What is Marriage?
In just a few days I will turn fifty; a few days after that, I will become a grandfather; a few days after that, I'll celebrate 28 years of marriage to the wife of my youth. These events cause me to reflect on marriage, according to the Scriptures. The pleasant and fulfilling relationship God designed for man and woman. When I conduct a wedding, I talk to the bride, groom and audience about the question: "What is Marriage?"
How does the Bible answer this question? FIRST, marriage is an institution designed by God to fulfill the purposes of companionship and reproduction. God said, in Gen. 2:18, "it is not good that the man should be alone; I will make him a help meet for him." I remind you, God said that. In Matt. 19:4, Jesus said: "...he who made them from the beginning made them male and female." Since marriage is a divine institution, those who enter into it ought to do so with reverence for God's will. And husbands and wives should let their relationship be under the regulations of the God who designed it.
In the SECOND place, marriage is an intimate union. God gave to human beings the capacity for sexual feelings and sexual union. And then, He put that beautiful gift and privilege in the marriage relationship. There, in a legitimate marriage relationship, sex is good, moral, and pure. Heb. 13:4 says: "marriage is honorable among all, and the bed undefiled." Paul said: "let each man have his own wife, and let each woman have her own husband," (1 Cor. 7:2).
THIRD, marriage is a solemn responsibility of mutual dimensions. Here's what I mean: in marriage, as set up by God, both parties have responsibilities! It would be good for husband and wife (better yet, potential husband and wife) - to go through the Bible together, paying attention to the various duties God has given to husband and wife. In that study, here are some of the words you'll find: CLEAVE ... LOVE ... OBEY ... NOURISH ... CHERISH ... RESPECT! These duties must be obeyed - because it is right in the sight of God, and, in the best interest of everyone's well-being.
FOURTH, marriage must be regarded as a permanent contract. Now this is not the modern viewpoint! People all around you will walk in and out of marriages. Perhaps among your friends, you will witness separations, divorces and all the turmoil that accompanies those misfortunes. And, there are pressures and temptations that will beckon you daily. But you must regard your marriage as a permanent contract. God said: "for this cause shall a man leave his father and mother, and shall cleave to his wife; and the two shall become one flesh." And Jesus said this: "What therefore God hath joined together, let not man put asunder!" (Matt. 19:6).
By Warren E. Berkley
The Front Page
From Expository Files 4.11; November 1997