge. "Troth"
means a promise of truthfulness, and is derived from the same
word as "truth".
What Does the Bible Says About Marriage?
Obviously, we can't cover all 500-plus verses, so we'll
just look at a few key passages. I hope you will read the
selected verses with an open mind and heart and if so; you will
see God's perspective.
Gen. 2:18, 21-24:
The Lord God said, "It is not good for the man to be
alone. I will make a helper suitable for him...and while he was
sleeping, he took one of the man's ribs and closed up the
place with flesh.
"Then the Lord God made a woman from the rib he had taken
out of the man, and he brought her to the man. The man said,
'This is now bone of my bones and flesh of my flesh; she
shall be called 'woman,' for she was taken out of
man.' For this reason a man will leave his father and mother
and be united to his wife, and they will become one
What Does the Bible Say?
Marriage was designed for companionship and intimacy.
"For a husband is the head of his wife as Christ is the
head of his body, the church; he gave his life to be her Savior.
As the church submits to Christ, so you wives must submit to your
husbands in everything."
"And you husbands must love your wives with the same love
Christ showed the church. He gave up his life for her to make her
holy and clean, washed by baptism and God's word. He did this
to present her to himself as a glorious church without a spot or
wrinkle or any other blemish. Instead, she will be holy and
without fault. In the same way, husbands ought to love their
wives as they love their own bodies. For a man is actually loving
himself when he loves his wife. No one hates his own body but
lovingly cares for it, just as Christ cares for his body, which
is the church. And we are his body."
As the Scriptures say, "A man leaves his father and
mother and is joined to his wife, and the two are united into
one." This is a great mystery, but it is an illustration of
the way Christ and the church are one.
The picture of marriage expands into something much broader, with
the husband and wife relationship illustrating the relationship
between Christ and the church. Husbands are urged to lay down
their lives in sacrificial love and protection. And in this safe
and cherished embrace of a loving husband, what wife would not be
willing to submit to his leadership?
What Does the Bible Say?
Husbands - love and sacrifice.
Wives - submit.
1 Peter 3:1-5, 7
"In the same way, you wives must accept the authority of
your husbands, even those who refuse to accept the Good News.
Your godly lives will speak to them better than any words. They
will be won over by watching your pure, godly
"Don't be concerned about the outward beauty ... You
should be known for the beauty that comes from within, the
unfading beauty of a gentle and quiet spirit, which is so
precious to God ... In the same way, you husbands must give honor
to your wives. Treat her with understanding as you live together.
She may be weaker than you are, but she is your equal partner in
God's gift of new life. If you don't treat her as you
should, your prayers will not be heard."
Some readers will quit right here. After all, "husbands
taking the authoritative lead in marriage" and "wives
submitting" are not popular messages in today's
But this illustration of marriage typifying the relationship
between Christ and the church adds further encouragement for
wives to submit to their husbands, even those who don't
follow Christ. Although this is a difficult challenge, the verse
promises that her godly character and inward beauty will win over
her husband more effectively than words.
If we're not careful, we will miss that these verses
highlight the equal partnership of husbands and wives in
God's gift of new life. Though the husband exercises the role
of authority and leadership, and the wife fulfills a role of
submission, both are equal heirs in God's kingdom. The roles
are different, but equally important.
What Does the Bible Say?
Wives - demonstrate godly character and quiet inner beauty.
Husbands - honor their wives and be kind andgentle.
Husbands and wives are equal partners.
1 Corinthians 7:1-2
"... It is good for a man not to marry. But since there
is so much immorality, each man should have his own wife, and
each woman her own husband."
This verse suggests that it is better not to marry. Those in
difficult marriages would quickly agree! Throughout history it
has been believed that a deeper commitment to spirituality can be
achieved through a devoted life of celibacy.
Clearly this verse refers to immorality in sexual relations. In
other words, it is better to marry than to be sexually immoral.
