The Bible is equivocal on marriage and many of its passages serve as landmarks in the discussion of the subject. The starting point is the account of creation in the Book of Genesis. It describes how God created humanity from dust and breathed life into them. In this way, humanity was made “male and female” and was given the task of being fruitful and multiplying. Marriage is then presented as the natural union of the two sexes in order to carry on the divine command.
Furthermore, humans were created for a purpose, and marriage is a foundational way for them to become a complete and stronger unit to carry out this purpose. In other words, marriage is the blessing of God to help His people fulfill their divine purpose. Its purpose is to ensure the mutual protection, companionship, and spiritual growth of both husband and wife.
The Sacrament of Marriage
In addition to being a practical arrangement, marriage is also understood as a heavenly ordinance. It is an earthly sign of the spiritual and covenantal union shared between Christ and the Church. Consequently, there are not only practical ethical obligations to be taken into consideration, but also spiritual and theological commitments that must be kept in mind.
However, since marriage was instituted by God, it is only fitting that those who wish to embark on such a life-altering journey should follow the blueprint that He offered. In the Bible there are numerous passages that encourage couples to marry and nurture their marriage, as well as a large collection of wisdom and advice for those who wish to carry out God’s intention for marriage.
Here are some biblical keys to how to get married and make it last (or advice on how to grow your already established marriage).
1. Pray, Pray, Pray
The first step in learning how to get married according to the Bible is to pray for your spouse, for God to guide you on the right path, and for His blessing. Praying for your future spouse, who you may never have met, is a powerful and faithful act of love in itself. Put yourself in God’s hands and ask Him to lead you to the person He has chosen for you in His perfect timing. When couples come together, they must not just be in agreement with each other, but with God.
2. Seek God’s Opinion
The Bible encourages people to seek God’s opinion on every matter, and marriage is no exception. Thus, when making the important decision to marry, couples must bring their choice before God as a couple. There are at least three times when they can do this. First, they must pray together before their relationship becomes too emotionally involved. Second, they should take it to the Lord in prayer before they make the commitment of marriage, to ensure that the decision is based on the right reasons. And third, when they decide to get married, they should pray together and thank God for His faithful guidance.
3. Respect God-Given Roles
The Bible also commands married couples to respect the God-given roles of husband and wife. As stated in Ephesians 5:23, “For the husband is head of the wife, as also Christ is head of the church”. This means that the man and the woman should lead and care for one another in the way that Christ does for the Church. This does not mean that one gender should be “above” the other, but rather that both partners should be of a humble and servant attitude as they take on new roles in their marriage.
4. Purge Your Life of Sin
Getting married does not mean that you should let bad habits become accepted. Rather, weddings should serve as an opportunity for couples to make themselves and their lives more pleasing in the sight of the Lord. This means that they should strive to rid themselves of sinful habits, or be willing to die to them in their marriage.
5. Place God at the Center
The Bible teaches us to place God at the center of our lives, and that should include marriage. When two people of faith come together, they should bring God into every decision they make. Marriage is a marker of commitment, and making God the priority of that commitment gives couples a secure foundation on which to build the rest of their lives on.
6. Obey God’s Law
The scriptures provide a single principle for all married couples to abide by: obedience to God’s law. The spiritual regulations given to us are primary and must be followed. The Bible states that unbelievers are unable to stay in marriage with believers, and the same applies to couples who do not follow in the same footsteps.
7. Forgive Easily
Nobody is perfect, and the same applies to couples. As such, couples must always be prepared to forgive each other easily. This does not imply that one should keep track of wrongs and accumulate them; rather, it implies that wrongs should be treated in the same manner that God treats us: immediate and complete forgiveness taken from His abundant love.
8. Give Each Other Space to Grow
As the two spouses complement each other, they should understand the personal space each will need in order to become the most complete version of themselves. When the two can develop together and separately, the marriage will become stronger and richer.
9. Be Open and Honest
The Bible speaks of the importance of couples being open and honest with each other. This includes everything from sharing their deepest hopes, fears and dreams to being aware of the temptations they are being led by. Accountability is a significant factor in any relationship, and it is especially important in a marriage.
10. Persevere in the Face of Challenges
Finally, the Scriptures encourage couples to persevere in the face of any challenges or hardships they might face during their marriage. Marriage involves perfecting one another, and this might take time. As such, the couple must strive to maintain a long-term perspective of their relationship and keep walking towards their goal together.
The Other Four Sections
Marriage as a Covenant
Marriage is a covenant between two people in which both partners share a common purpose and live as one. Under the protection of God’s grace, a couple can work together to strengthen their relationship and build a family for future generations. It is through this covenant that two people can share in the joys, sorrows, and triumphs of life both individually and collectively.
Responsible behavior is essential to keep Covenant marriages strong. Love, fidelity, and commitment, should be the foundation of a successful marriage. In addition, couples should be aware of the unique roles and responsibilities that each partner is expected to fulfill according to biblical expectations.
Sex and Marriage
Sex is one of the most important aspects of marriage and is essential for a union to be legally recognized as marriage. However, it is important to understand that sex is not merely a biological need, but plays a fundamental role in the emotional and spiritual well-being of a couple.
According to the Bible, sex must be a mutual source of pleasure and satisfaction for both parties, and it should be seen as an important expression of love. On the other hand, it does not become mandatory for a married couple but remains as a voluntary act of intimacy. In essence, sex is a gift from God and when practiced according to His will, it helps couples to become stronger and enjoy a deeper spiritual bond.
Respect for the Marriage Institution
When two individuals decide to get married, they form an exclusive bond and must respect one another in the union. Since marriage is a covenant relationship it should be respected in society and by others. When we fail to respect the institution of marriage it becomes vulnerable to being broken by adultery, abuse, or infidelity.
Furthermore, God intended for marriage to offer companionship and counsel, such that couples are able to experience joy and comfort through their unity. In this way, couples should seek to protect and nurture their union, while always seeking the divine guidance of the Lord.
The role of the wife in marriage is unique and vital. The Bible prescribes that a wife should be submissive to her husband. This does not necessarily mean that she ought to obey every command that her husband gives her, but rather that she should live in harmony and complement his authority as head of the home.
The relationship between husband and wife should be mutually beneficial and based on clear communication. The wife should understand her worth and recognize the position of leadership that the husband is expected to take. This does not mean that the wife should allow her husband to take advantage of her, but rather that she should strive to work with him on projects, decisions, and their common vision for the family.
Honor the Marriage Bed
God created sex and marriage to be a haven of rest and refreshment. The Bible recommends couples to honor the marriage bed and consider sex as a time of sacred intimacy. This means that they should reject self-centered desires and seek instead a deeper spiritual connection.
Perhaps the most important aspect of honoring the marriage bed is avoiding lust. Lust is a selfish attitude towards sex and leads to discord and division between couples. The bible calls us to be consumed with a passionate desire for God, and out of this complete surrender should spouses develop a deep appreciation for each other.
Family Planning Responsibly
Family planning is an important element of a successful marriage and couples should bear in mind the responsibility that comes with this decision. As responsible stewards, they should look to the future with determination and prayerful consideration.
Additionally, married couples should be aware that suitable circumstances might require the temporary abstention from intercourse during these moments. This should also be seen as a beautiful opportunity to become closer to each other through prayer and fasting, as well as through activities that elicit mutual edification.
God’s promises can be trusted, and if couples follow His design for marriage, they can reap the many rewards that come with successful marriage. That does not mean that it is free of hardship, but that when couples remain faithful in obedience, trust and love, the rewards tend to be more abundant.