The wise-cracking Mae West was quoted as saying, "Marriage is a great institution, but I'm not ready for an institution." Sometimes it appears that most people share Mae's cynical view of marriage. Divorce is so common that hardly anyone thinks of it as a tragedy anymore -- except, perhaps, the ones experiencing it. Somewhere along the line the idea of permanence was thrown aside. "Till death do us part" is still part of most wedding ceremonies, but we wonder if the two people take the words seriously.
The Bible has a high view of marriage. It is to be a lifetime plan, not a convenience that can be disposed of in a lawyer's office. The love of husband and wife is, at its best, a hint of the deeper love between a human being and God.
Give honor to marriage, and remain faithful to one another in marriage. God will surely judge people who are immoral and those who commit adultery.
Drink water from your own well -- share your love only with your wife. Why spill the water of your springs in public, having sex with just anyone? You should reserve it for yourselves. Don't share it with strangers.
Let your wife be a fountain of blessing for you. Rejoice in the wife of your youth. May you always be captivated by her love.
The man who finds a wife finds a treasure and receives favor from the LORD .
The apostle Paul, who was single, recommended the single life for people like himself, dedicated to God's service. But Paul was realistic enough to know that most people, no matter how deep their faith, were better off married than facing the temptations of the single life:
Because there is so much sexual immorality, each man should have his own wife, and each woman should have her own husband.
The husband should not deprive his wife of sexual intimacy, which is her right as a married woman, nor should the wife deprive her husband. . . I wish everyone could get along without marrying, just as I do. But we are not all the same. God gives some the gift of marriage, and to others he gives the gift of singleness.
Now I say to those who aren't married and to widows -- it's better to stay unmarried, just as I am. But if they can't control themselves, they should go ahead and marry. It's better to marry than to burn with lust.
1 Corinthians 7:2-3, 7-9
Paul also addressed a ticklish situation: What if a Christian's spouse is not a Christian?
Now, I will speak to the rest of you, though I do not have a direct command from the Lord. If a Christian man has a wife who is an unbeliever and she is willing to continue living with him, he must not leave her. And if a Christian woman has a husband who is an unbeliever, and he is willing to continue living with her, she must not leave him. For the Christian wife brings holiness to her marriage, and the Christian husband brings holiness to his marriage. Otherwise, your children would not have a godly influence, but now they are set apart for him. (But if the husband or wife who isn't a Christian insists on leaving, let them go. In such cases the Christian husband or wife is not required to stay with them, for God wants his children to live in peace.) You wives must remember that your husbands might be converted because of you. And you husbands must remember that your wives might be converted because of you.
1 Corinthians 7:12-16
Paul had much to say on the subject of marriage. He has been accused of being "anti-woman" because of his discussion of a wife's "submission." The passage here will show that he did not have in mind an abusive or dominating relationship, but one based on mutual love.
You will submit to one another out of reverence for Christ. You wives will submit to your husbands as you do to the Lord. For a husband is the head of his wife as Christ is the head of his body, the church; he gave his life to be her Savior. As the church submits to Christ, so you wives must submit to your husbands in everything.
And you husbands must love your wives with the same love Christ showed the church. He gave up his life for her to make her holy and clean, washed by baptism and God's word. He did this to present her to himself as a glorious church without a spot or wrinkle or any other blemish. Instead, she will be holy and without fault. In the same way, husbands ought to love their wives as they love their own bodies. For a man is actually loving himself when he loves his wife. No one hates his own body but lovingly cares for it, just as Christ cares for his body, which is the church. And we are his body.
As the Scriptures say, "A man leaves his father and mother and is joined to his wife, and the two are united into one." This is a great mystery, but it is an illustration of the way Christ and the church are one. So again I say, each man must love his wife as he loves himself, and the wife must respect her husband.
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