What Does The Bible Say About Marriage? (7 surprising truths) (2023)

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What does the Bible say about marriage?What does a Biblical marriage look like?

The Bible talks a lot about marriage. And a lot of what the Bible teaches runs contrary to what our culture says about marriage. I want to examine what the Bible says and how that should impact our understanding of marriage.

I believe what the Bible teaches about marriage is true. But I also believe that if we follow what the Bible teaches about marriage it will profoundly change our marriages. It’s not just true, it’s helpful.

If you want to read through a list of scriptures on marriage you can find that here: Bible Verses About Marriage

Disclaimer About What Does The Bible Say About Marriage?

We are going to look at seven truths about what the Bible says about marriage. But before we dive into that we need to be on the same page. In this article we will be looking at marriage through a Biblical lens. If you are not a Christian then there will obviously be disagreement. That’s okay.

If you are not following Jesus, what the Bible says about marriage shouldn’t be the primary question that should concern you. Instead you should wrestle through who Jesus is, what Jesus did, and what impact that holds for you. That comes first.

I say that because many Christians try to force a Christian ethic upon non-Christians. I don’t want to do this in this article. I don’t think that’s right or what Jesus did. Figure out who Jesus is first. The rest will follow. More about that here: Following Jesus (and what that means)

7 Truths On What The Bible Says About Marriage

With that in mind lets dive into what the Bible says about marriage and see what a Biblical marriage should look like. Here’s 7 truths about the Christian marriage.

1. Marriage Is Not Mandatory (there’s benefits to being single)

We tend to overvalue marriage in Christian circles. We act like everyone should be married and tend to look down on those that are not. Especially in the leadership circles within Christianity. If you aren’t married you are second class and your voice doesn’t matter. At least not as much.

Now, I want to be very careful with this point. I don’t want to downplay the importance of marriage and the role it plays in our growth. I know for me I would in no way be who I am or capable of doing what I do without my wife.

However, we should not assume that because some, or even most, benefit from marriage that all benefit. Some people will not and should not experience marriage. God has other plans for them. And that’s a good thing to be celebrated. In fact it comes with advantages.

Not being married allows certain freedoms and abilities that those married simply don’t have. That should be celebrate AS MUCH as those who are married. Both singleness and marriage are a gift from God. (1 Corinthians 7:6-7, Matthew 19:11-12)

What does the Bible say about marriage? We should view marriage AND singleness as a gift from God.

2. Marriage Is About Companionship

First and foremost Biblical marriage is about companionship. Marriage is about friendship more than anything else.

That’s the first thing God says when he creates marriage in Genesis 2:18. He lays out that the foundation of marriage is a friendship of two co-equals coming together as one. There’s much more to be said about this passage, but that will have to wait until another blog post.

According to the story of creation human beings are built deficient in a way. We were designed for each other. This isn’t a consequence of the fall, instead it’s an intentional part of our design. God created Adam with a deficiency that would cause him to seek out an intimate relationship.

Humans are social beings and we are made for each other. We need each other. We are better together than apart. Marriage exists to meet the needs that exist within us.

What does the Bible say about marriage? Biblical marriage should be centered around friendship.

Want to learn more about the story of creation? Check out: The Story Of Creation And It’s Surprising Meaning

3. Marriage Irreversible By Design

When we enter into a marriage we are united with each other. The two become one in ways that we don’t fully comprehend. Jesus makes this clear in Matthew 5:31-32 and Matthew 19:1-12. Marriage is a union that is irreversible.

What is a union? A union is when two things become joined together in such a fashion that they cannot go back to their original state. When two become one it is impossible for the two to go back to the original state they existed in before.

Think of the last meal you ate. In a way, you entered into a union with that food. You and the food were joined together and became one. You cannot go back to the two separate states you were before. Even if you threw it up… I know gross, but hang with me… parts of you would come up with the food and parts of the food would stay in you. Because a union is the intertwining of two separate things into one. And you cannot separate them the same afterward.

That’s why God designed marriage to last a lifetime. And that’s why divorce is always messy. There’s no such thing as a clean break in marriage.

What does the Bible say about marriage? The two become one in a way that is irreversible.

For more about this topic check out:
4 Surprising Truths About Sex
What The Bible Says About Divorce

4. Marriage Reflects The Image Of God

God designed our marriages to be a demonstration, a picture, to a watching world of the relationship of Christ to His bride, the church. Marriage is a way in which God speaks to the world around us through our changed lives.

Paul argues that marriage is intended to say something visually and representatively about Christ and the church to those around us. (Ephesians 5:31-32)

Your marriage is a witness; whether you like it or not, your marriage is saying something about God to those around you. Kids’ biggest influence about what they believe about God will largely come from their parents’ marriage. God designed marriage to reflect His image and tell those around us about Him.

