Bible Basics: Marriage: God’s Answer to Man’s Need

By Earl Robertson

Man is a creature of need. Man is a two-fold being: flesh and spirit. His inward man has moral and spiritual needs and God complements them. The outward man is physical and has sociological, biological, and economic needs. His economic needs may be met without marriage; he may labor either for others or himself and thereby earn his living. One does not have to married to do this. However, the sociological and biological needs of man have their answer within the home-marriage.

The “gay” world of our day offers varied and manifold answers to our problems, but their answers are not true and they do not really satisfy. Their program of liberation spans the gambit from “common-law” live-ins to sodomy, and this is neither the will of God nor what any morally conscious person can do. The Bible is ignored by many seeking happiness. The substitution of man’s ways for God’s ways in meeting one’s needs leads to disappointments and unbearable heartaches.

Man’s Help Meet

God said, “It is not good that the man should be alone; I will make him an help meet for him” (Gen. 2:18). This “help meet” for Adam was Eve. God made only one Eve for one Adam-one man and one woman. Dwight M. Pratt says, “Whatever interpretation the latest scholarship may give to the story of woman’s formation from the rib of man (Gen. 2:21-24), the passage indicates, most profoundly, the inseparable unity and fellowship of her life with his. Far more than being a mere assistant, `helper’ (ezer), `help,’ `helper’ (Gen. 2:18), she is man’s complement, essential to the perfection of his being. Without her he is not man in the generic fulness of that term” (ISBE, p. 3100).

Man emphasizes his sociological needs and longings for a matrimonial companion in that he leaves his father’s house and cleaves to his wife (Gen. 2:24; Matt. 19:5). When he does this, he is to love her even as his own body (Eph. 5:28). If one does not so love, there should be no marriage! The formation of this union is in recognition of the fact that “the man is not of the woman; but the woman of the man. Neither was the man created for the woman; but the woman for the man” (1 Cor. 11:8, 9). These verses are not saying that the woman has no social needs, but are showing “Adam was first formed, then Eve” (1 Tim. 2:13). Adam existed with his needs-“not good to be alone”-before Eve was created. When she was created she also had sociological needs. “Nevertheless, to avoid fornication… let every woman have her own husband” (1 Cor. 7:2).

The experience one has in losing a companion or that a person has in solitary confinement is most difficult and in some cases unbearable. Marriage is designed by the Lord for companionship. Man is a social being.

God made both man and woman and he knows the needs of both. Human life and living processes are known in applied biology. The biological needs and responsibilities of man and woman are complemented and discharged in the unit of marriage. The Bible teaches the husband and wife to “be fruitful and multiply” (Gen. 1:28). No other relationship (than husband and wife) may scripturally bear children. Paul says, “Marriage is honorable in all, and the bed undefiled: but whoremongers and adulterers God will judge” (Heb. 13:4). The sexual needs of both men and women are met only in marriage, and any other arrangement is identified and called fornication by the Lord. Both the husband and the wife must recognize their blessings and responsibilities in the marriage relationship. The New Testament says, “Let the husband render unto the wife due benevolence: and likewise also the wife unto the husband. The wife hath not power of her own body, but the husband: and likewise also the husband hath not the power of his own body, but the wife. Defraud ye not one the other, except it be with consent for a time, that ye may give yourselves to fasting and prayer; and come together again, that Satan tempt you not for your incontinency” (1 Cor 7:3-5). These verses state the possession of power and the need to exercise it. “Incontinency” is want of self control, intemperance.

Abuse of Blessings

Many of the marriage problems stem from a failure in this area. Some fail to live as the Bible instructs and, consequently, problem after problem is experienced in that home. If the home survives these failures and problems it is, through this period, a most miserable and unhappy relationship. In some cases it leads to fornication, which, if tolerated by that one’s companion, leads to further evil and unhappiness in that home. Marriage, designed and established by the Maker of man, is for man’s happiness and well-being; it preserves purity and chastity and prevents immorality (1 Cor. 7:2, 5). In the establishment of a home (marriage), both parties solemnly promise to so live as the word of God teaches, but often when the infatuation is passed, the solemn promises are forgotten. Do not forget the vow you made before God!

Love Is Not Cheap

Marriage is for man’s benefit and he should appreciate and honor it with deep reverence for Him who established it. “The institution of marriage is founded on the requirements of man’s nature, and dates from the time of his original creation …. Man, as an intellectual and spiritual being, would not have been a worthy representative of Deity on earth, so long as he lived in solitude, or in communion only with beings either high above him in the scale of creation, as angels, or far beneath him, as the beasts of the field. It was absolutely necessary, not only for his comfort and happiness, but still more for the perfection of the divine work, that he should have a `help meet for him,’ or, as the words more properly mean, `the exact counterpart of himself -a being capable of receiving and reflecting his thoughts and affections” (Cyclopedia of Biblical, Theological, and Ecclesiastical Literature, Vol. 5, p. 772).

Marriage, therefore, involves God; He established and sanctified it. He did so out of His own wisdom and for the betterment of man. The love which the husband should have for his wife is not the cheap passionate compulsion the Greek philosophers often used, eros; but it is as Aristotle defined, “friendship in a superlative degree.” If such love be true, it can be for one person, and for one person only. Paul uses the same word commanding the husband to love his own wife that he uses telling of Christ’s love for the church. “Husbands, love your wives, even as Christ also loved the church, and gave himself for it” (Eph. 5:25). This love is not cheap! The wife must see that she reverence her husband (Eph. 5:33): Too many times wives do not consider the position of the husband; he is the head, and she should respect him as such.

The Permanency Of Marriage

Marriage is to be as permanent as the life of those who enter into it. Make sure you marry because you love, and then guard that love with diligence. Only two things in God’s sight can sever one’s marriage and give one the right to another companion: death and fornication. “What therefore God hath joined together, let not man put asunder,” says Jesus (Matt. 19:6). Furthermore, Jesus says, “Whosoever shall put away his wife, except it be for fornication. and shall marry another, committeth adultery: and whoso marrieth her which is put away doth commit adultery” (Matt. 19:9). I am persuaded that many do not know what marriage is when they contract it; that they do not know its permanency and sacredness. Many are abusive and beastly in their behavior, and live like an alley cat committing adultery at will. God promises to condemn each one who so lives! Usually, such marriages produce life-time suffering for little children. They grow up without love, care, and understanding. They deserve better treatment than this! However, it will only be when husbands and wives live like God teaches that the whole family will enjoy the best of life. If churches would teach and practice what the Bible says about marriage the homes would be better and so would the churches!

Truth Magazine XXII: 23, pp. 378-379
June 8, 1978