Marriage is the highest and happiest of human relationships. It is the preserver of true love, the foundation of the home, and bulwark of society. Marriage began in the bowers of Eden under the bowers of Eden under the direction of Almighty God. Moses gave legal regulations on matters connected with marriage for the old dispensation. Christ endorsed marriage as it existed in the beginning for the Christian age and performed His first miracle at the wedding feast in Cana. Paul likens the relationship between Christ and His church to that of husband and wife.
There are three divine institutions in our world. (1) The home, (2) civil government, and (3) the church. The institution of marriage keeps the moral world in being and secures civilization. Without it, natural affection and amiableness would not exist, domestic education would become extinct, industry and economy would collapse, learning and refinement would expire, government sink into the gulf of anarchy, and man would be left to the precarious existence of the savage.
Two persons, a man and a woman, who have chosen each other out of all others, with the design to be each other’s mutual comfort and care, have, in that action bound themselves to be loving, affable, discreet, forgiving, patient, and joyful, with respect to each other’s frailties and imperfections, to the end of their lives. Marriage is to have and to hold, for better or for worse, for rich or for poor, in sickness and in health, in prosperity and adversity, until death do them part. It is a solemn vow taken in the name of God.
- Marriage is divine in origin. When one compares Genesis 2:24 with Matthew 19:4-5, he finds that it was God “who made them male and female” and it was God who said, “For this cause shall a man leave his father and mother, and shall cleave to his wife; and the two shall become one flesh.” Marriage is honorable in all (Hebrews 13:4). Eunuchs by birth, surgery, or choice would not marry for obvious reasons (Matthew 19:11-12). Also, under certain conditions of great distress one might not wish to marry (I Corinthians 7:1, 26). But it is better to marry than to burn in passion (I Corinthians 7:9). God saw in Adam that “It was not good that the man should be alone” (Genesis 2:18).
- Monogamic in form. This means married to one person or having only one Scriptural mate at a time (Matthew 19:5-6, 9; I Corinthians 7:3). In the Christian age polygamy or many wives, and polyandry, having many husbands are both wrong. Commune marriages practiced among some ... groups are also condemned by Jesus.
- Companionate and procreative in design. “Let the husband render unto the wife her due: and likewise also the wife unto her husband” (I Corinthians 7:3; cf. 7:4-5). God told the first couple to be fruitful and multiply and replenish the earth (Genesis 2:28).
- Mutual in obligation. The husband is to love the wife (Ephesians 5:25) and the wife is to love her husband (Titus 2:4). Man and woman are complements of each other and dependent upon each other.
- The husband is the head of the wife. This is the way God set up marriage (Ephesians 5:22-24). We sometimes hear people joke that the husband is the head, but his wife is surely the neck that turns the head the way she wants! But the Bible is quite serious about the wife being in subjection unto her husband. To tamper with God’s order can bring serious consequences.
- United by God. What God hath joined together let not man put asunder (Matthew 19:6). In God’s sight the marriage contract is final until broken by death or infidelity (Matthew 19:9; Romans 7:1-3). There is no marriage in heaven, says Jesus (Luke 20:27-40). This voids the Mormon doctrine of celestial marriage.
- God wants Christian homes. This is where parents are obedient to God’s laws (II Peter 3:9; Matthew 7:21), and having been baptized into Christ (Galatians 3:26-27), are bringing up their children in the nurture and admonition of the Lord (Ephesians 6:4; Proverbs 22:6; Psalm 78:4; Genesis 18:19).
The sordid moral record of the world in general and America in particular is sad. Twenty five percent of American marriages wind up in the divorce courts. About one in twenty has some venereal disease. One out of six brides is an expectant mother before she gets to the marriage altar according to one journal. The obvious immodest dress of many women shows that while some dress to be chaste others may dress to be chased! There is a vast difference between the words. While parents shout for someone to do something to help the young people, the truth of the matter is that the responsibility is theirs and they need to face it. Parents need to provide opportunities for their children to be with other Christian young people so they will marry a Christian mate. Young people should date clean, pure and compatible partners. Before marriage ask yourself seriously if you are really ready for marriage, if you are mature enough, and is it love or infatuation?
The following entitled “A Recipe for Home” by an unknown author is fine. “First, get out the cooking utensils. You will need one husband, one wife, and children to suit yourself. Next, cream one cup of love until it is fluffy and mellow. Add one-half cup of tears and hardships and stir gently. Whip in a cup of joy; when smooth, add one teaspoon each of thoughtfulness, heartfelt tenderness and sympathy. Add one cup of ambition with two cups of Christianity. Bake in moderate oven, top with kindness, and serve repeatedly.”
Christ should be the Lord of our home and He is our ever present silent guest. To put marriage and the home on the right path, Christ should be the center: Christ at the marriage altar; Christ on the bridal journey; Christ when the new home is set up; Christ when the baby comes; Christ when the baby dies; Christ in the pinching times; Christ in the days of plenty; Christ for time; Christ for eternity, this is the secret of home.
J. Noel Meredith
Gospel Advocate (August 12, 1971)