But if we elaborate the meaning to incorporate all forms of
immorality, we could easily include self-centerness, greed,
wanting to control, hatred, and all of the issues that surface
when we enter into an intimate relationship.
Could one of the deeper purposes of marriage be to make us
confront our own character flaws, the behaviors and attitudes we
would never have seen nor faced otherwise? If we allow the
challenges of marriage to force us to confront ourselves, we will
be applying a spiritual discipline of tremendous value.
What Does the Bible Say?
Strive to overcome immoral living.
I believe God designed marriage as an instrument to make us more
like Christ. What if God designed marriage to make us holy more
than to make us happy? Is it possible that there is something
much more profound in the heart of God than simply to make us
Can we lay down our own ambitions to love and serve our wife?
Through marriage we can learn about unconditional love,
respectful honor, how to forgive and be forgiven. We can see our
shortcomings and grow from that insight. We can develop a
servant's heart, and draw closer to God. As a result, true
soul happiness can be discovered, and this, I believe is one of
God's ultimate desires and purposes for designing the
covenant of marriage.
In 1 Corinthians 7:10-24
The apostle Paul confronts a provocative issue in the life of the
church and a major social problem in our world today: the growing
challenge to commitment in marriage that is represented by
divorce. In the United States, approximately every other marriage
ends in divorce. In California the rate is even higher; there are
nearly as many divorces each year as marriages. Love is praised
and espoused everywhere you look in the media, and yet it's
sadly lacking in terms of committed marriages. Unhappy marriages
are much too common, even in Christian circles.
Difficult marriage relationships and the problematic solution of
divorce are not unique to the twentieth century. We are repeating
the conditions that existed in the Roman Empire in New Testament
times. In the great cosmopolitan cities like Corinth, divorce was
very common. It was simple to obtain for both men and women, just
as it is today.
This entire seventh chapter of 1 Corinthians focuses on problems
relating to marriage, singleness, and sexuality. In verses 10-24
Paul emphasizes the pressures behind the breakup of marriage. He
is thoroughly familiar with the acceptance of divorce by the
Greco-Roman world, and he understands the temptations this
creates for Christian husbands and wives to take what looks like
the easy way out of a difficult marriage relationship.
These verses speak to couples today who are unhappy and
frustrated in their marriage relationships, who don't think
they can live with the conflict and difficulty anymore. I would
appeal to you, if you are a follower of Jesus Christ and you see
little chance for the survival of your marriage, to ask God, as
you interact with the word, to "enlighten the eyes of
your heart," in Paul's words. And if you feel that
you made a bad choice in getting married, then please listen to
God's word with special attention. And if you somehow think
that you could serve the Lord more effectively without the
bondage of marriage, then ask the Lord to teach you through this
inspired text what true freedom is. And if you feel hopeless
about your marriage, then hear His Divine word of hope, because
that is what it is: hope in hopelessness.
COUPLES ARE TO STAY MARRIED
Verses 10-11 give us guidelines for married couples:
"But to the married I give instructions, not I, but the
Lord, that the wife should not leave her husband (but if she does
leave, let her remain unmarried, or else be reconciled to her
husband), and that the husband should not send his wife
To husbands and wives, Paul says, "If you're married,
stay married." There is no distinction made here as to the
type of marriage involved, whether it was Jewish or Roman, formal
or common-law, civil or religious. These new converts in the
church in Corinth would have marriages representing every kind of
arrangement practiced in that day, every type of marriage that we
can imagine. It's clear that Paul is addressing his
instructions to marriages in which both partners are believers in
these two verses, because Paul never gave apostolic commands to
non-believers. Unbelievers don't have the internal spiritual
resources to obey the commands that God lays down in his
So that there is no doubt as to the source of this call to
commitment in marriage, the apostle adds the phrase, "Not I,
but the Lord." In Matthew 19:4-9 Jesus has already taught
this truth during his earthly ministry. In verse 5 Jesus quoted
the creation orders of marriage from Genesis 2:24: "For this
cause a man shall leave his father and mother, and shall cleave
to his wife; and the two shall become one flesh." Then in
verse 6 Jesus made some inferences for us: "Consequently
they are no longer two, but one flesh. What therefore God has
joined together, let no man separate." In answer to a
specific question that the Pharisee's had posed to him, he
went on to explain that God directed Moses to permit divorce only
because of his people's hardness of heart, or sinful
stubbornness. Divorce was established to guard innocent people
who were being taken advantage of in the rush to put spouses,
usually women, away. Jesus added that divorce was allowed-not
commanded-only in the case of adultery. Verse 9: "And I say
to you, whoever divorces his wife, except for immorality, and
marries another woman commits adultery."