When people see a married couple they should see something of beauty, wholeness, and love. It should give them a picture of who God is. In essence, your marriage is a sermon.

What does the Bible say about marriage? Biblical marriage reflects the image of God to those watching.

5. Marriage Is About Your Transformation

Many enter into marriage to find bliss and happiness. But God didn’t design marriage to make us happy, He designed it to transform us. It’s through marriage that God refines us into who He created us to be. The purpose isn’t to make us happy, it’s to make us holy.

Now, I’m not saying that in marriage happiness doesn’t matter. It does. A lot. I’ve never seen a good marriage that didn’t contain lots of joy and happiness. But that’s a by-product, not the primary goal.

When we enter into a marriage expecting to only find happiness we will be sorely disappointed. Marriage is difficult. But those hardships will help us become who God has created us to be.

Ironically when we understand marriage isn’t primarily about our happiness that’s when we will find deep levels of happiness.

What does the Bible say about marriage? God is more concerned with our holiness, happiness is the by-product.

6. Husband/Wife Are Different But Equal

“So God created man in his own image, in the image of God he created him; male and female he created them.” Genesis 1:27

Adam and Eve are equal in value and dignity. Both men and women are created in the image of God. One is not greater than the other. For much of human history men have been valued over women. We can see this is clearly not God’s design through the work of Jesus. He continually elevated women in a society which put them down.

You can read more about Jesus’ treatment of women here: How Jesus Treated Women

While Adam and Eve are equal, they are also different. Where Adam is weak, Eve is strong. Where Eve is weak, Adam is strong. Together they can do what they could not do individually.

In a marriage we should celebrate the strengths of our spouse. They can do things we cannot do. That doesn’t make them better, but it does make the marriage better.

Men and women are equal. But they are different. God has given each of us different strengths and abilities. We shouldn’t use those difference to beat our spouses down. Rather use our differences to elevate our marriages.

What does the Bible say about marriage? Our differences in our marriage are what makes us stronger.

For more about this, check out: The True Meaning Of Helpmate (4 powerful truths from Genesis 2:18)

7. Sex Is Reserved For Marriage

A good and loving parent always gives their children rules. Letting a child do whatever they want is not loving. Rules keep children safe, healthy, and help them develop. They are what is best for them, even if the child doesn’t understand why.

We all know that. But for some reason we fail to take that same reasoning to God. We think a loving God should let us do what we want, what we think is best. A good God should have no rules.

But because God is a good and loving father He has given us rules. Not to kill our joy and end our fun. But to protect us, to keep us healthy, and to help us grow into who we are created to be.

Sex has rules. God ordained rules. Why? Because God loves us and wants what’s best for us.

Yet many Christians have reasoned their way to a belief that it doesn’t really matter who you sleep with. But let me ask you a question. Is it possible that God can see and understand things that you cannot? Is it possible that that rule that seems so archaic and prohibitive is actually for your good?

Here’s my point. We are finite. God is infinite. As followers of Jesus we are called to submit to what He says is the correct way to live because we believe He has our best interests in mind. Even when it doesn’t make sense to us.

So yes, sex has rules. But probably not as many as you think…

The Bible clearly and consistently says sex is reserved for marriage. Anything outside of that is going against what God says is best. That’s not God being a killjoy. It’s God protecting us from harm and wanting the best for us.

The Bible makes clear time and time again, that sex was designed for the confines of marriage. The Bible’s view on sexuality is rather straight forward. Basically the Bible says that sex is beautiful within certain boundaries and typically brutal, dehumanizing, and harmful outside of those boundaries.

What does the Bible say about marriage? Sex can only be fully experienced within the confines of marriage.

Closing Thoughts On What The Bible Says About Marriage

Obviously there’s much more that could be said about marriage. But I think these 7 lessons help us understand the overview of what the Bible teaches us about marriage.

Again, this is written from a Biblical prospective. If you aren’t following Jesus there’s obviously going to be disagreement, that’s okay. Keep wrestling with who He is and what He did. The rest will follow.

If you want to dive a little further into this question, “what does the Bible say about marriage?” let me offer you some resources. These are books I have read and benefited from, not just random books. They are great resources that can help you come to a deeper understanding of how God designed marriage and how to live that out.

Thanks for reading! I hope that this teaching on what the Bible says about marriage has helped you rethink parts of your life and faith. If it did would you share this post with a friend or two? That way they can benefit from it as you have. See you next time!

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Jeffery Curtis Poor

Husband. Father. Pastor. Church Planter. Writer. Trying to be more like Jesus each day.

BA in Biblical Studies - Ozark Christian College (2012)
MA in Theology - Regent University (2019)

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