How we approach marriage, more importantly, how we fulfil it, is extremely important to our own welfare and homes. It will either yield great joy and fulfilment or heartache and disappointment. The Biblical principles we will review are general in a statement.
Depending on one’s situation in life, there can be exceptions, especially Principle 1. Some people remain single and never marry. Therefore, these Biblical principles serve as a foundational definition for the subject of marriage.
BIBLICAL PRINCIPLE of MARRIAGE # 1.
A Man needs a Wife.
And the LORD God said, It is not good that the man should be alone; I will make him an help meet for him. – Genesis 2: 18
It has clearly been proven that men live longer and are healthier as a result of marriage. Companionship is a key component to marriage.
To have the same companion from youth to old age is true friendship and love. The word “helper” is really “help meet.” A “help meet” is much more than a mere helper. “Help meet” means companion; it means she is there until the job is finished. (e.g. dog helps)
Help meet also has a strong spiritual tone. A wife helps the man to meet the Lord expectations.
10: Who can find a virtuous woman? for her price is far above rubies.
11: The heart of her husband doth safely trust in her, so that he shall have no need of spoil.
12: She will do him good and not evil all the days of her life.— Proverbs 31
How frequently do you see real rubies, diamonds, emeralds or pearls? The Bible says that an excellent wife is rare than jewels. Men may not be experts about precious gems, but they can discern a virtuous woman is rare more than jewels.
He knows what trusting in her means and how he will be safe with her the rest of his life. He knows that her great value is not about gain or investment. He knows that she is priceless and can never be replaced.
Ladies who want to get married. Be priceless. Gain the trust of your fiancé. Let him know that you will do him good all the days of his life if he marries you. Don’t make yourself cheap because of a movie date, a dinner date or an ice cream cone. You both will have a nice time, but he will look for another wife material.
Any man who is 25 and above here and yet to marry, wave your hand. You need a wife.
For those who claim to be an exception to this principle must need to be truly exceptional. Not marrying a wife/husband does not mean paedophilia, sodomy, masturbating or rape.
I Cor. 7:8-9
But I say to the unmarried and to the widows: It is good for them if they remain even as I am; but if they cannot exercise self-control, let them marry. For it is better to marry than to burn with passion.
BIBLICAL PRINCIPLE of MARRIAGE # 2.
Marriage is a covenant between a man and a woman, initiated by the exchange of vows.
Therefore shall a man leave his father and his mother, and shall cleave unto his wife: and they shall be one flesh. — Genesis 2: 24
Marriage is not a partnership or a contract; it is considerably more than that. Marriage is a covenant. Partnerships and contracts are agreements of “consideration given for consideration received.”
It is not maintained by both parties meeting their obligations; it is a reality of giving oneself regardless of the return value from the other. A covenant is of undetermined length. It is forever or until it can no longer be done, “Until death do us part.”
This covenant causes names to change. This covenant changes the place called “home.” A marriage covenant establishes a preference in relationship greater than parent-child or siblings. A marriage covenant creates a new reality that the whole of creation accepts, including the Creator.
This is why a divorce is more than just breaking a contract. A divorce rips the very fabric of the soul when the marriage covenant is broken. A broken vow, an oath that is breached, or a pledge not fulfilled is an internal dilemma reaching deep into the person that no soothing balm can reach. A broken contract can be solved by paying for the damages, but the damage of a broken covenant continues long after.
Some men and women never quite leave their father and mother when they get married. Consequently, they have not chosen their spouse above all others. In truth of fact, they never made the proper marriage covenant from the beginning and the result become inevitable divorce.
Many pre-marriage counsellors will recommend that a new couple live separately and away from both sets of parents to guarantee that the proper bond (cleaving) is established in the marriage.
Becoming “one flesh” is the consummation of the verbal vows, but it is not a replacement for them. Becoming “one flesh” before the vows of marriage is fornication and distorts the entire pattern and purpose of intimacy in the marriage.
If you have been living together as partners without a vow, your marriage is faulty and shaky. You need to arrange to exchange your vows.
Some believe that marriage is too costly, so they opt for civil partnership. But what you should not eat, why try to smell it.
Our society has also sought to redefine what marriage is, but can one re-define what they didn’t define in the first place? No. God defined marriage, only Him can re-define it if He so wishes. It has to be a union between a man and a woman, period. Every other kind of a union is a sin, regardless of the spirituality or the calibre of who is in it.
BIBLICAL PRINCIPLE of MARRIAGE # 3.
The Husband is the head of the house and responsible for the marriage.
