The Institution of Marriage (1 Cor. 7:2)

Marriage is the first institution established by God in Eden during creation week, and it was verified by Jesus in the New Testament as a permanent union between a man and a woman in devoted togetherness. For the disciple of Jesus, the dedication is not only to their mate but also to God, and according to the Bible this union should only happen between two people who are both believers in God.

God created marriage for husbands and wives to enjoy much needed community and to feel connected to another human being in interdependence for life. In fact, most marriage vows include the words “…to have and to hold from this day forward ‘til death do us part.” Being together and staying together seems to be the reason most couples get married, and certainly the reason God invented marriage.

The Bible is replete of reliable counsel to help us navigate our marriage relationship for the utmost enjoyment. The more we spend time readying the counsels in God’s Word with our spouse, the more likely we will be to be in sync with God’s plan for us in marriage.

In 1 Corinthians 7:2 the Bible states: “But because of the temptation to sexual immorality, each man should have his own wife and each woman her own husband.” Later, in verse 5 of the same chapter, the counsel continues: “Do not deprive one another, except perhaps by agreement for a limited time, that you may devote yourselves to prayer; but then come together again, so that Satan may not tempt you because of your lack of self-control.”

If we take the counsel of the Bible seriously, we would have to agree that the institution of marriage is to be entered into by a man and a woman whose plan it is to avoid sin by being careful to satisfy each other, not only by staying together but by frequently being mindful of each other’s needs for closeness, companionship and unity, and being committed to assisting with this reality.

God knew that everything He created for the good of humankind would be a target of the evil one. This is the reason God gave such careful instructions for those entering into this exclusive relationship, so they would be mindful of what it would take to make the marriage relationship succeed. In 1 Corinthians 13:4, God’s counsel is to be patient and kind—important indicators identifying the presence of true love in a marriage relationship.

Since God is the personification of true love, loving like God is the only sustainable fuel for a healthy marriage relationship. Hence, it is vital to note that “God so loved the world that He gave…” (John 3:16), reminding us that to love means to give, rather than to get. So, as long as we approach the marriage relationship from the perspective of ‘what I can get’ rather than the assessment of ‘what can I give;’ God’s intent for our happiness and fulfillment will forever elude us until we embrace his formula for marriage success.

We hope you will choose patience and kindness today as you help build your marriage to go the distance by the grace and power of our loving God.