The Basics of a Biblical Marriage: Part 1

John and Susan went to a counselor after much heartache in their marriage. They had gotten married relatively young, in their twenties. When asked what the problem was, John responded, “my wife and I were happy for 20 years!” The counselor replied, “then why did you guys come in today?” John jested, “Then, we met!” John continued, “I never knew what real happiness was until I got married…by then it was too late!”

Susan elbowed her husband and then went into a passionate, painful tirade listing every problem they had ever had in the 20 years they had been married. Susan’s laundry list was rather lengthy: neglect, lack of intimacy, emptiness, loneliness, feeling unloved and unlovable. Not just these, but many other negative emotions have plagued Susan for the past 20 years.

Finally, after allowing this to go on for a sufficient length of time, the counselor got up, walked around the desk and, after asking the wife to stand. The counselor embraced and kissed her passionately. Susan shut up and quietly sat down as though in a daze. The counselor turned to the husband and said, “This is what your wife needs at least three times a week. Can you do this?” John thought for a moment and replied, “Well, I can drop her off here on Mondays and Wednesdays, but on Fridays, I fish.”

The Current Culture of Confusion

Unfortunately, so many marital relationships are like John and Susan. The marital relationship between a husband and wife has grown stale and distant. Not only have marital relationships grown stale and distant, but our current culture appears confused about the reasons for getting married. Why do people get married? If marriages are doomed from the start, then why pursue the “elusive” institution of conjugal bliss? Let us explore a few reasons why a person wants to find “true love.”

First, some people do not want to be single. Some of these people are “in love” with being “in love.” Thinking that a marriage partner will make you content or happy is “wishful thinking.” Second, some men get married to have a housekeeper and cook (like a mom); some girls get married for protection and security (like a dad). A popular reason for marriage is sex, especially having “guilt free” sex after marriage. It has also been said that some people want to get married thinking that their mate will change, or that they can change their mate. Some women marry expecting their husband to change and he doesn’t, while some men marry expecting their wife not to change and she actually does!

When building a house, it is important to have a strong foundation before building the frame of the house. Before the contractor frames the home, one must dig footings and pour concrete in order to ensure a strong foundation. The same concept is true with one’s marriage. If you want to have a strong marriage, then you must have a strong foundation. This strong foundation occurs when Jesus is at the center of the marriage relationship.

My prayer is that God will use these blog posts, regarding these marriage matters, to encourage couples to have a healthy relationship with one another by understanding God’s goals for marriage. In this blog post, I would like to lay a biblical foundation for marriage.[1]

Marriage Is Intentional

In the book of Genesis, the author writes, “Then the Lord God said, “It is not good that the man should be alone; I will make him a helper fit for him” (Gen. 2:18). The author further proclaims, “Therefore a man shall leave his father and his mother and hold fast to his wife, and they shall become one flesh” (Gen. 2:24). The author declares that marriage has a purpose. Therefore, a godly marriage consists of a couple that must be committed to fulfill God’s purposes for marriage.

In these two verses, we can see three purposes that God has planned for our marriage. First, God has ordained marriage for companionship – not good for man to be alone (Gen. 2:18a) God created man and women to be in a relationship. Not everyone will get married; there is a gift of singleness that Paul alludes to in 1 Corinthians 7. But for most of us, we will be married.

Second, God has ordained marriage for assistance – I will make a helper suitable for him (Gen. 2:18b). God made Eve to be a helper - means “assistant” or “aid.” A good wife is one who aids her husband and uses her abilities to assist him. She is aware of her strengths and weaknesses in order to know how to use her gifts and abilities to the glory of God. The reality is, no one is good at living life on his or her own with no help. Even if you are single, God has designed us to be in relationships with one-another in order for us to grow in our faith!

Third, God ordained marriage for physical union – man is united to his wife and they will become one flesh (Gen. 2:24c). The “uniting” and becoming “one flesh” is a part of that physical union. This physical union is the basis for procreation and sexual satisfaction. However, there are some warnings in the Bible concerned with our physical union (1 Cor. 7:3-5; Heb. 13:4). Our physical union is important and apart of God’s plan for marriage. We must guard and protect it in order to follow God’s purpose for marriage.

Therefore, if couples will commit to being best friends, helping each other out, and remaining physically intimate, then you can have confidence that your marriage is heading in the right direction.

Questions for Discussion [2]

1. Discuss different reasons for wanting to be married. Which reasons are unbiblical? Which reasons are biblical?

2. If you desire to have a biblical marriage, then why is it important to start with a right foundation?

3. Talk with your spouse about companionship. Ask your spouse, what kinds of activities or hobbies do they enjoy doing? Are there activities or hobbies that you and your spouse can do together?

4. How can a wife be an aid to her husband? What activities can a wife do to assist her husband?

5. Since God has ordained physical intimacy, how can a couple protect and guard their relationship from the world?

6. Make an evaluation of your own marriage. What do you like about your marriage? What do you dislike about your marriage?

[1] This information is taken from my Marriage and Family class notes from The Southern Baptist Theological Seminary and Mid-America Baptist Theological Seminary.

[2] Melanie and I have developed these questions to help couples talk about their marriage.