Marriage is a lifelong relationship between a man and a woman, blessed by God. Marriage is a covenant of love, fidelity and unity in which man and woman become one. In marriage, the husband is called upon to love his wife, and the wife to submit to and respect her husband. Sex is a natural part of marriage, but must not occur before, outside or after marriage. The only two permissible grounds for divorce in the Bible are if one of the spouses has been unfaithful or if one of the spouses is not a Christian and for that reason wants to separate. Since marriage is not a human invention but instituted by God, God counts two people as still married if they have divorced each other for non-legitimate reasons. Since they are still married in God’s eyes, they are committing adultery against each other if they marry someone new, and instead of divorce, God wants the married to reconcile and forgive each other. But if one of the spouses dies or if they are divorced for valid reasons, it is okay to remarry.
“18Then the Lord God said, “It is not good that the man should be alone; I will make him a helper fit for him.” … 21So the Lord God caused a deep sleep to fall upon the man, and while he slept took one of his ribs and closed up its place with flesh. 22And the rib that the Lord God had taken from the man he made into a woman and brought her to the man. 23Then the man said, “This at last is bone of my bones and flesh of my flesh; she shall be called Woman, because she was taken out of Man.” 24Therefore a man shall leave his father and his mother and hold fast to his wife, and they shall become one flesh.” (Ge 2:18, Ge 2:21–24)
“16To the woman he said, “I will surely multiply your pain in childbearing; in pain you shall bring forth children. Your desire shall be contrary to your husband, but he shall rule over you.”” (Ge 3:16)
“21submitting to one another out of reverence for Christ. 22Wives, submit to your own husbands, as to the Lord. 23For the husband is the head of the wife even as Christ is the head of the church, his body, and is himself its Savior. 24Now as the church submits to Christ, so also wives should submit in everything to their husbands. 25Husbands, love your wives, as Christ loved the church and gave himself up for her, 26that he might sanctify her, having cleansed her by the washing of water with the word, 27so that he might present the church to himself in splendor, without spot or wrinkle or any such thing, that she might be holy and without blemish. 28In the same way husbands should love their wives as their own bodies. He who loves his wife loves himself. 29For no one ever hated his own flesh, but nourishes and cherishes it, just as Christ does the church, 30because we are members of his body. 31“Therefore a man shall leave his father and mother and hold fast to his wife, and the two shall become one flesh.” 32This mystery is profound, and I am saying that it refers to Christ and the church. 33However, let each one of you love his wife as himself, and let the wife see that she respects her husband.” (Eph 5:21–33)
“4For the wife does not have authority over her own body, but the husband does. Likewise the husband does not have authority over his own body, but the wife does. 5Do not deprive one another, except perhaps by agreement for a limited time, that you may devote yourselves to prayer; but then come together again, so that Satan may not tempt you because of your lack of self-control.” (1 Co 7:4–5)
“28There is neither Jew nor Greek, there is neither slave nor free, there is no male and female, for you are all one in Christ Jesus.” (Ga 3:28)
“3And Pharisees came up to him and tested him by asking, “Is it lawful to divorce one’s wife for any cause?” 4He answered, “Have you not read that he who created them from the beginning made them male and female, 5and said, ‘Therefore a man shall leave his father and his mother and hold fast to his wife, and the two shall become one flesh’? 6So they are no longer two but one flesh. What therefore God has joined together, let not man separate.” 7They said to him, “Why then did Moses command one to give a certificate of divorce and to send her away?” 8He said to them, “Because of your hardness of heart Moses allowed you to divorce your wives, but from the beginning it was not so. 9And I say to you: whoever divorces his wife, except for sexual immorality, and marries another, commits adultery.” 10The disciples said to him, “If such is the case of a man with his wife, it is better not to marry.” 11But he said to them, “Not everyone can receive this saying, but only those to whom it is given. 12For there are eunuchs who have been so from birth, and there are eunuchs who have been made eunuchs by men, and there are eunuchs who have made themselves eunuchs for the sake of the kingdom of heaven. Let the one who is able to receive this receive it.”” (Mt 19:3–12)
“10To the married I give this charge (not I, but the Lord): the wife should not separate from her husband 11(but if she does, she should remain unmarried or else be reconciled to her husband), and the husband should not divorce his wife.” (1 Co 7:10–11)
“15But if the unbelieving partner separates, let it be so. In such cases the brother or sister is not enslaved. God has called you to peace.” (1 Co 7:15)
“2For a married woman is bound by law to her husband while he lives, but if her husband dies she is released from the law of marriage. 3Accordingly, she will be called an adulteress if she lives with another man while her husband is alive. But if her husband dies, she is free from that law, and if she marries another man she is not an adulteress.” (Ro 7:2–3)
- How well does the biblical teaching on marriage match today’s secular view of marriage?
- How to have a happy marriage?
- What to do if you don’t live up to the Bible’s view of marriage?
- What does it mean to be submissive?
- If woman’s subordination to man is a consequence of the fall, does this mean that woman does not have to submit to man in the kingdom of God?
- What should you do if you are unhappy in your marriage and thinking about divorce?
Additional Bible Verses
Gen 1:27-28, Mal 2:14, 1 Cor 11:11-12, Eph 5:31, Rom 7:2, 1 Cor 7, Luke 20:34-35