Statement of Faith Current Teaching Teaching Index
Christian Marriage & the Bible
June 2011

"Therefore shall a man leave his father and his mother, and shall cleave (hold fast) to his wife: and they shall be one flesh.”

1.   What does the Bible says about Christian Marriage?  The Sabbath and Marriage were instituted in Paradise when man was sinless and in innocence (Genesis 2:18-24); the former for the preservation of the Church, the latter for the preservation of mankind. In Matthew 19:5, God Himself said, a man must leave all his relations and cleave to his wife, showing that the virtues of a divine ordinance, and its bonds, are stronger than those of nature itself.

            In Genesis 2:18-24 we have the first institution of marriage, and we see in it several specifics worthy of serious attention.

1.        God pronounces the state of celibacy to be a bad state, or, not a good one to say the least; and the “Lord God said, It is not good for man to be alone” (Genesis 2:18). This is God’s judgment. Man’s judgment might be different but they are worthy of no attention. “Indeed, let God be true but every man a liar” (Romans 3:4).

2.        God made the woman for the man, and thus He has shown us that every son of Adam should be united to a daughter of Eve to the end of the world (Ref. 1st Corinthians 7:3). God made the woman out of the man, to demonstrate that the closest union, and the most affectionate attachment, should exist in the matrimonial connection, so that the man should always treat the woman as a part of himself: and as no one ever hated his own flesh, but nourishes and supports it, so should a man deal with his wife; and on the other hand the woman should consider that the man was not made for her, but that she was made for the man, and derived, under God, her being from him; therefore the wife should see that she reverence her husband (Ephesians 5:33).  To all those who would think that this is male chauvinistic and old fashioned, not for the twenty first century I would say; “Get over it! – It is Biblical, and therefore is meant for all time, and every century.  If you do not like it; tough! – Talk to God about it.”

Genesis 2:23-2:24 contain the very words of the marriage ceremony: “This is flesh of my flesh, and bone of my bone, therefore shall a man leave his father and his mother, and shall cleave unto his wife, and they two shall be one flesh.” How happy must such a state be where God’s institution is properly regarded, where the parties are married, as the apostle expresses it, “in the Lord: (1st Corinthians 7:39); where by the acts of tender kindness they live only to present the wishes and contribute in every possible way to the comfort and happiness of the other!  Marriage might still be what it was in its original institution, pure and suitable, fulfilling, affectionate and happy, but only when God is the foundation and center of it.  

            The finest allegorical representation of the marriage union I have read is that very old delightful tale of “Cupid and Psyche,” found in the collection of the duke of Marlborough, it represents perfectly the institute of a perfect marriage.

1.        Both are represented as winged, to show the alacrity with which the husband and wife should help, comfort and support each ether; preventing, as much as possible, the expressing of a wish or want on either side, by fulfilling it before it can be expressed.

2.        Both are veiled, to show that modesty is an inseparable attendant on pure matrimonial connections.

3.        Hymen or Marriage goes before them with a lighted torch, leading them by a chain, of which each has a hold, to show that they are united together, and are bound to each other, and that they are led to this by the pure flame of love, which at the same instant both enlightens and warms them.

4.        This chain is not iron nor brass, (to intimate that the marriage union is a state of slavery), but it is a chain of pearls, to show that the union is precious, beautiful, and delightful.

5.        They hold a dove, the emblem of conjugal fidelity, which they appear to embrace affectionately, to show that they are faithful to each other, not merely through duty, but by affection, and that this fidelity contributes to the happiness of their lives.

6.        A winged Cupid, or Love, is represented as having gone before them, preparing the nuptial feast; to intimate that active affections, warm and cordial love, are to be to them a continual source of comfort and enjoyment; and that this is the entertainment they are to meet with at every step of their affectionate lives.

7.        Another Cupid, or genius of love comes behind, and places on their heads a basket of ripe fruits; to intimate that a matrimonial union of this kind will generally be blessed with children, who shall be as pleasing to all their senses as ripe and delicious fruits to the smell and taste.

