The Truth... What is it?

Marriage Relationship According to God's Word

As another of these topical postings has pointed out, the message/understanding of biblical scripture is not fully possible to the understanding of the unbeliever (one who has not accepted Jesus as Savior). The person may be intelligent enough to understand, but God actually prevents understanding of His Word except for those who "believe". So, I'm not sure that much is accomplished when believers get caught up in the community and media circus about "marriage"...except as they might focus on the fact that Jesus asks us to conduct ourselves so that we might carry out human-to-human relationships RIGHTLY.

First of all, "marriage" of any type is implied to be for a long time and rarely turns out as many have idealized in poetry, literature, TV shows, and movies. The couple is composed of two individuals, and there are huge potential differences between individuals (individualness) in almost countless respects. Good, solid marriages are more likely when the two involved understand such individuality differences (due to 1000s of years of evolutionary selection & adaptation) as: (1) men are truly different than women; (2) there are true & strong differences in personality types; (3) there are truly diferent ways people express their love (love languages); (4) there are deeply ingrained, cultural "ways" embedded in many people; (5) and each of us has "baggage" due to life influences while we were growing up (including a person's sense of ethics). All of this being so, we have to be always careful to NOT have "expectations" which are too much, too soon. When a "rub" happens in the relationship, one (1) must be careful to avoid dishing out negative, offensive accustations (even if true); and (2) one must carefully avoid ascribing negative motives to the other party. EXAMPLES: (1) "You are not listening to what I'm saying!" (2) "I think that you are trying to put me down!" I think that, when trying to repair your marital strains and problems, it is crucial that each party (1) get educated and (2) be willing to work on issues a step at a time. Gary Smalley (of personality-types fame) appears to have created an online application to help couples deal with marital speed bumps and difficulties in as little as a two-day session, HERE.

What are we talking about when we debate "marriage"? Are we debating (1) a religious, spiritual sacramental union or (2) are we debating a nation, state, county or city legal & civil definition ("render unto Ceasar")...or both? Prior to the Fall of Mankind, the Old Testament (Gen. 2:18, 21-24) explains that God had created Adam who needed a mate. But, I am not aware of God RESTRICTING that type of "help mate" to being a female. I cannot find any direct New Testament quote of Jesus restricting Genesis-type spiritually committed marriage-type relationships to heterosexual unions. There does seem to be what amounts to a command that a man not have sex with another man as he would with a woman (Leviticus 18:22) [that web site allows checking the wording as it is found in multiple diferent translations]. Throughout history, rather than leaving "Biblical marriage" to the church, governments have felt the need to legally define many things that possibly ought to remain religiously defined. Or, maybe there ought to be room for religious categories within society which may or may not be recognized by the government's legal categories (the legal ones applying to all citizens).

My discussion of all types of pairings is HERE.

Jesus wants His followers of The Way to relate rightly in the various relationships of mankind. The Biblical model for marriage (as seems clarified by Jesus) is that two believers, male and female, unite in such a way that they cleave unto each other (intertwine themselves/lives as vines would intertwine) & into a sort of trinitarian relationship with God...God plus each of them & each to the other.  It is always to have a holy agenda. "Heat" and love may propell toward marriage, but they are not the glue of a biblical marriage. The marriage service is performed according to the vows of their church and in the presence of believing witnesses. The marriage is intended for a lifetime.

God clearly speaks through the apostle Paul about the marital relationship in Ephesians 5:21-32...
The husband is to view the marriage relationship as "one flesh"...the two are actually "one". They deal with the world as one unit. They deal with their children as one undivided unit. The husband, especially upon realizing the unity of their "one flesh", is to love and care for his wife as he would his own self. He wouldn't knowingly...and in his right mind...hurt his own "flesh". Even further, he is to love and care for her as Jesus loves and cares for His Church. There is no greater love.

The wife is "to put things in order under" "submit"...the husband's leadership. The relationship is a joint effort blessible by God in which love, caring, patience, understanding, co-operation, and respect are mutually employed to the fullest. On any matter or issue before the couple, after all has been discussed and done, the husband is to carry out "one flesh leadership" (or headship) in declaration and execution of their decision or game plan. It could be that he does some thing or that he delegates and says, "Fine, you go ahead and negotiate the acquisition of that company, as we agreed!"

On the other hand, if the matter or issue is stalemated, it is for the wife, out of reverence for Christ, to submit...such as, "Jim, we've hashed this out a dozen different ways and can't seem to come to a like mind on it. We gave full respect to our marriage by a full, sincere, and honest review of the situation. You've heard my reservations and how I feel. So, out of reverence for Christ and out of love for you and our marriage, I'm submitting to your leadership on this. You have my full love and commitment on it."

Genesis 3:16, speaking of Adam's wife (and all  wives after "The Fall"), "Your desire will be for your husband, and he will rule over you." Rather than being interpreted as a legalistic command for men thereafter, this can just as legitimately be viewed as a statement of a facet of the greater overall tragedy of The Fall of mankind.

When this biblical role modeling is added onto a foundation containing regular (personal, couple, and group/church) prayer, regular (personal, couple, and group/church) praise/worship, regular (personal, couple, and group/church) Bible reading, and regular (personal, couple, and group/church) "doing" (fellowship/witnessing/helping/giving..."works"), THEN the odds of a wonderfully fulfilling marriage become extraordinarily high! This foundation can/should begin prior to marriage. Are you a believer? Are you praying regularly that God might be raising up a marriage partner perfect for you and that you be prepared to be "perfect" for that partner?

What happens with the earthly biblical marriage when we get to Heaven? We who go to Heaven indwelt by the Holy Spirit continuing as members of the universal Body of Believers (The Church Universal)...the bride of Christ...Jesus is the groom. Might that earthly marriage not be relevant anymore? See Mark 12:24-25.

Any marriage has trials and struggles. But, if you marry an unbeliever...especially one who is against coming to belief in are hamstringing that three-way team that is the "glue". Think about it...

So, as our secularist component of society drives to have same-sex marriage...and debates Christian sacramental marriage vs. civil unions vs. legal marriage vs. social and/or contracts...just remember that even churches often fail to distinguish the features of biblical marriage as they perform legal, church-based weddings. It is sort of like the situation with believer's baptism: was it a true believer's water baptism or spiritual baptism or did a person just get wet in a church ceremony?

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(posted 22 February 1999; latest addition 4 September 2015)