What are some of the most profound Bible verses about the unity and sanctity of marriage? What is their deeper meaning to couples?
Genesis 2:25 “Therefore, a man shall leave his father and his mother and hold fast to his wife, and they shall become one flesh.”
God knew that it was not good for man to be alone (Gen 2:18) and so He created woman to be joined with the man and even brought her to him (Gen 2:22). In the first marriage ceremony in history God said that “a man shall leave his father and his mother and hold fast to his wife, and they shall become one flesh” (Gen 2:24). This holy matrimony uses language that typifies what it means to become husband and wife. The two become “one flesh” meaning that they are so unified that they actually become one. They become one in unity, one in essence (as in family), one in purpose, and one in mind. The word used for joined is like that of a bonding agent like glue. This “joining” is so strong that it is like one part of the other will be ripped away from the other if they are ever separated. If you joined to pieces of paper together with glue and you tore them apart, each sheet of paper would take with it part of the other. This is a great image of what divorce does. It hurts both parties so much that both are hurt in the process, therefore they should cleave and not leave because what God has joined together, no one should try to separate.
It’s also important to notice that the man is to “leave his father and his mother.” This is so important because the man and woman are to leave their own families and leave them out of family issues because they now have their own family. Parental interference has broken up so many marriages because parents tend to take the sides of their own children in conflicts. One woman was so upset that she went back home to live with her parents. Her mother in her great wisdom said “I am so sorry for your difficulties but you can’t stay here. We have our own family problems and you have your own. You must work these out yourselves.” Eventually they did. This mother showed great biblical wisdom in not interfering or taking sides but told her daughter to take responsibility for her own marriage.
God says that the husband should “hold fast” (some translations say “cleave”) to his wife. This “hold fast” is the wording of what static cling does. It makes a fabric cling tightly by use of an energetic force (static electricity). That is why Adam said that Eve was “bone of my bone and flesh of my flesh” because they had become one and they were to cleave to one another (Gen 2:23a).
Genesis 24:67 “Then, Isaac brought her into the tent of Sarah his mother and took Rebekah, and she became his wife, and he loved her. So Isaac was comforted after his mother’s death.”
What a tender thing that’s written here; “and he loved her.” Isaac was comforted after his mother’s death by this godly woman of faith, Rebekah. She was a blessing to Isaac at a time of great need. A wife and a man are to comfort one another in times of need just as Rebekah did Isaac. The Bible says that “two are better than one because they have a good return for their labor” (Eccl 4:9) because “one may be overpowered [but] two can defend themselves” (Eccl 4:12) and they can help one another if one falls down (Eccl 4:10).
Colossians 3:18-19 “Wives, submit to your husbands, as is fitting in the Lord. Husbands, love your wives, and do not be harsh with them.”
This verse applies only to those men and women who are married. I cannot make a woman who is not my wife submit to me any more than I can love another woman as Christ loved the church (Eph 5:25). If I love my wife like Christ loved the church, this means that I must live out my life; first for God but next for her. It is like sacrificing me…my time, my talents, and my treasure…poured into her life. This is how Christ loved the church. I must die to self and live for her and be willing to die for her in the sense of giving my time and my effort…myself… to serve her and love her. In a similar fashion, wives must respect their husbands for he was made head of the family, not by his own accord, but by the command of God (Eph 5:22-23).
If the husband loves his wife like Christ loves the church, she will have no problem respecting him. If the wife respects her husband, he will have no problem loving her. When each of the marriage partners does as is written in Scripture, it is easier for both to fulfill their obligations to one another.
First Peter 3:7 “ Likewise, husbands, live with your wives in an understanding way, showing honor to the woman as the weaker vessel, since they are heirs with you of the grace of life, so that your prayers may not be hindered.”