8.        The genius of love that follows them has his wings shriveled up, or the feathers all curled, so as to render them utterly unfit for flight; suggesting that love is to abide with them, that there is to be no separation in affection, but that they are to continue to love one another with pure hearts fervently. Thus love begins and continues this sacred union; as to end, there can be none, for God hath yoked them together forever.

In Matthew 19:4-5 we have the Christian marriage service in its original charter, which was confirmed by our Lord, as the basis on which all duties are to be based upon. “Have you not read that He who made them at the beginning 'made them male and female,' (5) and said, 'for this reason a man shall leave his father and mother and be joined to his wife, and the two shall become one flesh”?

2.   Christian Marriage is a permanent, committed relationship.  Matthew 19:5-6“For this reason a man shall leave his father and mother and be joined to his wife and the two shall become one flesh”? (6) So then, they are no longer two but one flesh. Therefore what God has joined together, let not man separate."

The Two Keys:  What do they mean exactly? 

  1. “Therefore shall a man leave his father and his mother” - There shall be, by the order of God, a more intimate connection formed between the man and woman, than can exist between parents and children.  The institution of the ordinance of marriage, and the settling of the law of it, Genesis 2:24. As stated in the introduction, the Sabbath and marriage were two ordinances instituted in innocence, the former for the preservation of the church, the latter for the preservation of the world of mankind. It appears in (Matthew 19:4-5) that it was God himself who said here, “A man must leave all his relations, to cleave to his wife.”  It would seem the words of God are laying down this law to all his children.

a.       See here how great the virtue of a divine ordinance is; the bonds of it are stronger even than those of nature. To whom can we be more firmly bound than the fathers that begat us and the mothers that bore us?  Yet they must leave their parents and now cleave to each other (Ref. Matthew 19:4-5).

b.      See how necessary it is that children should get their parents' consent before they marry, and how unjust and disrespectful those are to their parents, who marry without it; for they rob them of their right and interest in them as parents.  They alienate them by not doing so which is disrespectful, defiant and deviant.

c.       See what need there is both of prudence and prayer in your choice for a life long mate. The need for prudence and prayer is essential, for your decision is for life.

d.      See how firm the bond of marriage is, not to be divided and weakened by having many wives (Malachi 2:15) nor to be broken or cut off by divorce.

e.       See how dear the affection ought to be between husband and wife, such as there is to our own bodies, Ephesians 5:28. These two are one flesh; let them then be one soul.

B.  “And they shall be one flesh” – These words may be understood in a twofold sense.

a.         These two shall be one flesh, shall be considered as one body, having no separate or independent rights, privileges, cares, concerns, etc., each being equally interested in all things that concern the marriage state.

b.        These two shall be for the production of one flesh; from their union children come who exactly resemble themselves as they do each other.

            Our Lord quotes these words, Matthew 19:5: “They Two shall be one flesh;” with a slight variation.  So in Mark 10:8. Paul also quotes it in the same way, 1st Corinthians 6:16, and in Ephesians 5:31. But of what consequence is the statement “and the two shall become one flesh?” It is highly important in the controversy concerning polygamy; without the word, “two” some have contended a man may have as many wives as he chooses, as the terms are indefinite, they shall be, etc., but with the word, “two” marriage is restricted. A man can have in legal wedlock but one wife at a time.

3.   What importance is given to Christian marriage? 

Our Lord corrected many false notions then existing on the subject of marriage (Matthew 22:23-30), and placed it as a divine institution on the highest grounds.

a.       The apostles states clearly and enforces the nuptial duties of husband and wife (Ephesians 5:22-33; Colossians 3:18, 19; 1st Peter 3:1-7).

b.      Marriage is called "honorable" (Hebrews 13:4), and the prohibition of it is noted as one of the marks of degenerate times (1st Timothy 4:3).

c.       Marriage signifies the union between God and His people (Isaiah 54:5; Jeremiah 3:1-14; Hosea 2:9, 20).

d.      In the New Testament it represents the love of Christ to His saints (Ephesians 5:25-27).

e.       The Church of the redeemed is the "Bride, the Lamb's wife" (Revelation 19:7-9).

