A wedding is one of the most celebrated events in a woman’s life. The wedding day itself is a day of celebration with flowers, feasts, beautiful clothing, and happy tears shared with family and friends. Then each year after, the wedding date is celebrated again as the couple remembers their commitment to God and to each other.
Weddings have been a cause for celebration since the very beginning. Throughout the Bible we can read about wedding feasts and the celebration involved with the start of a new marriage. Jesus was even invited to attend a wedding celebration during the early part of his ministry (John 2).
The first wedding ceremony, although simple when compared to today’s standards, must have shared much of the same happiness and emotion. Surely Adam must have felt overwhelming joy when presented with his bride. God created Eve and “brought her to the man” (Genesis 2:22), much as a father walks his daughter down the aisle to her groom. As Adam looked as his bride and they were joined together as man and wife, there must have been much love and hope for their future as he said “therefore shall a man leave his father and his mother and hold fast to his wife.” (Genesis 2:24)
Marriage is truly a wonderful gift from God – one that should be celebrated. As our creator, God knew the nature of man. He knew that we could better enjoy this world He designed for us if we had someone to share it with. “It is not good that the man should be alone,” God said. (Genesis 2:18). So God created a suitable helper for the man, someone who would complete him in every way. And in creating the woman for the man, God also created the union that would join them together – the union of marriage.
Marriage is not an institution created by men. We did not design the idea of marriage; therefore, we do not make up the rules. Marriage is a union created by God alone. But as men often do with God’s creations, there are some who try to change God’s plan for marriage to make it fit their own wants and desires.
What is God’s plan for marriage?
1. Marriage is a union between a man and a woman. This is not a popular idea to discuss anymore, but being unpopular with the world does not make it untrue. Marriage was never designed to join together two men or two women. In fact, God calls the very idea of this kind of union an abomination (Leviticus 20:11). God did not create a man AND a woman for Adam to choose the partner he preferred. Adam, the man, was created first. Then Eve, the woman, was created to be his helper. From the beginning, God designed marriage to be a union between a man and a woman.
2. Marriage is to be between one husband and one wife. Once a man and woman are joined together in marriage, they are to be committed only to one another. God outlines His plan for the marriage relationship in Ephesians 5. The husband is to be the head of the wife just as Christ is the head of the church. The wife is to submit to her husband; while he is commanded to love her the way Christ loves the church and even gave himself for it. (vs. 22-25) There is no room for other men or other women in a marriage that follows God’s plan.
3. Marriage is God’s chosen vehicle for bringing children into the world. Children are one of God’s greatest blessings. They are a “heritage from the Lord, the fruit of the womb a reward” (Psalm 127:3). After God joined together Adam and Eve, He blessed them and encouraged them to be fruitful and multiply (Genesis 1:28). But God’s plan does not encourage all people everywhere to have children with whomever they wish. Over and over throughout the Old Testament, God warned His people “Do not commit adultery.” (Exodus 20:14). In the New Testament, Jesus even takes the law a step farther when he said that even looking on a woman with lustful intent is the same as committing adultery in the heart. (Matthew 5:28). If we follow God’s plan for marriage, children are a blessing to be enjoyed within the marriage because the sexual relationship is only to be enjoyed within the marriage.
4. Marriage is intended to last. This is quickly becoming another very unpopular, although very true part of God’s plan for marriage. Today couples plan little and marry quickly without much thought for the future. Divorces are granted every day for any reason a couple can invent. But God’s plan for marriage does not provide for an “easy way out” in case the couple changes their mind in a year or two. Jesus taught that anyone who divorces his wife and marries another commits adultery (Matthew 5:32, Mark 10:11). In fact, the only reason that divorce would be permitted is if one partner is unfaithful (Matthew 19:9). “A wife is bound to her husband as long as he lives” (Romans 7:2).
Marriage is not an institution that needs a makeover. It is not the job of the government or any other group to insert their opinions or determine who can marry or when and how a marriage can be dissolved. Marriage is an honorable institution (Hebrews 13:4), a law created by God (Romans 7:2-3). And as the creator, God is the only one with the authority to make or change the plan for marriage.
A marriage between a new husband and his bride is certainly a cause for celebration. And so is a faithful, mature marriage that has stood the test of time. Marriage involves more than just finding our own personal happiness and sharing our life with another person as long as we find happiness in it. Marriage involves a lifelong commitment – to our spouse and to God’s perfect plan.
By Valerie Enoch
printed in the Summer 2012 issue V5N3