Marriage can be the most beautiful and painful of relationships. In marriage, you are brought behind the curtain and are exposed to a real person, not the idealized projection most of us put forward. Your husband or wife will see your greatest strengths and greatest weakness at the same time.
It has the potential to be the deepest, most meaningful relationship in your life and will change you one way or another. With that being said, you may not see the importance of this relationship reflected in culture.
According to PBS, marriages in America have steadily been falling and now “barely more than half of the adults in the U.S. say they’re living with a spouse. It is the lowest share on record, and down from 70 percent in 1967.” The significant nature of a marriage may not be understood by the culture at large today, but that doesn’t mean it isn’t important. With that in mind, what does the Bible say about marriage?
The theme of marriage runs throughout the whole of Scripture. In Genesis, God establishes marriage between Adam and Eve, and in Revelation, Jesus, the Bridegroom comes for his bride, the Church.
The institution of marriage is one of the primary ways God describes being in relationship with himself, which is why we find so many verses about marriage in the Bible. Let’s look at a few of these Bible verses for married couples.
What Does the Bible Say About Marriage?
That is why a man leaves his father and mother and is united to his wife, and they become one flesh. – Genesis 2:24
This is the foundational verse on marriage. It is the first instance of marriage in the Bible and in all of time. While this verse about married life may seem simple, it is packed with meaning. It acknowledges that both man and woman come from separate families, carrying their own understanding of the world and ways of doing things.
However, as they come together, they aren’t to try to insert the other into their way of living life. Instead, they are to be combined, unifying into one flesh. The language of one flesh comprises all areas of life: mind, body, and spirit. Becoming one with another is one of the most beautiful and painful things in the world. It requires both humility and strength and is the foundation of marriage.
The Love Verse
Love is patient, love is kind. It does not envy, it does not boast, it is not proud. It does not dishonor others, it is not self-seeking, it is not easily angered, it keeps no record of wrongs. Love does not delight in evil but rejoices with the truth. It always protects, always trusts, always hopes, always perseveres. Love never fails. – 1 Corinthians 13:4-8
Is it a Christian wedding if they don’t read 1 Corinthians 13? This verse is known both inside and outside the church and can be found hanging in many Christian homes. The appeal of this verse is clear, but, unfortunately, it has been turned into a cliché.
We cannot blissfully read this verse and move on. Really, it should stop you in your tracks because this verse calls us to a higher standard than we can meet on our own. It is calling us to be patient, kind, humble, other-oriented people, and we will need the help of the Holy Spirit to become this type of person.
While in theory, this verse sounds amazing, in practice, it can be a nightmare. Marriage often tests your patience, kindness, humility, and other-oriented-ness in ways you could never imagine. If people were truly honest, most days this verse doesn’t encapsulate their married life.
This is a powerful verse about love and marriage that we need to get tattooed on the inside of our eyelids because that’s how important it is. These things are what it means to love and in marriage, we need to take this seriously because we are promising to love another. We can’t just let these words hang on our wall; we need them to hang in our hearts.
Mutuality in Sexuality
The husband should fulfill his marital duty to his wife, and likewise the wife to her husband. The wife does not have authority over her own body but yields it to her husband. In the same way, the husband does not have authority over his own body but yields it to his wife. – 1 Corinthians 7:3-4
1 Corinthians 7:3-4 is a less famous passage than chapter 13 and sometimes surprises people. Culture often blames the Bible for perpetuating unhealthy ideologies demeaning and limiting the power of women, while giving unfair license to men. This verse flies in the face of those sentiments.
Here, rather than seeing the Bible perpetuate stereotypes of men being sexual animals and women not having sexual needs, we see the Bible dignify both sexes and acknowledge their needs. In response to these needs, the Bible establishes a clear standard for mutuality in sexuality.
No one is to rule over or dominate another, but both are to exist in a loving mutuality. The Bible has actually been quite progressive in representing mutuality in sexuality.
Set me as a seal upon your heart, as a seal upon your arm, for love is strong as death, jealousy is fierce as the grave. Its flashes are flashes of fire, the very flame of the LORD. Many waters cannot quench love, neither can floods drown it. If a man offered for love all the wealth of his house, he would be utterly despised. – Songs of Solomon 8:6-7
This may be one of the most important verses about marriage in the Bible. It sets everything in context. While marriage is a reflection of our relationship with God and a powerful theological theme throughout Scripture, it is also a passionate romance. In Song of Solomon, we see that passion more clearly than anywhere else.
The bride-to-be asks for the bridegroom to be set as a seal upon his heart, acknowledging the power of love and healthy jealously in a marriage. There is a bond between lovers that is passionate, fierce, and good. It is this passion that carries couples through the turmoil and difficulty of life.
Sometimes Christians can lose sight of their love and passion in marriage, which breaks down in to arguing over roles and functions. The passion of love helps keep us focused on what is important in the relationship, our love for them and their love for us.
Christian Marriage Counseling
As you can see there are a lot of Bible verses about love and marriage. Married life is filled with intimacy, vulnerability, and love. While it is a source of great comfort, it takes great vulnerability and trust to develop a relationship where you can be truly be held in your darkest moments.
Timothy Keller puts it well when he says, “To be loved but not known is comforting but superficial. To be known and not loved is our greatest fear. But to be fully known and truly loved is, well, a lot like being loved by God. It is what we need more than anything. It liberates us from pretense, humbles us out of our self-righteousness, and fortifies us for any difficulty life can throw at us.” (The Meaning of Marriage)
A healthy marriage is one of the most influential forces in someone’s life. It will call them into becoming the person they were meant to be, while at the same time giving them an accurate reflection of they are in their brokenness.
“Wedding in Abruzzo, Courtesy of Foto Pettine, Unsplash.com, CC0 License; “Wedding Rings”, Courtesy of Mel, Unsplash.com, CC0 License; “Mr. and Mrs.” Courtesy of Micheile Henderson, Unsplash.com, CC0 License; “The Kiss”, Courtesy of Frank Mckenna, Unsplash.com, CC0 License
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