A marriage that glorifies God

The meaning of marriage

God planned marriage as the most intimate of unions. A man and woman voluntarily enter into this relationship on the basis of love and with the promise of sexual faithfulness towards each other. A Christian marriage is built and fed on mutual love and respect; an understanding of each other’s needs and a healthy sexual relationship. Marriage is not always easy, but with the grace of God and the commitment from both husband and wife, a fulfilling, God-pleasing marriage is indeed possible.
God decided that it’s not good for man to be alone. Therefore the Lord created a “suitable helper” (Gen. 2:18). However, it is not only the wife that is the “helper” of the man. In Ephesians 5:28 the apostle Paul writes: “Husbands, love your wives, just as Christ loved the church and gave himself up for her.”, and in verse 28: “Husbands ought to love their wives as their own bodies”. This cannot be understood in another way as that the husband should also be a help to his wife. The wife is to help her husband and the husband is to love his wife. Love and help cannot exist without the other.

Marriage in different cultures

The institution of marriage is found in most cultures. Although every group regulates marriage differently, the Word of God sets the true basis for marriage. The Word of God does not condemn any culture, but speaks against the sinful practices in all cultures –also sinful practices regarding marriage.

Position of husband and wife

Jesus lifts the woman to the equal status as the man in all spheres of life. Therefore both the husband and the wife have a responsibility to strengthen and positively impact each other. If the Bible speaks about the wife as the “weaker” partner in 1 Peter 3:7, it means that the husband is also weak. Two “weak” partners cannot uphold each other – think of two pillars of a bridge. If you put a bridge (marriage) onto two pillars, they become strong and able to support each other.
God appoints the “husband to be the head of his wife, as Christ is the head of the church” (Ephes. 5:23). If the husband wants to know how to understand this verse and how to treat his wife, he should look to Christ as the head of the church. The husband is not to be the ‘boss’ in order to rule, regulate and suppress his wife. No, instead, he must be the head of his wife by adopting a servant attitude like Jesus Christ.
The Bible teaches: “Wives, submit to your husbands as to the Lord.” (Ephes. 5:22). This does not mean that the wife should be a slave in her home to jump to the attention of her husband. She is a person created by God in her own right, to serve the Lord by showing her submission to her husband.

It is the privilege of a husband to serve and love his wife. As Philippians 2:3 says: In humility a husband must consider his wife as better than himself. God created woman; in Christ she is saved and whoever treats any person, also his wife, with disrespect, insults the Lord. In Christ the wife has again become the equal partner, the helper of her husband, as is commanded by God.

Marriage today
Many people today do not see the need for marriage. They concentrate more on the problems of marriage and therefore say that marriage does not work. You may find people saying: “If you experience problems in marriage you do not need to worry. There are many men and women out there” or: “Don’t think you are forced to stay with a person giving you so much trouble. Dump him or her and find someone new.”, or: “Keep him or her to care for you in the house and go out and enjoy yourself with others. Do not let marital problems ruin your happiness and your life.”
Nowadays many couples do not hesitate to divorce when problems occur in their marriage. This behaviour causes many children to grow up in single-parent homes. Often they themselves divorce – because that is the values they learned from their parents.
God intended marriage to be the ideal environment within which to raise children: a safe and loving space where parents may nurture and love their children.

Sexuality in marriage

Marriage is also the institution God created to protect the husband and wife from sexual immorality. The concept of sexual purity and faithfulness between husband and wife is used as an image of our relationship with God (See the book of Hosea).
Sex in marriage is one of God’s ways to build a closer and more intimate relationship between husband and wife. In 1 Corinthians 7 we read: “But since there is so much immorality, each man should have his own wife and each woman her own husband. The husband should fulfil his marital duty to his wife, and likewise the wife to her husband.” Paul says that sexual relationship in marriage is a duty that husbands and wives should fulfil towards each other. Therefore, they are not to withhold sex from each other.
God created sexuality as something beautiful and Scripture teaches that sex comes to its full value when it is practised within the boundaries of marriage. Sexual union outside marriage is prohibited and condemned (Deut. 22:20–21).
What happens if someone used their mind and body in a sexual way that is against the Word of God? Romans 12:1–2 teaches: “Do not conform to the standards of this world, but let God transform you inwardly by a complete change of your mind.” Galatians 5:16 also says: “Let your lives be governed by the Spirit of God.” – This includes our sexual lives.
You cannot turn back the time to erase past mistakes, but you can make a decision to start a new life before God. Just ask the Lord for forgiveness for the sexual sins you have committed.

Let us glorify God through our marriages and uphold the wonder of marriage as planned by God.

Willem Botes

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