The world view about marriage has robbed many from enjoying God’s best for man and woman in regards to the greatest institution of all time – The Marriage Covenant Relationship. The reason so many marriages are just existing and not thriving is because most married couples, including Christian marriages, lack this understanding – healthy marriages begin, are sustained and envisioned by Biblical truths. What is even more concerning most churches are unequipped to teach the whole counsel of God’s Word on a relationship that is to last until death do you part.
The prophet Malachi was sent by God to scold the priest and men of Judah, husbands were not staying faithful to their wives. (Malachi 2:13-16; Commentary Critical and Explanatory on the Whole Bible). The church then failed like the church today is not teaching men about the Marriage Covenant. The marriage covenant (בְּרִית beriyṯ ) “a feminine noun meaning an alliance, agreement between human beings (Baker, W., & Carpenter, E. E. (2003). The complete word study dictionary: Old Testament (p. 165). Chattanooga, TN: AMG Publishers.; Proverbs 2:17) The Hebrew word used in Malachi 2:14, “marriage covenant” (חֲבֶרֶת ḥaḇereṯ ) “is a female noun indicating a female companion as bound to a marriage covenant (Baker, W., & Carpenter, E. E. (2003). The complete word study dictionary: Old Testament (p. 312). Chattanooga, TN: AMG Publishers) Men and all of mankind must grasp this truth: This marriage covenant is intended by God to be life long place under His enabling and care so a couple may enjoy unconditional love, reconciliation, sexual purity and growth in all stages and condition in life. Married couples (man and woman, according to Jesus in Matthew 19:4) living in a covenant marriage has the steadfast love of the Lord, enjoying His compassion’s which are new every morning. (Lamentations 3:22)
A God pleasing marriage is not based off a contract, but a covenant. A contract is an agreement between two or more parties, especially one that is written and enforceable by law which are based on protection and mistrust. A true marriage covenant referred to in Malachi (and Jesus referred to in the New Testament) is a bond between two parties holding the concept of cleaving or sticking together like being held by Super Glue.
Covenant marriage relationships live by these truths: It not what I said, but what did you hear? It is not “I take you for me, but I give myself to you.” It ask, “What may I do for you? What can I give?” “I will give 100% plus to help meet our dreams, reach our goals and accomplish our God given vision.” It never says, “I have to do something,” but “I want to do all that is needed.”
A man and woman living under a Biblical Marriage Covenant are seen together, work together in the home and on projects, as well as present a life of common ideology, direction and vision for all to see and be hungry for. Couples living under the “Marriage Covenant” know the Biblical reality of becoming one in flesh and spirit, promised by God to His people as they live in obedience and submission to the Lord, Jesus Christ.
I want to share with you something that is no big revelation, but a simple truth that should always be in the fore thought of our minds, “The world has changed, and it is going to keep changing.” (Marriage, From Surviving to Thriving) While change is certain, the marriage that thrives in uncertain times has a man and wife who set their spiritual hearts on the unchanging truths found in God’s Word.
These truths are: One: the heart of humanity has not changed. Two: the Lord’s will for marriage hasn’t changed. Three: the marriage dedicated to Jesus Christ enjoys God’s faithfulness and compassion. Four: God’s truths revealed in the Word of God will always remain unchanged.
A truth worth grasping in regard to marriage, it is God’s idea, not man’s. The Bible holds a powerful truth written by Moses, “For this reason a man will leave his father and mother and be united to his wife, and they will become one flesh. The man and his wife were both naked, and they felt no shame.” (Genesis 2:24-25) Regarding the Christian marriage, the Apostle Paul quoted this passage of Scripture in his exhortation to husbands and wives in his letter to the church in Ephesus. (Ephesians 5:31) Jesus said during His teaching on marriage, “Haven’t you read, …that at the beginning the Creator `made them male and female.’ …`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. Therefore what God has joined together, let man not separate.” (Matthew 19:4-5)
These very words should draw all of us to a heart desire to be in prayer for those wonderful couples who choose to obey the Lord’s command and make a public profession of their marriage covenant (Malachi 2:14) for one another which is to last “Till Death Do They Part.”
