What Did Jesus Teach About Marriage?

What Did Jesus Teach About Marriage?

What did Jesus teach about marriage? In Matthew 19:3-12 where the Pharisees and teachers of the law asked Jesus about marriage, divorce and remarriage, Jesus went all the way back to Genesis instead of beginning with the laws in Deuteronomy. By doing so, Jesus reminded His listeners (and the readers today) of the true characteristics of marriage as described in the original Edenic Law.

From the first marriage that God established, we learn positively what He had in mind for a man and a woman. If a marriage is built after God’s ideal pattern, the couple will not have to worry about divorce laws. Below are the principles that Jesus taught about marriage.

Marriage is a divinely appointed union.

God designed marriage, which means He knows best how it should operate. God alone can control its character and laws. No court of law can change that which God has established.

Since God designed marriage, it takes three to make a good marriage: God, the husband, and the wife. Steve J. Cole puts it this way: “Marriage is described as a triangle with God at the top. The closer each partner moves to God, the closer they move toward each other. And the further each moves from God, the further they move from each other.”

Marriage is divinely appointed by God

This truth is illustrated in the Garden of Eden when Adam and Eve disobeyed God. They did not only experience alienation from God as a result of their disobedience, they also experienced alienation from each other. When God confronted them, Adam began to blame Eve (Genesis 3:11-12).

*Related Article: What is the Will of God in Marriage? 

Marriage is a physical union.

Jesus says that when a man gets married, he shall leave his father and mother, be joined to his wife, and the two shall become one flesh. And as a result, they are no longer two but one flesh (Matthew 19:5). The term “one flesh” means that just as our bodies are one whole entity which is not divisible, God also intended it to be with marriage. Married couples are no longer two entities, but now there is one entity.

The “one flesh” union between the husband and wife is the fruit of more than just companionship or partnership; it is the expression of oneness found when two bodies are fused in perfect union – the deepest expression of intimacy.

And that is why in the marriage relationship, the Bible says that the wife does not have authority over her own body, but the husband does. Likewise, the husband does not have authority over his own body, but the wife does (1 Corinthians 7:4).

Marriage is a physical union

While husband and wife should be of one mind and heart, the basic union in marriage is physical. Because if a man and woman were just to become “one spirit” in marriage, then death would not dissolve the marriage as it says in 1 Corinthians 7:39, for the spirit, never dies.

So even if the couple disagrees, are “incompatible,” and do not get along, they are still married, for the union is physical.

Marriage is a permanent union.

God’s original design for marriage was for one man and one woman to spend one life together; no man should separate them because they were joined together by God (Matthew 19:6). God says nothing about trial marriages or divorce in His original law. Rather, God’s law requires that the husband and wife enter into marriage without reservations.

Our Lord’s teaching is that Scripture has only one basis for divorce, and that is sexual sin. If two people are divorced on any other basis and marry other mates, they are committing adultery (Matthew 19:9).

What God has joined together, let not man separate

However, it is important to note that the Lord Jesus did not teach that the offended mate had to get a divorce. Certainly, forgiveness, patient healing and a restoration of the broken relationship are possible. This must be the Christian approach to the problem.

Sad to say, because of the hardness of our hearts, oftentimes healing the wounds and saving the marriage becomes impossible (Matthew 19:8). For Christian couples, divorce should be the final option, not the first option.

*Read here: What is the Biblical view of Divorce and Remarriage?

Marriage is a union between one man and one woman.

Genesis 1:26-27 gives us an account of God’s creation of man. It says that God created man in His image and likeness and He created them male and female. The LORD God formed man of the dust of the ground (Genesis 2:7) and made a woman out of one of the man’s ribs (Genesis 2:21-22).

Marriage is between one man and one woman

God did not create two men, two women, two men and one woman or two women and one man. This tells us that gay marriages, group marriages, and other variations are contrary to the will of God, regardless of what some psychologists and jurists may say. God’s original design for marriage is between one man and one woman only.

Marriage makes possible the continuation of the human race.