Unto the woman he said, I will greatly multiply thy sorrow and thy conception; in sorrow thou shalt bring forth children; and thy desire shall be to thy husband, and he shall rule over thee. — Genesis 3: 16
This verse is probably hated by more women than any other verse in the Bible, “he shall rule over you.” To a woman, these words confront her unbelief and mistrust in her husband, particularly having known his shortcomings. From a counselor’s point of view, it is evidence of not loving her husband. Love believes all things.
True and mature leaders know that the authority to rule comes after full responsibility has been accepted. True authority is given by those who are under the rule. Demanding authority over another or exercising that authority to prove its existence is a leader on the path to failure. A wife’s desire for her husband will naturally result in her giving him authority over her because she believes he has taken full responsibility for her.
During the courtship phase of a marriage relationship, the man pursues his prospective wife. It’s like a game. Actually, he chases her until she gets caught! While in marriage, the woman effort is to have him to herself alone.
What was done in courtship should not end at the wedding? The marriage should continue with the man initiating and the woman completing. Should a correction be needed or should something need to be started it is the husband’s responsibility and duty to start the actions?
Does this mean that the man is only to blame when something goes wrong? Is it the husband’s fault if the marriage fails? No. But God will start the blame from him (Adam, where are you? Though He didn’t stop there, He blame Eve also and even the Serpent).
Some may claim that the verse is a curse and that they reject it. Yes, we are to reject curses, yet God still has order he has put in place in every establishment. In the home, the husband is the head for orderliness.
I Cor. 11:3
But I want you to realize that the head of every man is Christ, and the head of the woman is man, and the head of Christ is God.
One of the quickest ways to be popular or make fortune is Women Advocacy. If the truth were to be told, women are to be given more opportunities in the society, but at home, the husband is in charge.
The mode of leading or the method of ruling in the home by the husband is very important. It must not be that of terror; dictatorship, or selfish. Otherwise, it won’t work.
BIBLICAL PRINCIPLE of MARRIAGE # 4.
The Husband is commanded by God to love his wife.
Husbands, love your wives, even as Christ also loved the church, and gave himself for it
That he might sanctify and cleanse it with the washing of water by the word,
That he might present it to himself a glorious church, not having spot, or wrinkle, or any such thing; but that it should be holy and without blemish.
So ought men to love their wives as their own bodies. He that loveth his wife loveth himself.
For no man ever yet hated his own flesh; but nourisheth and cherisheth it, even as the Lord the church:
— Ephesians 5: 25-30
Love in a marriage seems as natural as breathing for the wife. But for the husband, love in the marriage has to be a determined act of his will.
Yes, love is an emotion; yet, for many men in the earlier years of the relationship, it is the “love of the chase.” This is why some men never grow up and keep chasing other women even after being married. God’s command for a man to love his wife is more than an emotion, a feeling, or a game. It is a determined act whereby he must direct his energies for the specific purpose to provide for, to protect, and to be passionate toward his wife.
There is not a wife who doesn’t want her husband to desire her for being a woman. This is where the chasing game is carried on into the marriage. She wants to be pursued and desired before he catches her. The husband must learn to keep chasing his wife, even though she is caught.
Fundamentally, the number one need of a wife in a marriage is love. The husband is commanded to meet this need. By loving his wife socially, he provides her with a home, the resources to live, and a safe and secure place for her and the children. By loving her emotionally, he assures and comforts her, shielding her from fear and harm. By loving her physically, he proves that his attention and focus are on her and she is secure in his desires.
The commandment to love his wife means that the husband is to commit his energy, resources, creativity, and attention, and focus on his wife.
This can be further explained by a song sand by a soul artist called Tina Charles in 1975/76. That she loves to love, but her baby just loves to dance. While she loves to love him; he loves to dance. The problem is without the music, will he still love her?
BIBLICAL PRINCIPLE of MARRIAGE # 5.
The Wife is commanded by God to respect her husband.
Wives, submit yourselves unto your own husbands, as unto the Lord. For the husband is the head of the wife, even as Christ is the head of the church: and he is the saviour of the body. Therefore as the church is subject unto Christ, so let the wives be to their own husbands in every thing.— Ephesians 5: 22-24
Too often, Biblical teachers have equated “be subject” with “obey.” As a consequence, the opposition has grown in the American culture to the extent that many women refuse to say “I promise to love, honour, and obey you” in the traditional wedding vows
Instead of the word “obey” amplifying the phrase “be subject to” or the word “submit,” let’s use the word “respect.” Now let’s restate the commandment. Wives, respect your husband, just as you respect the Lord. That changes something dramatically. Instead of the ultimatum to obey (like a lowly slave), respect opens the door to balance and understanding. Respect is something given in measure to being respectable. Respect is in parallel with love and honour. Obedience does not require love or honour; however, respect does require them.
