1. Marriage is not a good idea, it’s God’s idea.
Marriage is more than a social construct—a concept adhered to by people in order to promote stability in families for the greater good of society (although it’s true that marriage does this). Marriage is of divine origin—it comes from our Father!
If marriage is anything less, then it’s open season for social engineering and the like. But if it’s from God, then rather than trying to change the marriage relationship to solve our problems, we need to change ourselves. This calls for high character, but if we start with anything less than the bedrock truth that marriage is from above, we will be building on a faulty foundation.
2. We were created for marriage.
Genesis 2:18 (“It is not good for man to be alone”) states the general truth of the matter although there are exceptions (see Matthew 19:11-12; 1 Corinthians 7:7). Still, they are just that—exceptions. Genesis 2 makes it clear that there was something of great significance missing in Adam’s life. He demonstrated his dominion over the animals by naming them and though there seems to be possibly something relational there (think of people with their pets), “no suitable helper was found” (v. 20). Then God through his grace provided for Adam what he was unable to give himself.
However, God doesn’t just create a woman and present her to Adam. He created a woman from Adam’s body. From one, He made two! Then God presented the woman to Adam and spoke of how a man would be “united to his wife, and they would become one flesh” (v. 24). From one He made two, so that He could bring them back together as one in marriage. This is magnificently more than a social construct! This is a creation truth and like all such truths, we ignore them to our peril. We were made for marriage!
3. Marriage is a glorious gift from God.
Just listen to Adam when he sees his bride:
This is now bone of my bones
and flesh of my flesh;
she shall be called ‘woman,’
for she was taken out of man. (Genesis 2:23)
Unfortunately, marriage as a glorious gift from God is not a widely perceived or appreciated reality. The truth of our times is that marriage is a fuzzy word that means different things to different people. Some view it as a cultural relic that restricts their freedom (no matter how beneficial it might be). Others look at it casually—it’s not a big deal either way and if any kind of problem arises, you can bail on the relationship. It’s treated very much like a consumer item. Then there are those who view marriage strictly from a pragmatic legal/financial viewpoint—is it to their advantage or disadvantage to marry? There are others who have been mistreated and suffered abuse in a relationship or marriage. To them, marriage might be viewed from a PTSD perspective. You see how the word has many different contexts.
In contrast to these is the ideal of marriage—what God created it to be. We all know people (or at least I hope we do), who have glorious marriages. They’re not perfect of course, but they’re rich in depth and radiant with joy. We know people who have been married for a lifetime and their oneness is such that you couldn’t imagine them not being together. This is what our Father had in mind when He created marriage.
4. It involves a man and a woman.
Calling the color blue “red” doesn’t it make it red. Since the dawn of civilization, the word “marriage” has meant a relationship between a man and a woman. This was its meaning in all societies and cultures. Even among the Greeks and Romans, where same sex relationships were not uncommon, no one ever dreamed of calling those relationships a marriage or of people of the same sex marrying.
That being so, what in the name of cultural hubris makes us think that we have somehow arrived at a stage of enlightenment that all previous societies and cultures somehow missed? Has there been some new discovery? No. Has human nature changed? No. Then shouldn’t it bother us that five people (the number of justices ruling in favor of it) can overturn the practice of all previous civilizations?
The Scripture entertains no such folly. While it realistically presents marriage in less than ideal circumstances (polygamy, concubines, divorce, etc.), it never backs off from what it can be or what it is (between a man and a woman). What it does do is to pull back the curtain so that we are able to see that not only does marriage between a man and a woman go as far back as we can historically trace it, it has been this way since the beginning. It was part of God’s creative intent and woven into the creation of man and woman.
5. The goal of marriage is oneness.
Genesis 2:24 says, “This is why a man leaves his father and mother and is united to his wife, and they become one flesh.” A man leaves the oneness of the family he grew up in to be united to his wife and begin their own family. This oneness between husbands and wives embraces many dimensions: it is spiritual, physical, emotional, sexual, legal, etc. It is the oneness of love and it reflects the Godhead’s oneness (John 17:20-21; 1 Corinthians 11:3). This oneness of love helps us to better understand Christ’s relationship with the church (Ephesians 5:22-33).
6. God has roles and rules for marriage.
And why would anyone be surprised by this? Given the importance of marriage, we wouldn’t expect God to simply say, “Well, here is this great blessing—use it in whatever way suits you.” Is that what we say to our children when we bless them with something of great value?
In regard to different roles, it’s worth noting that God created Adam and Eve differently. 1) He created them at different times, 2) He created Adam from the dust of the earth and Eve from the rib of Adam, and 3) He created them with different purposes. They both are to bear His image before the world and universe, but Eve was created to be a “helper” to Adam (v. 20; 1 Corinthians 11:9). Paul also says there that, “The head of the woman is man” and that “woman is the glory of man” (v. 3, 7).
But these truths do not exist in a husband-wife vacuum, they are connected to the Father and the Son. In 1 Corinthians 11, Paul speaks of God being the head of Christ, Christ is the head of man, and man is the head of woman (v. 3). There is a clear hierarchy here and woman bears the same relationship to man that Jesus does to God. In Ephesians 5, a parallel is made between the husband-wife relationship and the relationship between Christ and the church (v. 22-24). The husband is to love his wife in the sacrificial, self-giving manner that Jesus loves the church (v. 25ff).
All of this is to say that to view the different roles of man and woman from simply an authoritarian paradigm is to significantly miss the truth that their different roles encompass profound spiritual realities beyond themselves. It’s like saying Beethoven’s Fifth is just another song, Michelangelo’s David is just another statue, or the Bible is just another book.
7. The sexual relationship is intended by God to be exclusive to marriage.
Yes, there are plenty who will laugh and mock such a statement, but they will not build a better world through their ridicule or their failure to adopt such a standard. Marriage is meant by God to be a unique, covenant relationship between a husband and wife. Their sexual union is an expression and celebration of their intimacy and oneness. A society that honors God’s principles will produce marriages that are healthy and families where stability and security are experienced. When sexual anarchy is practiced, a lust-driven world of infidelity, STD’s, unwanted pregnancies, abortions, and fractured families are left in the wake.
Sexual brokenness doesn’t begin with same sex attraction, transgenderism, bisexuality, or whatever the latest form of sexual confusion might be. That’s the second wave. The first wave is what has already been normalized by our culture: the sexualization of everything and everybody through movies, music, and social media, pornography, promiscuity, abortion, and adultery. In short, the failure to honor marriage (Hebrews 13:4).
8. Sexual sins are sins against our own body. (1 Corinthians 6:18)
In the sexual act, a husband and wife physically express the unity and oneness of their marriage (and expressing such unity and one is part of reflecting God’s image). Their bodies were specifically designed to do this. Consequently, joining your body to someone not your spouse is a sin against what your body was designed for. There’s nothing to suggest that sexual sins are worse that other sins, but they do distort the body’s creative design and purpose.