Speaking through the Old Testament prophet Malachi, God
thundered, "...I hate divorce...." (2:16). Divorce is
contrary to his plan for us. It violates his good gift. It's
a rejection of his grace. But God hates divorce mostly because he
loves people and he loves relationships. He knows how foolish the
idea of no-fault divorce is. Divorce is always violent and
wrenching, and God hates to see people victimized by that. Jesus
makes clear that when divorce is allowed in cases of adultery,
it's only as a gracious concession to the innocent party in
an irreconcilable case of unfaithfulness. When the sinning spouse
repents before the Lord and before their husband or wife and
comes back, God can bring healing and reconciliation.
Again, verse 10: "...The wife should not leave her
husband." And verse 11: "...The husband should not send
his wife away." The terms "leave" and "send
away" are interchangeable in the original Greek for
divorcing a husband or a wife. Paul is not discussing here the
concession that Jesus made for adultery. He is only talking about
divorce for other reasons, even supposedly spiritual ones.
The language is very strong here. These are Divine commands from
our Lord Jesus, reinforced by Paul's apostolic authority. His
instruction to married couples is to face into the difficulties
and work out the differences. There are three imperatives of
faithful commitment that are very strong in those two verses:
"Do not leave," "Be reconciled," and "Do
not send her away." The apostle is not the least bit
sympathetic toward irreconcilable differences between man and his
"BLOOMING WHERE YOU'RE PLANTED"
In the last section, verses 17-24, Paul explains the general
principle on which he has built his argument in verses 10-16. He
generalizes far beyond the specific issue of remaining faithful
in marriage. He illustrates the principle with a couple of other
relationships: that of Jew to Gentile, with the big, divisive
issue of circumcision, and that of free men to slaves, who were
trying to be unified and live together in the body of Christ.
Paul makes the point three different times in verses 17, 20, and
24 what God's perspective is on how we should respond
to difficult circumstances. Let's read each of the principles
"Only, as the Lord has assigned to each one, as God has
called each, in this manner let him walk. ...Let each man remain
in that condition in which he was called...Brethren, let each man
remain with God in that condition in which he was
We could paraphrase these verses like this: "Do not be in a
hurry to change the external circumstances of your life."
We've seen the difficulties that these Corinthians were
having with their marriages. Some of them believed that if they
changed their marital status, they would be happier, more
fulfilled, perhaps even more spiritual. The phrase in verse 17,
"Let him walk," has the same meaning as the phrase in
the New International Version (NIV), "Retain the place of
life." It means the circumstances that you are in, the
external setting your marital status, physical setting, or
socioeconomic status. These three verses imply that whatever
state we were in when we came to salvation in Jesus Christ, we
should seek to function faithfully there without trying to change
All three of those verses talk about the call that we heard in
Christ Jesus to salvation, to new life. That call in Jesus Christ
transcends all physical circumstances. It makes them irrelevant.
Being a new creature in Christ has so radically changed our
relationship with God that we don't need to try to change the
relationships around us. The life of Christ is so transforming,
both to us and to all the people that we interact with, that
whatever frustration or friction there is in the difficult
relationships, God by his Spirit in us can ease and soften.