The number one complaint of distraught wives is that they don’t respect their husbands because their husbands continue to do things not worthy of respect. A husband who does not provide, protect, or show passionate love for his wife is on thin ice for respectability.
But oft times, the man does provide and protect, he is faithful and desires his wife. But the wife treats him in a very disrespectful manner simply because he is a man. Wives who do this should think back to how their mother treated their father. Many times it is a pattern and it is a learned behaviour, so they have to unlearn been disrespected.
This is why God commands wives to respect their husbands. Wives must make a determined decision to accomplish this. It takes energy and a sustained will to do so.
Naturally, what I have found out is that when a man has become intimate with a woman, your respect percentage drops drastically. If it was 100% before, it may drop to 50%. That is why you see a lady of 20 years call her husband of 60 years Baby. She might have been calling him Daddy or Uncle before then. As long as he is baby in her mouth, but lord in her heart, it’s fine.
How a wife respects her husband is a reflection of how she respect Jesus Christ. We sing “To my husband, I surrender, unto thee I freely give, I will ever love and trust him; in his presence daily live. I surrender all, I surrender all, All to thee, my blessed husband, I surrender all”. If God hears a wife sings like that, He will be happy with her.
Fundamentally, the number one need of a man in a marriage is respect. The wife is commanded to meet this need. The commandment to respect your husband means praising your husband, both to him and to others, and submitting to his leadership, guidance, and judgment. Even if he makes a mistake and is wrong. He will learn.
This is how men learn every day at their jobs. A wife who believes she needs to teach her husband by correcting him only succeeds in embarrassing him. When a wife disrespects her husband with critical words, treats him with disdain, and holds him in contempt, she will destroy her primary source of provision and protection from God. She also breaks Gods commandment to respect him. When a wife learns how to respect husband, he’ll treat her like a queen that she is.
BIBLICAL PRINCIPLE of MARRIAGE # 6.
The Husband and Wife are joint heirs to life.
And the rib, which the LORD God had taken from man, made he a woman and brought her unto the man. — Genesis 2: 22
To have children, it requires a man and woman joining together to procreate. A man can not do it alone nor can a woman do it alone, except there is a third party involved, as in our time (surrogacy; implantation). God cannot be mocked. Confuse world.
They jointly form the product of each new child. The woman was not made from the dust of the earth like the man; therefore, she should not be treated like dirt. The woman did not fly down from heaven; therefore, she should not be over anyone’s head. She was taken from her husband’s side; therefore, her rightful place is at his side.
The woman’s need for security can only be met fully by her husband. The husband’s need for respect can only be met fully by his wife. When both needs are being met, the marriage is like the wedding ring. It is made of precious metal and valuable gems; it goes round and round, with no beginning and no end. Life is good and wonderful. When one of the needs (either security or respect) is not being met, the ring is broken. There is now a clear beginning and end to the ring. The ring has become a piece of twisted metal. The passion of love becomes the passion of anger and hate. It leads to treachery. The remaining metal of the ring becomes a bad memory and is pawned for a fraction of its cost. However, the treachery and hate can last long after the divorce.
When both needs are met, the home is a pleasant place for all.
Thy wife shall be as a fruitful vine by the sides of thine house: thy children like olive plants round about thy table. — Psalms 128: 3
To be a joint heir means to share in the same heritage and inheritance. Husbands and wives come from different houses, but when they are joined together, they are part of the same house with the same Heavenly Father.
There is a fundamental difference between a secular and spiritual marriage. A secular marriage is a shared proposition. It’s a mutually agreeable contract. Sometimes, these marriages stay together simply because they don’t have any other choice. The spiritual point of view on marriage is one that embraces the author of marriage. It is one where both the husband and the wife are under the authority of God. But the bottom line is this: a spiritual marriage is where the husband and wife know they were destined for each other. They also share the same problems and joys of life. They make their “choice” for each other believing it is God’s will.
BIBLICAL PRINCIPLE of MARRIAGE # 7
A Wife is God’s grace to the Husband.
Whoso findeth a wife findeth a good thing, and obtaineth favour of the LORD. — Proverbs 18: 22
The favour mentioned here is unmerited favour or grace from God. That means that men don’t deserve all the good they receive from God through their wives.
This is simply a truth that wise men come to learn. For those who have come to understand this will cherish and nurture their wife. That becoming married can make you find greater favour with God.
Even more so, when a wife truly understands that she was presented by the Lord for her husband as a substance of value, she too has developed wisdom. She will carry herself with poise and dignity.
House and riches are the inheritance of fathers and a prudent wife is from the LORD. — Proverbs 19: 14
Your parent may leave you with riches, but only God can give you a good wife.
The sermon, Ten Principles of Biblical Marriage, by Pastor Samuel Obafaiye, was delivered on September 16, 2018.