Yes, the world has changed and is going to continue to change. However, God has unchanging truths found in His word that protects the marriage that is under the Lordship of Christ. His protecting and guiding hand is only available to those couples who truly seek His ways. You must choose to search out the teachings of God’s Word, so the Lord can make His ways clear through the trials, temptations, and hardships that arise in the wonderful God ordained institution of marriage. There are essential elements of marriage and you must find Christ’s appointed teachers who can teach you how to apply them.
A Biblically joined marriage enjoys what the Lord knows to be unity. Our key Scripture says, “They shall become one flesh.) (Genesis 2:24) “one” (ehad) “stresses unity while recognizing diversity within the oneness.” (Marriage, From Surviving to Thriving, Swindoll; The Complete Word Study Dictionary: Old Testament)
The perfect Biblical presentation of this is found in Exodus 26:6, “You shall make fifty clasp of gold, and join the curtains to one another with the clasps so that the tabernacle will be a unit.” (Exodus 26:6) Several translations say, “couple the curtains one to the other with clasps, so that the tabernacle may be a single whole one [unit].” (English Standard Version; King James)
Moses used the same Hebrew word for one (ehad) for the building of the tabernacle and for bringing into complex unity of man and woman for marriage. “This unity is diversity brought into harmony.” (Marriage, From Surviving to Thriving, Swindoll)
I especially appreciate an illustration from the book “Love Is A Choice.” What Moses was writing “is the picture that is seen in a figure-skating couple gliding across the ice. The man and woman intertwine their arms and legs, spinning and twirling in perfect synchronized movements with music playing. Their movements are individual, different, yet carefully executed so that you see them as one working unit. Then suddenly they part ways and move in opposite directions, spin in perfect unison, they come together again, creating a beautiful picture of two people living as “one-flesh.” (Marriage, From Surviving to Thriving, Swindoll)
The Christian marriage surrendered to the Lordship of Christ as head of the relationship has individual movements which are different, yet present to an on looking world a picture of unity, a couple working in harmony for the glory of God who created the marriage covenant. There is such a unity, that even when the couple are not together in one place, those who know their lives, know who each person belongs to as well as their vision in this life.
Let God, Christ and the Holy Spirit make you one flesh
A key truth to grasp for enjoying love until death do you part is to understand the love that comes from God is different from the world’s view of love. The Apostle Paul wrote, “Love is patient, love is kind. It does not envy, it does not boast, it is not proud. It is not rude, it is not self-seeking, it is not easily angered, it keeps no record of wrongs. Love does not delight in evil but rejoices with the truth. It always protects, always trusts, always hopes, always perseveres. Love never fails or [ends, ESV].” (1 Corinthians 13:4-8)
The Greek language, the original language of the New Testament uses four separate words that describe different kinds of human affection that are all translated as “love” in English. The Greek word “eros” is defined as a passionate emotion. It is physical sexual attraction, infatuation or lust for power, wealth, or fame. It is commonly selfishly motivated and arises from a person’s own inner desires. However, when this love is governed through “agape” love, “eros” love can be a blessing in marriage. The Greek word “storge” is an affectionate emotion. This love is a naturally born emotion and is typical of the bonds between parent and child. Both of these types of love are very unstable and are easily affected by present circumstances. They can wax cold and wane depending on the whim of the day. A third type of love is “phileo.” This is the cherishing and endearing love of a husband and wife, family members for one another, or the love of life-long friends. The fourth is “Agape,” a self-less love that enables a married couple to show true love regardless of feelings – whether a person feels like expressing actions of love or not. This love enables couples to show love even when harsh words are spoken, when neglected or rejected. It enables couples to enjoy each others successes, victories, and open doors of opportunity. Agape love enables couples to work for the good of each other, for the good of their children, and for the good of each others family.
There is a truth worth grasping, a man and woman who are trusting in God and Jesus Christ in genuine faith may enjoy “agape” love. A marriage that has both couples seeking the Lord with all their hearts will find God faithful (Deuteronomy 4:29; Proverbs 8:17; Jeremiah 29:13; Matthew 7:7; Luke 11:9) to give them an enduring love that will last a life time. Through a genuine relationship with Jesus Christ a man and woman may enjoy what Galatians 5:22 calls “the fruit of the Spirit,” one of them is “love” (ἀγάπη). This love only comes from God and is supernaturally placed within the child of God as he trusts in the Lord to live in a way that is in contrast to the flesh, the world views, and the lies of the devil.