The challenge is to find contentment in Christ, whatever the
difficult relationship. The apostle Paul wrote to Timothy, who
was struggling as a pastor in a difficult church in Ephesus:
"...Godliness actually is a means of great gain, when
accompanied by contentment" (1 Timothy 6:6). It's
hard to be contented in difficult circumstances, isn't it?
And yet the call of the apostle is, in a sense, to bloom where we
are planted. God knows what he is doing in the planting. We
don't like to remain, do we? All of us envision how it could
be better in some other setting, some other place, or some other
marriage relationship. But the call in all three verses is to
stay where you are and see what God will do in the
Paul has talked about this issue of God's faithfulness from
the very beginning of this letter. First Corinthians 1:9:
"God is faithful, through whom you were called into
fellowship with His Son, Jesus Christ our Lord." His
faithfulness was at work when he first got our attention and
offered us salvation. That was a miracle. This verse tells us
that he is also present; we have intimate fellowship with the
Lord Jesus Christ. He is in the middle of our difficult marriage
relationship. Proverbs 18:24 says he is "a friend who
sticks closer than a brother." He understands the
difficulties. The issue for us is learning to trust his presence
and his promises.
"'For I know the plans I have for you,' declares
the LORD, 'Plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to
give you hope and a future.'" (Jeremiah 29:11).
"This I recall to my mind, Therefore I have hope. The
LORD'S loving kindnesses indeed never cease; For His
compassion's never fail. They are new every morning; Great is
Thy faithfulness." (Jeremiah 3:21-23).
God promises that every morning in the difficult relationship he
will be faithful to us, one day at a time. We can remain
faithfully committed to our marriages no matter how difficult
they are, because we can count on God's faithfulness. He will
give us his loyal love, his compassion, his merciful heart toward
our spouse, who is so desperately in need of the love, mercy, and
grace of God.
A WORD TO THE HUSBANDS
You have vowed to love and care for your wife, whatever the
situation, as long as you both shall live. Be true to your vow!
Excuses, such as being unhappy in marriage, no longer feeling in
love, not being loved by your wife, etc., don't cut it with
God. Devote yourself to pleasing God in your role as a husband.
Fulfill your responsibilities and with patience depend on God.
Often this will transform your marriage in a way that brings
glory to God. However, even if it does not, your obligation is
the same. Your endurance and steadfast commitment to your vow
will bring glory to God. Breaking your vow of marriage will bring
dishonor on God's name, giving "occasion to the
enemies of the Lord to blaspheme" (2 Samuel 12:14).
Are You Having Problems? Are you wavering in commitment? Are you
thinking that your marriage may have been a big mistake? Are you
becoming friendly with a member of the opposite sex? Perhaps even
attracted and a little infatuated? Have you "had it"
with the way your wife treats you? Or are you dying inside from
loneliness, lack of love, affection, acceptance, respect, or
understanding? Are you finding your wife to now be totally
unattractive? Is your wife not meeting your basic needs and
making no effort to do so?
God did not promise that your life would be easy and your
circumstances always wonderful. Sometimes we must suffer for
Christ, yet relying on Him, we can still give thanks in all
things and rejoice always. Don't allow your commitment to
your marriage to waiver. May you be found by God to be a faithful
servant - one who will be more concerned about God's glory
than your own happiness, and who will obey God and do your duty
as a husband, however difficult it may become.
An Unshakable Commitment. We should all enter into marriage
taking our vows very seriously and seeking to please God with our
marriage. Divorce should not be seen as a possible means of
escape. No matter what the problems may be, or how bad the
relationship may become, or how strongly you may be attracted to
another - purpose that you will keep your commitment to a
life-long marriage. You will not give up and will continue to
work at your marriage, weathering whatever storms may come. Click
an affirmation that will help you to weather the storms.
