When I look at adverts on TV and some media posts online, I often see a disrespect for marriage. Marriage is often seen as a confinement that may hamper our ability to have what we want. Even most marriage jokes involve a ball and chain type attitude. Marriage today is often mocked as an archaic institution that has lost its relevance. Has it? We need to ask some questions like: What is marriage? Has it become outdated?
It is important to realise first of all that marriage is not a man-made concept. When God created the first man in His own image (Genesis 2:7), He gave that man everything he needed to be content. Yet, God said,
“It is not good for man to be alone. I will make a helper suitable for him.” – Genesis 2:18
So God created a woman from Adam’s side and brought her to the man. The first marriage occurred when God created a woman to complement the needs of the man so that, when joined in covenant, they become one flesh. The idea of “one flesh” implies an unbreakable seal meant to last a lifetime. When Jesus was asked about divorce, He answered,
“For this reason a man will leave his father and mother and be united to his wife, and the two will become one flesh… So they are no longer two, but one flesh. Therefore what God has joined together, let no one separate.” – Matthew 19:5-6
Notice that it is God who joins a man and woman in marriage. Marriage was the first institution God created. It preceded the establishment of either church or government. Marriage was the first social institution. Human beings are designed to function best when they are connected in healthy ways to others, and God’s plan for marriage is to establish strong families.
The Bible contains so much instruction for family members in how they should treat each other so that those emotional needs are met (Ephesians 5:21-33). God designed marriage as one man and one woman for a lifetime (Matthew 19:8-9). However, there is no command in Scripture that everyone must be married. In fact, the apostle Paul favoured singleness as a way to devote more time to serving God (1 Corinthians 7:7-9).
Hope this has given a small overview of what we should think when we are asked about Godly marriage.