On the sixth day of Creation Week, “God created man in his own image, in the image of God he created him; male and female, he created them.” (Genesis 1:27) God allowed a gap between the creation of the man called Adam and the woman called Eve. God wanted the man to understand his need for the companion who would be constructed from Adam’s own side. (Genesis 2:18-23) 

The first woman was sculpted out of the first man’s flesh and bone; but every person after this time would be formed inside the body of a woman. God intended for humanity to understand: “In the Lord, however, woman is not independent of man, nor is man independent of woman. For as woman came from man, so also man is born of woman. But everything comes from God.” (I Corinthians 11:11-12)

God’s plan, his design, was one of co-operative, co-leadership in managing the earth’s resources: “God blessed them and said to them, “Be fruitful and increase in number; fill the earth and subdue it. Rule over the fish of the sea and the birds of the air and over every living creature that moves on the ground.” (Genesis 1:28)

God the Creator established marriage as a union between one man and one woman. Jesus, who was the one through whom all things were made (John 1:3), confirmed God’s intention for marriage to be a lifetime commitment: 

Some Pharisees came to him to test him. They asked, “Is it lawful for a man to divorce his wife for any and every reason?”

“Haven’t you read,” he replied, “that at the beginning the Creator ‘made them male and female,’ and said, ‘For this reason a man will leave his father and mother and be united to his wife, and the two will become one flesh’? So they are no longer two, but one. Therefore, what God has joined together, let man not separate.” (Matthew 19:3-6)

Jesus acknowledged that this commitment is a difficult one: “Not everyone can accept this word, but only those to whom it has been given….The one who can accept this should accept it.” (Matthew 19:12)

The disciples suggested that marriage with no escape clause was so difficult that it might be better not to marry at all. Jesus said that some would remain single and celibate for the sake of the kingdom of heaven. Some like the Apostle Paul did just that, but others were married. (I Corinthians 9:5)

Paul gave some guidelines regarding whether or not to marry. He was not making rules and regulations restricting a person’s right to choose: “I am saying this for your own good, not to restrict you, but that you may live in a right way in undivided devotion to the Lord.” (I Corinthians 7:35)

Paul wanted Christians to understand their responsibilities to one another and their primary responsibility to God. He gave some of the matters that ought to be considered before making a serious decision regarding marriage, separation, remaining single, or even marrying again.

Jesus brought our attention back to the original plan for marriage--a lifelong commitment between one man and one woman. Those who are dedicated to undivided devotion to the Lord look to Jesus for the instruction, the willingness, and the strength to please God whether single or married.

Marriage is good. Everything God created is good. But sin--wrongdoing of all kinds, our hardness of heart (Matthew 19:8-9)--sours our relationships and produces heartaches and misery that only God can heal. (Isaiah 53:1-12)

Paul used marriage and the way the husband and his wife should relate to each other to illustrate the way Christ and the Church relate to one another. (Ephesians 5:21-31) For a marriage to become a peaceful, loving and harmonious union, we look to Jesus, his character and his teachings to show us how to create a good marriage.

The simple rule of “husbands command and wives obey” does not fulfill God’s design for marriage. Mutual submission to the will of God and submitting to one another out of mutual concern for the welfare of the other does. Jesus told his disciples they were not to “lord it over” one another, but instead, to be servants of one another. (Matthew 20:24-28) The Christian couple who desire to put Jesus’ instructions into practice in their homes must remember each is servant to the other if they want to weather their marital storms and have their home standing when the storm is over.

Adam and Eve made some huge mistakes which affected relationships throughout the ages among all of their descendants. (Romans 5:12-14) Eve chose to believe a lie and Adam chose to go along with it. Neither took responsibility for those decisions. (Genesis 3:1-19; I Timothy 2:13-14)

The health of our marriages are directly related to the health of our relationship with God through Jesus. One person cannot carry out the responsibility for peace and unity alone. (I Corinthians 7:15) A couple cannot achieve true peace with one another without having first made peace with God. (Romans 5:1-11)

A successful marriage isn’t just gritting your teeth and not getting a divorce. A marriage that pleases God involves apologies (repentance and confession), forgiveness, and reconciliation. Doesn’t that also reflect a successful relationship with God? Marriage partners put the other first, exclusively first. God wants us to put him first, exclusively first, with no other God beside him as the Commandment says. Christian couples want to please each other. Christians who are devoted to God want to please him. God wants to please us. Our Christian marriages can, with the help of God, reveal God’s goodness and plan for humanity.

For the Scripture References and related Bible Study Guide, go to Bible Study Guide: Be United.