By Marc W. Gibson
One of the greatest events a person is privileged to witness is the union of a man and a woman in marriage and the beginning of a new home. It is a time of happiness and joy. Much thought, through, needs to be given before and after the wedding to the great responsibilities involved. Many take their marriage and their home too lightly. Too many marriages end in divorce, homes are broken up and children are neglected. God will hold us responsible for how we fulfill (or not fulfill) our obligations. If we follow his instructions, we can be successful and happy. If we do not, heartache and disaster will lurk around every corner.
From the very beginning of time, we learn that it was not good for man to be alone. Therefore, a woman, a helper comparable to him, was made for him (Gen. 2:18-23). When God joined the first man and woman in the first marriage relationship, it was said, “Therefore a man shall leave his father and mother and be joined to his wife, and they shall become one flesh” (Gen. 2:24). This is the institution of marriage: a man and a woman leaving all others to cleave to one another, being joined together by God. Any other joining, such as a man with a man or a woman with a woman is an abomination before God (Lev. 18:22; Rom. 1:26-27). God set the pattern when he joined one man and one woman.
It is God’s plan for a man and a woman to be married for life. Jesus admonished, “Therefore what God has joined together, let not man separate” (Matt. 19:6). This is a warning we should heed. An individual is bound to his mate for life by the law of God (Rom. 7:2; 1 Cor. 7:39).
What about divorce? A divorce for any reason other than for the cause of fornication is sin and any subsequent remarriage is adultery (Mk. 10:1 1-12; Lk. 16:18; Matt. 5:32; 19:9). God hates divorce (Mal. 2:16). It is a breakdown of the beautiful union he joined. It is sickening to hear of the number of divorces today and the carnage they leave behind in confused children, broken hearts, and lost souls. God will not tolerate any divorce unless it be for the cause of fornication. There are many today who live in adultery with mates they have no scriptural right to. They need to repent and cease that adulterous relationship. Some may be in a position where they cannot marry again. Jesus said these would be hard sayings for some, but that the kingdom of heaven must be first in our lives (Matt. 19:11-12). Let us respect and follow God’s revealed will. Sin can have hard consequences, but heaven is worth it all (Matt. 6:33). Do you agree?
Who can many? The one who has never married, has lost a mate to death (Rom. 7:2-3), or has divorced his or her mate for the cause of fornication (Matt. 5:32; 19:9) has the scriptural right to marry. This is God’s revealed will on this question. We cannot add nor subtract.
The sexual desire of a man and a woman must be fulfilled in the marriage relationship (1 Cor. 7:2-5). Also, marriage is the only relationship in which sexual desires can be fulfilled. I say this not to be a prude, but because it is God’s law. “Marriage is honorable among all, and the bed undefiled; but fornicators and adulterers God will judge” (Heb. 13:4). Fornication is all forms of sexual immorality. Sexual intercourse between two unmarried people is fornication, and this sin will keep one from inheriting the kingdom of God (1 Cor. 6:9). Adultery is a form of fornication and refers to sexual relations of a married person with someone other than his spouse. This will also cause one to lose his soul if not repented of and stopped (1 Cor. 6:9-11). With peer pressure, easy access to birth control, and the general immorality of the world, it is hard to resist this terrible temptation of Satan. We need to do whatever is necessary to “flee fornication” (Gen. 39:7-12; 1 Cor. 6:18). Instead of living with guilt or an unwanted child, make up your mind (and teach your children) to keep the precious gift of virginity for the person you marry.
When a man and a woman unite in marriage, they unite their lives. God described it as becoming “one flesh” (Matt. 19:5-6). I believe this involves more than just the sexual relationship. They become one in mind, purpose, will and direction. If this type of relationship is never formed or developed, the marriage is in serious trouble. A husband and wife have certain obligations toward one another that work for a successful home. A home is more than just the house you live in. As someone once said, the home is where the heart is. Is your heart in your home?
The husband has the God-given responsibility to be the head of the home. The husband is the head of the wife, but not as an iron-willed dictator. Paul compares the headship of a husband to the headship of Christ over the church (Eph. 5:23). If men would care for their wives as Christ cares for the church, we would see a lot of happy, content wives. Husbands are told to love their wives even as their own bodies (Eph. 5:25,28). A godly husband will nourish and cherish his wife, making her feel important and loved. He would do anything for her, even give his life for her. Husbands are you treating your wives right? A man is to take care of and provide for his household, for “if anyone does not provide for his own, and especially for those of his household, he has denied the faith and is worse than an unbeliever” (1 Tim. 5:8). A faithful man will also bring up his children in the “training and admonition of the Lord” (Eph. 6:4).
The wife is taught to be in submission to her husband as head, respecting him in that position God gave him (Eph. 5:22, 33). This is easily and happily done when the husband loves her as he ought. The home breaks down when either party refuses to work with the other as God directs. Women are to love their children (which includes discipline) and take care of the home (Tit. 2:4-5). If you think this is unimportant, look at what has happened to our society in general and our children in particular. Much of the crime and social problems we have today have their root in bad homes.
Children should obey their parents. If not, they disobey God (Eph. 6:1-4). Children should be the objects of love and care and be treated as human beings. They should never be the victims of physical or mental abuse.
If all parts of the marriage and home work together as God directs, there is harmony and happiness. If sin has caused heartache in your home, do what you can to correct your own life and influence godly change in your loved ones. Even the most godly people will sometimes have to endure heartache and sadness because of sin that touches close to home. Keep your eyes focused on God and heaven. The toils and the troubles of this life will seem as nothing when we get to the end of the way.
Guardian of Truth XXXVII, No. 23, p. 9-11
December 2, 1993