God’s mandate to the first married couple was, “Be fruitful and multiply” (Genesis 1:28). From the beginning, God commanded that sex be practiced in the commitment of marriage. Outside of marriage, sex becomes a destructive force; but within the loving commitment of marriage, sex can be creative and constructive.

Be fruitful and multiply - Genesis 1:28

What about those couples who do not wish to have children? While Scriptures tell us to multiply and fill the earth (Genesis 1:28) and that children are a blessing from God (Psalm 127:3), there is no specific verse in the Bible that says every single Christian couple must have children.

And if it’s a sin for couples to not want to have children, what about those who are unable to have children? God does not expect all of us to have children. Although in general, bearing children in the context of marriage is the biblical norm, nowhere in the Bible did God condemn an infertile couple or those who chose to not have children.

Conclusion

In closing, let me just say that happy marriages are not accidents. They are the result of love, commitment, sacrifice, mutual understanding and hard work. If a married couple is fulfilling their marriage vows, they will surely enjoy a growing relationship that will satisfy them and keep them true to each other.

For those who are seeking a spouse, you are to seek for one who believes from the heart the scriptural truth of marriage and who is committed to live it out in all its implications, especially as regards divorce and remarriage.

If you are already married, you are to pursue your important calling of faithfully showing forth the beautiful mystery of the everlasting union and communion between Christ and His church.


*Recommended Resource: The Meaning of Marriage, eBook
By Timothy Keller

Are you and your spouse struggling to keep your marriage alive? You’ll welcome Pastor Keller’s wise insights about love and commitment. Drawing from his sermons, he frankly discusses difficulties couples experience and shows how God’s Word can provide a blueprint for a healthy, loving, and lifelong relationship.

An e-book that is perfect for couples, those preparing for marriage, pastors, and counselors.

6 Replies to “What Did Jesus Teach About Marriage?”

  1. I’ll tell you one thing that Jesus never told me, was how expensive the wedding was gonna be! He should banish the wedding suppliers to hell for charging the prices that they do.

    Jesus Christ, I’m never getting divorced cos I couldn’t afford another wedding!

    1. Your wife has a “divorce-proof” marriage for life! Have you checked, perhaps your wife is a co-owner of the wedding suppliers that you hired. Just kidding 😀!

      Laughter is always welcome in a relationship, much more in marriage. It binds the couple with God’s wonderful blessing of joy. After all, a cheerful heart is a good medicine (Proverbs 17:22).

      God bless your marriage.

  2. Hi Alice! The way you organize your thoughts on any certain topic is appreciably enlightening to your readers.

    I am honestly not in favor of divorce in marriage. The bible says divorce is allowed under extreme cases specifically because of sexual immorality. However, the bible also says that God who is the author of marriage hates divorce (Malachi 2:16).

    I would just like to know your opinion in the context of Matthew 19:9. Can it be considered biblical for the person committing sexual immorality to divorce his wife?

    1. Hello brother Jess,

      I believe we’re on the same page in as far as divorce is concerned. Yes, Jesus said in Matthew 19:9 that divorce is permitted only in cases where there is marital unfaithfulness on either parties. Hold it right there! No, actually it wasn’t Jesus or God the Father who allowed divorce. If we read in context what Jesus said, it was Moses who permitted it. Why? The answer is very clear. It’s because of the hardness of man’s heart.

      Divorce was never part of God’s original design for marriage. Sadly, many Christians use this verse to justify their actions.

      By the way, I have an article that talks about the topic of divorce and remarriage more extensively. Here’s the link if you want to check it out:

      https://biblical-christianity.com/what-is-the-biblical-view-of-divorce-and-remarriage

  3. It saddens me that marriage has become so politicized. I know that many unions were formed to create power structures. Marriage was not always about love and raising a family. However, I do love what Christianity teaches about marriage.

    1. Yeah, sad but true. Politicians nowadays will resort to anything in order to gain advantage over their rivals, including restructuring marriage or redefining it in a way that goes against what marriage really is in its original design. But no matter what some liberals or modernists may say, marriage as established by God is between one man and one woman only and it was meant to be a permanent union.

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