f.       “Marriage should be honored by all, and the marriage bed kept pure, for God will judge the adulterer and all the sexually immoral” (Hebrews 13:4)

4.  What is to be done if one of the partners is an unbeliever?  If a woman has a husband who is not a believer and he is willing to live with her, she must not divorce him. “For the unbelieving husband has been sanctified through his wife, and the unbelieving wife has been sanctified through her believing husband. Otherwise your children would be unclean, but as it is, they are holy” (1st Corinthians 7:13-14) Husbands, wives, how do you know, whether or when the Lord will save your partner (1st Corinthians 7:16)?

5.   What are the marital duties for men and women?

  1. To husbands – the husband should fulfill his marital duty to his wife, and likewise the wife to her husband (1st Corinthians 7:3). Since there is so much immorality, each man should have his own wife, and each woman her own husband (1st Corinthians 7:2).  Husbands are commanded to “love your wives, just as Christ also loved the church and gave Himself for her, (26) that He might sanctify and cleanse her with the washing of water by the word, (27) that He might present her to Himself a glorious church, not having spot or wrinkle or any such thing, but that she should be holy and without blemish. (28) So husbands ought to love their own wives as their own bodies; he who loves his wife loves himself. (29) For no one ever hated his own flesh, but nourishes and cherishes it, just as the Lord does the church (Ephesians 5:25-29).
  2. To wives – there is but once command – submit to your own husbands, as to the Lord. (23) For the husband is head of the wife, as also Christ is head of the church; and He is the Savior of the body. (24) Therefore, just as the church is subject to Christ, so let the wives be to their own husbands in everything (Ephesians 5:22-24).  Also if “she marries another man while her husband is still alive, she is called an adulteress. But if her husband dies, she is released from that law and not an adulteress, even though she marries another man” (Romans 7:2-3). The disciples said to him, "If this is the situation between a husband and wife, it is better not to marry" (Matthew 19:10).  Jesus’ response is ever so precise, powerful and clear.  He said; "All cannot accept this saying, but only those to whom it has been given: (12) for there are eunuchs who were born thus from their mother's womb, and there are eunuchs who were made eunuchs by men, and there are eunuchs who have made themselves eunuchs for the kingdom of heaven's sake. He who is able to accept it, let him accept it" (Matthew 19:11-12).  

The importance and sobriety of our marital duties, responsibilities, caution, prayerful consideration, and Biblical alignment can be no clearer than in Jesus’ statement found here in Matthew 19. 

6.   Christian Marriage requires submission of both partners!  "You wives must submit to your husbands' leadership in the same way you submit to the Lord. For a husband is in charge of his wife in the same way Christ is in charge of His body the church. (He gave His very life to take care of it and be its Savior!) So you wives must willingly obey your husbands in everything, just as the church obeys Christ” (Ephesians 5:22-24 TLB). A wife must not separate from her husband (1st Corinthians 7:10); for the husband is the head of the wife as Christ is the head of the church, His body, of which He is the Savior (Ephesians 5:23; Ephesians 5:21, NIV). “Submit to one another out of reverence for Christ."


7.   How should husbands relate to their wives?

  1.  “Husbands must be careful of your wives, being thoughtful of their needs and honoring them as the weaker sex. Remember that you and your wife are partners in receiving God's blessings, and if you don't treat her as you should, your prayers will not get ready answers." God promised a virgin for Christ” (1st Peter 3:7, TLB)!
  2. It is the husband’s responsibility as lord of his house, to demonstrate and teach holiness so that his wife can be presented pure before Christ.  ”I promised you to one husband, to Christ, so that I might present you as a pure virgin to Him” (2nd Corinthians 11:2).
  3. The seventh and the tenth commandments guard marriage (Exodus 20:14, 17, NIV). "You shall not commit adultery." And "You shall not covet your neighbor's wife."
  4.  You must settle misunderstanding fast! Ephesians 4:26, TLB “If you are angry, don't sin by nursing your grudge. Don't let the sun go down with you still angry -get over it quickly."
  5.  The Bible forbids physical or verbal spouse abuse Colossians 3:19, NIV. "Husbands, love your wives and do not be harsh with them."
  6.  Keep the relationship growing in unity and understanding. Ephesians 4:2-3, TLB. "Be patient with each other, making allowance for each other's faults because of your love. Be led together by the Holy Spirit to be at peace with one another."

