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What Does the Bible Say About Marriage?

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Marriage is an important issue in the Christian life. Vast numbers of books, magazines and marriage counseling resources are dedicated to the subject of marriage preparation and marriage improvement. A search of Amazon.com turned up more than 20,000 books on overcoming marital problems and improving communication in marriage.

But have you ever wondered what the Bible has to say about marriage? A quick search reveals more than 500 Old and New Testament references to the words "marriage," "married," "husband," and "wife."

Current Status

According to statistical analysis done on various demographic groups, a marriage starting out today has about 41-43% chance of ending in divorce. Research gathered by Glenn T. Stanton, Director of Global Insight for Cultural and Family Renewal and Senior Analyst for Marriage and Sexuality at Focus on the Family, reveals that evangelical Christians who regularly attend church divorce at a rate 35% lower than secular couples. Similar trends are seen with active Catholics and active mainline Protestants. In contrast, nominal Christians, who seldom or never attend church, have higher divorce rates than secular couples.

Stanton, who is also the author of Why Marriage Matters: Reasons to Believe in Marriage in Postmodern Society, reports, "Religious commitment, rather than mere religious affiliation, contributes to greater levels of marital success."

If a genuine commitment to Christian faith will result in a stronger marriage, then perhaps the Bible really does have something important to say about the subject.

What Does the Bible Says About Marriage?

Obviously, we can't cover all 500-plus verses, so we'll just look at a few key passages. I hope you will read the selected verses with an open mind, consider the analysis, ask your own questions of the heart, and then come to your own conclusions.

Background

Gen. 2:18, 21-24

    The Lord God said, 'It is not good for the man to be alone. I will make a helper suitable for him'...and while he was sleeping, he took one of the man's ribs and closed up the place with flesh.

    Then the Lord God made a woman from the rib he had taken out of the man, and he brought her to the man. The man said, 'This is now bone of my bones and flesh of my flesh; she shall be called 'woman,' for she was taken out of man.' For this reason a man will leave his father and mother and be united to his wife, and they will become one flesh. (NIV)

Here we see the first wedding. We can conclude from this account in Genesis that marriage is God's idea, designed and instituted by the Creator. In these verses we also discover that at the heart of God's design for marriage is companionship and intimacy.

What Does the Bible Say?
• Marriage was designed for companionship and intimacy.

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