What is a Christian marriage?

In modern Western society, marriage has become nothing more than a social and cultural construct. It is an institution regulated by the government, to be made and dissolved at the drop of a bureaucrat’s signature. Those who want to attack marriage often use this image of marriage to try and score cheap points.

The divorce rates in the USA are high, so these attackers point to the fact that since the majority of Americans call themselves Christian, they must by hypocrites because although they divorce in high numbers, the Christian community still wants to shake a fist at homosexuals or pedophiles. Whether the analogy is valid or not is not the subject of this post. But I do agree that the holy institution of marriage is cheapened and downright destroyed by the ease of getting a divorce, which leads to the high numbers of divorce.

One can also hardly recognize the sanctity of marriage, or even properly proper relationships in our modern culture. There is hardly a show on television which doesn’t portray loose sexual relationships as the norm. And there is no sign in modern literature or the pop press of what can be considered Christian marriage. The liberal assault to portray marriage as a civil agreement, and not a Godly institution, continues unabated in Washington and across the country.

If we are to argue that marriage in its Christian form is not the norm any more, then what, we ask, should such a Christian marriage look like? because if we are to recover marriage as a holy institution, then surely we need to be able to describe what it is we want to achieve.

Marriage is between a man and a woman. It is consistent with the created order. It was the intent of God to have a man and woman as partners to be together and procreate. If not, He would have created two men (or two women) and be done with it.

Also, when two people get married, they enter into a 3-way partnership: husband, wife and God. God is the One that puts a husband and his wife together. God joins two people together so that they are no longer separate, but are as one, even in flesh. So often I see marriages falter or end because that tripartite alliance is not there.

Mat 19:4  He answered, “Have you not read that he who created them from the beginning made them male and female,
Mat 19:5  and said, ‘Therefore a man shall leave his father and his mother and hold fast to his wife, and they shall become one flesh’?
Mat 19:6  So they are no longer two but one flesh. What therefore God has joined together, let not man separate.”

To make a Godly marriage one needs faith, love and dedication to each other and God. In particular one needs love, and God gives us a description of love that fits perfectly with how a husband and wife should love each other:

1Co 13:4  Love is patient and kind; love does not envy or boast; it is not arrogant
1Co 13:5  or rude. It does not insist on its own way; it is not irritable or resentful;
1Co 13:6  it does not rejoice at wrongdoing, but rejoices with the truth.
1Co 13:7  Love bears all things, believes all things, hopes all things, endures all things.
1Co 13:8  Love never ends….

If a husband and wife love each other like that, then there can never be any reason to want to divorce. Unconditional love is what God loves us with, and is the example He sets for us. It would serve us well to emulate that in marriage. As God describes His people as His bride, the analogy fits well.

Too often people trust themselves and are disappointed, and that snowballs to end up in divorce. Married couples must have faith. In fact they must share faith. I’ve not heard of many divorces where husbands and wives read and pray together. A true shared faith takes the focus away from selfish interests and focuses on what is most important… the One who truly makes matches in heaven.

So while there are many divorces, I would argue that it is because marriage has been cheapened to a license from the courthouse, instead of being a sacred agreement before and with God. And those Godly marriages are the true Christian marriages that will last until death and beyond.

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One response to “What is a Christian marriage?

  1. Great article! What we often miss is the fact that it really is the commitment to God that forms the container of marriage. In tough times, when the feelings aren’t there, relying on the commitment is crucial.

    Also, knowing that the commitment is there allows a couple to really become “one flesh.”

    It is not enough to merely stay married. Christians are called to love, not because we are loved by our spouse, but because God loves us, regardless. When we model that love (as much as humanly possible), the divorce rate will drop.

    Rev. Lee H. Baucom, Ph.D.
    author of Save Your Christian Marriage

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