Through God’s love (Agape), married couples find completeness, a new fullness, a new satisfaction, and new contentment. It enables couples to make the right adjustments and sacrifices birthing forth a fuller, joyous, more satisfied life than any life in singleness could experience.
A marriage unified in Christ enjoys true Biblical intimacy. Moses wrote, “…The man and his wife were both naked, and they felt no shame.” (Genesis 2:25)
A Biblical marriage destroys thoughts of self-consciousness, they defeat shame, there is no fear of ridicule, no hang-ups, they can choose to avoid embarrassments and with Christ leading the marriage they miss the emotional hurts from abuse or poor choices.
Biblical intimacy avoids the world’s view which is sex driven to being victorious living through shared discussion, shared silence, shared history, yes, shared trials and heartaches, as well as shared joys.
The marriage couple who builds on the Biblical essentials has a husband who knows his “responsibility is to love his Lord so deeply and accept his [God given call] so completely that he gives himself to his wife without conditions. A marriage surrendered to the Lordship of Christ has a wife who knows her “responsibility to respect her husband so much that she gives herself to her husband without hesitations [every part of her life].” (Marriage, From Surviving to Thriving, Swindoll)
God’s call for marriage is intimacy, not familiarity. Gordon Lester wrote, “Familiarity and intimacy are not the same. Each has a value in life, certainly in married life, but one is no substitute for the other. If one is confused for the other, we have the basis for major human and marital unrest. In marriage, familiarity is inescapable. It happens almost imperceptibly. Intimacy is usually hard to come by. It must be deliberately sought and opened up and responded to. Familiarity brings a degree of ease and comfort. Intimacy excitingly searches for deep understanding and personal appreciation.”
Make it a point to avoid sin that destroys intimacy and surrender to God’s will for marriage so intimacy may be experienced often and enjoyed.
Once a couple makes a Biblical separation, the element of “stability” can be applied. The Bible says, “Be joined with his wife.” (Genesis 2:24) “Joined” (dabag) means to cling to and stay with. The application is something sticking together and when used in a marriage relationship it is a man clinging to his wife, no matter what life throws at them and she sticks with him, thus bringing stability.
While attending Junior High School, our wood working instructor was making a heavy duty work bench. He did not have large enough pieces of wood to make the legs that would be needed to withstand all the stress that would be applied to the table in the upcoming years. He took several pieces of wood and glued them together with wood glue. He put them in a vice and tightened it down. After the glue dried he took the four legs to the wood lave. It spun with tremendous speed and he took different tools and carved the image he desired, amazingly the wood pieces held together. He then attached the four legs to the bench and for 30+ years this bench has withstood all sorts of pounding, moving, and the different weights laid upon it.
The fact is, it does not matter how long you have been married, there is no such thing as marriage reaching a certain milestone which protects it from the temptation of giving up. The effects of Genesis three does not go away with age or weakens because of years of experience. Satan’s attack on marriage is constant until “Death Do You Part.”
There are Biblical proofs of God keeping marriage together as long as couples choose to stick it out. “Adam an Eve endured the harsh consequences of sin: banishment from home, cursed ground, cursed relationship, cursed offspring. Yet they remained together through nine hundred years of life.” (Marriage. From Surviving to Thriving, Charles Swindoll) Joseph and Mary had to trust God’s revelations to them (Matthew 1:18-25; Luke 1:26-38), knowing that most people would not believe them about Mary’s virgin conception. Consider the marriage of Hosea and Gomer: It appears in Scripture there was a season Gomar lived as a prostitute – However, Hosea was told to go to her and love her as his wife again and she was told to live a life of repentance (Hosea 3). I like what Mr. Swindoll wrote, “I can think of no greater conflict in marriage than infidelity. So serious is the damage that the Lord considers it a breach of the marital bond [without the fruit of repentance] He permits divorce. However, that’s not to say that divorce is required or even inevitable.” Hosea could have handed her justice according to the law, but instead he dealt Gomar the mercies of God, again Gomar was expected to produce the fruit of repentance.
Let the overwhelming weights of consequences, circumstance, and conflicts cause you to be joined (dabaq) together in these times when people are saying, “I want to know what love is.”
A marriage that allows God, Christ, and the Holy Spirit of Christ to join the couple together will withstand all the weight that is laid upon it. Many a Christian couple surrendered to the Lordship of Christ has enjoyed the stability of absolute devotion, absolute loyalty, uncompromising affection, and love.