This is a command for husbands, not a suggestion. They are to live with their wives by striving to understand them. Only God completely understands the ways of a woman and a man but men must learn to understand that women operate differently from them. Wives desire to have husbands that communicate, they need them to listen to them and they don’t always want everything solved. To women, it’s more important that husbands listen to them and husbands, put down that remote and give them your full attention and make eye contact. Husbands should understand that women are physically weaker (in most cases) but not spiritually weaker and most certainly not inferior. We usually don’t eat dinner using our fine china. That is for special occasions. Our fine china is more fragile but that doesn’t make it inferior. Our fine china is more delicate but it’s also more beautiful. In the same fashion, God sees the wife as being co-equal, co-heirs with us in Christ. Even though Jesus Christ submitted to the Father He was still equally God. If a husband doesn’t understand this, his prayers can be hindered.
Titus 2:4-5 “and so train the young women to love their husbands and children, to be self-controlled, pure, working at home, kind, and submissive to their own husbands, that the word of God may not be reviled.”
When women love their husbands and children, when they are kind and submissive, when they are self-controlled and pure (in heart), God’s Word cannot be reviled. If a wife is not submissive, not self-controlled, is un-pure and unkind, and doesn’t love her husband or children, this reflects badly on God. Non-believers can speak contemptuously about such women, their witness to Christ is damaged; in fact they bring shame to the name of Christ because if they call themselves a Christian and yet act carnally it is seen as hypocritical. And what goes for women also goes for men if they are living in hypocrisy.
First Corinthians 7:5 “Do not deprive one another, except perhaps by agreement for a limited time, that you may devote yourselves to prayer; but then come together again, so that Satan may not tempt you because of your lack of self-control.”
If we deny one another of sexual pleasure, we are giving the Devil a foothold. A spouse that is denied is a spouse that is more easily tempted by someone of the opposite sex. It is sin to withhold sex from the other spouse to try and get back at them after an argument or to use sex as a weapon and to deprive them as a way of getting even. The only exception is “for a limited time” in praying for something very important. This time of prayer may even include fasting but Paul stressed that it is to be “for a limited time,” meaning that it should not be very long. For one spouse to deprive the other may put them at risk for an affair. Temptation could lead to adultery.
Proverbs 5:18 “Let your fountain be blessed, and rejoice in the wife of your youth.”
I have actually included this Proverb for the husband only because I know how men are. They are stimulated by sight and by thought. What immediately captured my heart was that right after I married, I rejoiced in my own beloved wife. Even today she is more beautiful than ever. I am more in love with her today than I was on the day we got married. I still rejoice because I know who is responsible for bringing us together. Genesis 2:22 said that God brought Adam’s wife to him. I know God doesn’t make mistakes. It was no accident that we married. I rejoiced on that day and I am still rejoicing that God has blessed me so much…more than I deserve. I believe that we must rejoice in our spouses. Relish their love. Cherish them dearly. Do not take them for granted. No one knows when the Lord may take them from us to be with Him. Rejoicing in our mates is not so much a feeling as it is a choice. It is a choice that you will never regret.
God gives husbands plenty of serious warnings about involving themselves with women who are not their wives. The risky consequences are certain discipline from God, possibly divorce, wrecked families, hurt children, sexually transmitted diseases, and perhaps even death (Prov 5:4-5). The same consequences can be expected for wives who are unfaithful to their husbands. Stay faithful to your husband or your wife. The grass is not greener on the other side…it is full of noxious, deadly poison. Too many have discovered this after it was too late. What God has joined must remain joined. Cherish your spouse. Do not deny one another. Hold fast to one another. Submit and love one another. Leave the parents out of your marriage. Dwell with them in understanding. Do these things and it will be easy to rejoice in the husband or wife of your youth and even into old age. That is my prayer for you.
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Jack Wellman is Senior Writer at What Christians Want to Know whose mission is to equip, encourage, and energize Christians and to address questions about the believer’s daily walk with God and the Bible. You can follow Jack on Google Plus or check out his book Blind Chance or Intelligent Design
Resources: The Holy Bible, New International Version