8.   Is there an acceptable reason for ending a marriage?  NO!   Despite what the prevailing modern liberal ministers and today’s society proclaim, and despite the misunderstanding in regard to the “exception clause” found in Matthew 5:32 NIV. "But I tell you that anyone who divorces his wife, except for fornication, causes her to commit adultery, and anyone who marries a woman so divorced commits adultery."  The answer is still positively NO!  Even by some stretch of your understanding of the scriptures you believe that this writer is wrong, that is your privilege.  However, consider this.  There is not one scripture that permits remarriage. Did you notice the second part of the verse found after the exception clause; “anyone who marries a woman so divorced commits adultery."   No adulterer will be found in Heaven (1st Corinthians 6:9-10).  For a much more in-depth study of remarriage – is it Biblical download our September and October 2005 teaching.

9.   How long is marriage intended to last?  "By law a married woman is bound to her husband as long as he lives. But if her husband dies, she is free to marry anyone she wishes, but he must belong to the Lord” (1st Corinthians 7:39).  Notice the restriction on remarriage after the husband dies? “He must belong to the Lord!”

10.   Who should we marry?  2nd Corinthians 6:14, RSVDo not be unequally yoked with unbelievers. For what partnership have righteousness and iniquity? Or what fellowship has light with dark?"  In this writers eyes this not only refers to marrying an unsaved individual if you are saved but it goes deeper than that.  Consider the consequences of marrying an individual who is not equal in their devotion to the Lord or in there call to ministry.  What if your calling was to be a teacher in your home church and you marry a missionary with a call to some foreign land.  Do you see the importance of discussing this before any commitment is made?

11.   What about romance? Proverbs 5:18-19, TLB "Let your manhood be a blessing; rejoice in the wife of your youth. Let her charms and tender embrace satisfy you. Let her love alone fill you with delight."

12.   Was one partner Gods' original plan?  It is evident that monogamy (1 wife) was the original law of marriage (Matthew 19:5; 1st Corinthians 6:16). Remember the marriage covenant was, alone with the Sabbath, made in God’s perfect state before there was sin. It was made, as discussed earlier, to be an everlasting covenant; all other covenants were made in the sinful state of man and therefore have or will be done away with when the new heavens and earth are established.  Therefore the answer is YES – one partner was God’s original plan!

            “I have no way of knowing whether or not you married the wrong person, but I do know that many people have a lot of wrong ideas about marriage and what it takes to make that marriage happy and successful. I’ll be the first to admit that it’s possible that you did marry the wrong person. However, if you treat the wrong person like the right person, you could well end up having married the right person after all. On the other hand, if you marry the right person, and treat that person wrong, you certainly will have ended up marrying the wrong person. I also know that it is far more important to be the right kind of person than it is to marry the right person. In short, whether you married the right or wrong person is primarily up to you.” — Zig Ziglar

            For more teaching on marriage, divorce, remarriage and each partner’s responsibility in regard to them contact us

The ABC of a Christian Marriage


Affirm who you and your spouse are in Christ

Build a foundation of love and trust

Communicate openly and often

Determine responsibility clearly

Expect the best of each other

Forgive frequently and completely

Give generously and wholeheartedly

Handle finances wisely and openly

Invest in quality time with each other

Judge not

Keep physically fit

Love unconditionally

Make your careers count

Nurture a positive home atmosphere

Open up your heart

Pray with and for each other consistently

Quote what God says about marriage

Reach out to others

Share your feelings honestly

Thank each other

Understand each other's God-given gifts

Value each other intensely

Work together to resolve conflicts

Xplain expectations to each other

Yearn to be all you can be together

Zero in on Christian Values


Used with permission

By: Rev. Richard and Rebecca Briggs

For solid professional marital counseling contact them at

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