Marriage is . . . Commitment
Marriage is an order of Creation. Our Creator made man and woman,
displaying His full image only as both man and woman. Each made
for each other, their essential natures being complementary, and
brought into oneness in marriage.
Marriage is an intimate union to which a man and woman consent,
consummated and continuously nourished by sexual intercourse, and
perfected in a lifelong partnership of mutual love and
Marriage is the unity of husband and wife in God's creative
will, for from Him come the love and grace which enable them to
grow together in life comradeship.
Marriage is the sacrament of human society. Husband and wife both
share and perpetuate their happiness in having and rearing a
family within the sphere of their own love and mutual commitment.
Thus marriage is more than an end in itself, it is the means to
ends outside the married couple.
Marriage is consummated in intimate union by divine command from
God -"Go forth and multiply." It is an outward sign of
the inner commitment of love and oneness of being which is
recognized as a gift from God.
Marriage is a holy covenant in which husband and wife together
publicly witness their commitment, not only to each other but
together with God, that to the end they shall in unity fulfill
His purposes throughout their lives.
Marriage is "other-person-centered," with each giving
and renouncing for the sake of the well-being of the beloved
rather than in expectation of return. It is expressed through
service, not exploitation.
Marriage is God's process of making two people one. It is the
highest fulfillment of human friendship. It is a type of oneness
with God in spirit.
The true Biblical basis for marriage is commitment. Not only to
your partner, but to God. God says plainly "I hate
divorce!"(Mal.2:16) Jesus said, - "What
therefore God has joined together, let no man tear
MARRIAGE IS... "till death do us part,"
not "until the going gets rough." It is a
lifelong commitment based upon sacred vows uttered in the
presence of the Creator of marriage. It is not two people simply
living together, but two living as a team ordained by God for the
advancement of His glory in commitment to His will.
For the sake of God's name, your testimony, your children,
and to be a man of honor and integrity, determine that you WILL
keep this commitment and do all you can to please God with your
What sort of commitment should you make to your marriage? I would
suggest one that includes the following elements:
1) You will not seek to escape from your marriage;
2) You will not look for another and you will run from any
temptation towards infidelity. You will be very careful about any
interactions with the opposite sex that could possibly lead you
into temptation or provoke the jealousy of your wife;
3) You will work at your marriage to make it as good as you can,
for your children, for your wife and lastly for yourself.
4) You will not give up on your marriage, knowing God can change
both you and your wife.
5) If you do not feel love, you nevertheless, by conscious
decision, will decide to love, whatever you may feel. Your
actions and words will be loving.
6) You will confess past wrongs and work to make amends and to
restore any broken parts of your marriage
Love From Genesis Through The Revelation.
Men, it is said, don't know how to relate to strong women;
therefore, as women grow stronger, men withdraw. Centuries of
mothering have prepared woman for this choice. The ego-protecting
chauvinism of those who prefer the relationship were taught as
boys to expect combines with the woman's theory like fire to
Both the right and the left indulge in charges here. From the
left comes a self-righteousness about the capability for
intimacy. The right displays the stiff upper lip, the assumption
that suffering builds character and that marriage involves a
legitimate suffering. The issue, however, is not one's
capacity to make a commitment but rather the question of whether
one is committed to the self's agenda or should say; selfless
To those struggling with marital decision and to those living
with the consequences of their decision -- whether commitment or
separation, marriage or divorce -- the same words can be spoken.
Human relationships are not carried out in a human vacuum.
Persons unresponsive to issues of nature and God, the recourse
when suffering comes, the purpose of their life and times, will
find relationships difficult. Without commitments in these areas,
the self is not formed concretely enough to include an other.
Emptiness encounters emptiness, and confusion reigns.
If you live in a world of Myths such as "The key to long
lasting marriages is romantic love". Then you are wrong -
The Bible says it all: Romans 7:2-3 "The key is commitment
to God, romantic love is irrelevant to a lasting