Many who think about marriage and family wonder if the idea came from the jungle story, “Me Tarzan, you Jane; come with me to live in my tree house.” Others may think about “The Flintstones” and imagine a man and a woman from a communal group in a cave deciding to move to their own cave together. They came up with a good idea, called it marriage, and when children came along, called it family.
Genesis, written about 3,500 years ago, makes it very clear to us that marriage was God’s good idea, however. God designed and defined marriage when He brought Eve to Adam (Genesis 2:24). We see this model in a traditional church wedding where the bride is escorted down the aisle of a church by her father and brought to her groom. That wedding is made legal by our government through a marriage license, but the union is from God.
It was God’s design that a married man and woman become “one flesh” and through sexual intimacy to fulfill God’s command to “be fruitful and multiply and fill the earth” (Genesis 1:27-28). Adam and Eve’s obedience led to the births of Cain, Abel, Seth and many other sons and daughters (Genesis 4:1-2; 5:1-5). This marriage union resulted in a combination of parents (one father and one mother) and their children that God called a family.
Build Upon the Rock
If a married couple hopes to find the joy and happiness that God intended, each must apply the Scriptural principles God gave to fulfill His design for unity and intimacy. When Jesus talked about family, He described the wise man as the one who built his house upon the Rock. This wise man was the one who took the truths of the Bible and obeyed them. When the principles of the Word of God guide the marriage, families are blessed because they have chosen a solid foundation to build upon. When the winds and floods of life come against them they successfully stand together (Matthew 7:24-25).
There is a plethora of opinions in our world today about how to build a happy marriage. Some redefine marriage far from God’s original design. God made it very clear that unless we let Him do the building, we labor in vain to build a family on man’s ideas (Psalm 127). In today’s world with about 50% of marriages ending in divorce, we need to know God’s blueprint and let Him be the master builder to have a happy marriage committed to a covenant of companionship.
A Covenant of Companionship
A commitment is what a man and a woman say as they exchange their vows before God and witnesses in the wedding ceremony, “for as long as we both shall live” (1 Corinthians 7:39). They vow “for better, for worse, for richer, for poorer, in sickness and in health.” This is a permanent relationship no matter what may come. They are committed to leave their parents, to hold fast to each other, and to become one unit. Marriage is the only place where one plus one equals one (Genesis 2:23-25).
The covenant of marriage in Scripture is a legal, binding agreement that cannot be broken. Traditional wedding vows bind a man and a woman to mutual obligations that each must fulfill, even in the face of difficulty. Covenant is the same word that describes God’s contract with His people, the most comprehensive concept to define one’s relationship with God. He made this promise, “I will be their God, and they will be my people (Jeremiah 31:33). Just as God keeps His covenant promises to His people, He expects the husband and wife to keep their covenant promise to each other (Proverbs 2:17; Malachi 2:14). He gave specific roles in this covenant relationship, commanding the husband to love his wife and the wife to respect her husband (Ephesians 5:33).
Marriage is a commitment to a covenant of companionship. God’s reason for forming Eve was so that Adam wouldn’t be alone; he needed a companion (Genesis 2:20-22). As Adam and Eve spent time together, they grew in companionship both vertically with God and horizontally with each other, growing in many exciting spheres as a model for us to follow for meaningful and lasting companionship in marriage. As they interacted intimately with each other, they grew in spiritual, social, intellectual, emotional, and physical companionship (Genesis 1-3).
When one or more of these primary spheres of companionship is neglected, problems arise in a marriage. The good news is that a couple can find a solution in God’s Word for every issue that creates conflict (1 Corinthians 10:13). Whether communication problems, financial struggles, sexual discord, parental disagreements, or any other differences a couple may have, solutions can be found in God’s Word to build the harmony and oneness that God desires in marriage.
Join the Conversation/Apply God’s Word
- What goals do you and your spouse have for developing greater companionship? List specific steps for how you will reach each goal. Talk about and implement them.
- Memorize Matthew 7:24-25. Now find two or three principles from God’s Word that will make a difference in your relationship next time the rain and winds of conflict blow. Some examples are: Ephesians 4:1-3; Ephesians 5:22-33; Psalm 15:1; Psalm 119:9-11; Joshua 1:7-8; and John 15:12. Apply those to your conflict and watch the stability of the Rock steady your relationship.
Note: This article was originally posted in the Biblical Counseling Center’s e-Counselor’s Weekly Guide. You can read it there at Marriage: Good Idea or God’s Idea?