For this cause a man shall leave his father and mother, and shall cleave to his wife; and they shall become one flesh.
What is Christian Marriage?
There is no marriage ceremony recorded in the Bible. In Bible times, a marriage was arranged between the
families, although it seems that the couple also had a say in the match. The groom publicly went to the
house of the bride's family and took her back to his own house. From then on, they were man and wife.
This public procession was normally followed by a marriage feast, such as the one that Jesus attended in Cana. At certain times in the history of Israel, God permitted polygamy, but this was not the original arrangement.
Also, the Israelites were commanded to marry other Israelites, not people from other nations around them
Deuteronomy 7:3 "Nor shall you make marriages with them. You shall not give your daughter to their son, nor take their daughter for your son."
It is well worth mentioning that marriage is not the only state for a Christian to be in, or even the most desirable (1 Corinthians 7). If possible, Christians are advised to stay single to be better able to serve God, but if they are unable to live this lifestyle, it is better for them to marry than to be driven by lust to sin.
Christians are told to "render unto Caesar what is Caesar's", which means that if it does not contravene God's law, we should obey civil law. Therefore with regard to marriage, as long as we are not put in the position of disobeying God, Christians follow the local format for being legally married.
How to make a good marriage.
If you have come to these pages, because your marriage is having difficulties, then I sincerely hope you will find the help you are looking for. If you are not yet married, then I recommend you also read our page on courtship or dating.
Putting God first in a marriage and recognising that He is the Head of the Household -
1 Cor 11:3 But I want you to know that the head of every man is Christ, the head of woman is man, and the head of Christ is God".
Once this is recognised, the marriage is off to a good start.
A Christian marriage is also blessed, because both partners should have common aims, goals, beliefs and standards, which is why the Bible says:
(2 Corinthians 6:14) "Do not be unequally yoked together with unbelievers."
If husband and wife are of one mind and God is in their marriage, then it can truly be said:
(Ecclesiastes 4:12) "Though one may be overpowered by another, two can withstand him. And a threefold cord is not quickly broken."More on making a good marriage......
More on marrying unbelievers......
What to do when a marriage goes wrong.
Christian marriage is for life.( Mark 10:9 "Therefore what God has joined together, let not man separate.") A statistic has often been quoted stating that in the UK, one in three marriages ends in divorce. You may have heard even more alarming figures. One things is certain; the concept of marriage being for life is one that doesn't hold water with many people today. There are many reasons why marriages fail; they are put under strain by financial, work or other worries; someone else is involved or people wake up one day and realise that they have nothing in common. Sometimes, violence enters into a marriage - either as a consequence of one of these factors, or perhaps as a result of drink or drug abuse. Can these things happen in a Christian marriage? Sadly, yes. But if we look at life from the Christian perspective, these factors should surely be less likely. "Neither a borrower nor a lender be" is not a scriptural quotation, but it contains much wisdom, nevertheless. Christians should not be swept up in consumerism or living beyond their means. Neither should they be chasing careers and promotions that leave no time for spouse and family. If Christians adhere to the Bible teaching, they will not become embroiled in adultery. If both partners are committed Christians, then they have shared beliefs and goals that should mean they will always have something in common.
But all this is easy to say, especially by someone who has never found themselves with serious marriage difficulties. What avenues are open to Christians who find themselves in this situation? Communication is the first step: prayer to God, discussion with their partner. If discussions are not possible or break down, then mediation may be the next best thing. Ideally, this should be with a fellow believer, who is acceptable to both parties, because they will approach things from a scriptural viewpoint. If this is not possible, then there are other mediators who may be able to help, but they may not be governed by the same goals and objectives as a Christian.
If it just isn't possible to remain under the same roof (because the spouse and/or children may come to physical harm), then God in his infinite mercy allows for such eventualities.
1 Corinthians 7: 10 "Now to the married I command, yet not I but the Lord: A wife is not to depart from her husband. 11 But even if she does depart, let her remain unmarried or be reconciled to her husband. And a husband is not to divorce his wife. "
But as we can see, this state of affairs is (a) a last resort and (b) only a temporary arrangement -
reconciliation should be the intention of both parties. Divorce, even in these circumstances, is not an
option for Christians.
Matthew 5: 31 "Furthermore it has been said, "Whoever divorces his wife, let him give her a certificate of divorce.' 32 But I say to you that whoever divorces his wife for any reason except sexual immorality causes her to commit adultery; and whoever marries a woman who is divorced commits adultery."
Being Married to a non-Christian
As the Bible says "do not be unevenly yoked to an unbeliever", a Christian should not marry a non-Christian. However, the Truth often finds people once they are already married, and a new believer can find themselves married to an un-believing and even hostile partner. But the Bible is also clear concerning this situation:
1 Corinthians 7:12 "But to the rest I, not the Lord, say: If any brother has a wife who does not believe, and she is willing to live with him, let him not divorce her. 13 And a woman who has a husband who does not believe, if he is willing to live with her, let her not divorce him. 14 For the unbelieving husband is sanctified by the wife, and the unbelieving wife is sanctified by the husband; otherwise your children would be unclean, but now they are holy. 15 But if the unbeliever departs, let him depart; a brother or a sister is not under bondage in such cases. But God has called us to peace. 16 For how do you know, O wife, whether you will save your husband? Or how do you know, O husband, whether you will save your wife? "
What a wonderful thing it is in those circumstances for a husband or wife to bring their spouse to Jesus.
What marriage represents.
Why is it so important to follow closely the rules for marriage, as laid out in the Bible? Obviously first
and foremost because God requires it, but if we dig a little deeper, we find that marriage is a symbol or
representation of the relationship between Jesus and his church.
Matthew 9:15 And Jesus said to them, "Can the friends of the bridegroom mourn as long as the bridegroom is with them? But the days will come when the bridegroom will be taken away from them, and then they will fast.
Revelation 21:2 Then I, John, saw the holy city, New Jerusalem, coming down out of heaven from God, prepared as a bride adorned for her husband.
Revelation 19:9 Then he said to me, "Write: "Blessed are those who are called to the marriage supper of the Lamb!"' And he said to me, "These are the true sayings of God."
So I hope this introduction gives you an appreciation of the importance of a Christian marriage from a Biblical perspective. If you have any questions on this or any other subject, please do not hesitate to contact us at The Christadelphians
The Dawn Christadelphians