Genesis 2:24 says, “Therefore a man shall leave his father and mother and be joined to his wife, and they shall become one flesh.” God had just put Adam to sleep and after opening his side He removed one of his ribs. It was from Adam's rib that God created the first woman, and she was created to be Adam's wife. It was then that the words of the text were spoken to show the significance of what God had just done. In Matthew 19:6 Jesus incorporated these words into His religion as an authoritative expression of God's will in regard to the institution of marriage. Jesus made this comment on Genesis 2:24, “So then they are no longer two but one flesh. Therefore what God has joined together, let not man separate.” The Old King James says, “let not man put them asunder.” The reference is to divorce. Only God can grant a divorce and that for reasons or a reason stated in His word.
Every thoughtful person will agree that the marriage question is one of vital importance in the opening decades of the 21st century. In fact, it is about the most important question that confronts the American people today, and especially young men and women contemplating marriage. It is a matter of vital importance to the individual and to society as a whole. This is true because marriage is the foundation of the home, and our whole social order stands or falls with the home. Nations are nothing but a collection of families, and the home is either the savior or destroyer of civilization.
There are but two, and only two, lifestyles divinely authorized by God. One is monogamy, the one husband and one wife relationship; and the other is celibacy, the unmarried state. It is God's will that unmarried men and women abstain from sexual relations until they are married. The transgression of this command is called fornication in the Bible, a word that simply means illegal sexual relations of all kinds. Fornication includes sex before marriage, adultery, lesbianism, homosexuality, prostitution, and all other sexual uncleanness. The Bible says, “Marriage is honorable among all, and the bed undefiled, but fornicators and adulterers God will judge”(Hebrews 13:4). Monogamy is the divinely approved relationship between men and women. The family is the divinely approved unit in society, and God wants the family unit preserved and protected. I would like to discuss some thoughts from the text that relate to successful marriage.
The first truth we learn from the text is that the husband-wife relationship is the most important relationship in life. There are other relationships between men and women that are important, such as mother and son, brother and sister, father and daughter etc. However, the relationship between husband and wife is the most important of all the others. After men and women have been given existence by their mothers, the most important relationship of their lives will be that with the person they marry. From the very beginning, God communicated the message to mankind that a man shall leave his father and mother and cleave to his wife, and the two of them shall become one flesh, one social unit. The very fact that God said that when a man marries he is to leave his father and mother teaches that the marriage union is closer than the union to parents. God says that men and women are to disconnect themselves from their parents and be joined to one another. If you cannot agree with this divinely revealed truth, then my advice to you is do not get married. You will make a poor mate. The young woman leaves her father and mother, leaves her home, and sometimes it is a good home, a home of luxury and ease. Yet this girl from a home, where she was loved by her father and mother, will leave that home to share the lot of a man who perhaps does not have much of this world's goods, one who cannot give her the comforts to which she has been accustomed.
She does it simply because of the love she has for that man, for the instinct she has for a mate, and that according to the word of God. She leaves all else to cleave to this man, to take his name, and to be one with him in life. This man and woman leave their homes to cling to one another, to make a life for themselves and start a family of their own. They toil, suffer and sacrifice to rear these children, and in time their children will leave them just as they left their father and mother. Then the father and mother are left together alone as they were when the started and are now going into the sunset of life. They were united for life, and thus we can see that this is indeed the most vital relationship to man and woman.
As God constructed society from the beginning, marriage was designed to overcome loneliness by providing companionship for men and women. Secondly, God designed it to reproduce the human race. Thirdly, it was designed to control and keep sexual passion under proper control. The man is to make the living, love his wife, provide for his wife and children, and protect his wife and children. It is the duty of the woman to provide for the domestic economy, especially in caring for husband and children. A great share of her work is childbearing and child-rearing. One of the important duties of the wife is to satisfy the husband's
sexual needs. His sex urge is stronger than hers. If she fails to satisfy her husband's sexual needs, most likely he will find a woman who will satisfy his needs unless he is a man of strong religious character. The three greatest causes of divorce are money, sex and religion. In the last fifty years this Biblical concept of the importance of the family and the husband-wife relationship has been shattered by powerful social movements in America.
One of them was the sexual revolution of the sixties. A new view of sex has arisen which says it is not wrong or socially unacceptable to have sex with anyone and whensoever you wish, in marriage or out of marriage, with men or with women. Men have always been notorious for sexual laxity, but now the women claim the same right to laxity. By and large virginity is no longer considered a virtue. Men and women have been sexually liberated by society. This was followed by another movement which seeks the absolute liberation of women from the subjection of marriage, childbearing and child-rearing. Radical elements in this movement think the Biblical view of woman makes her inferior and is based on the inequality between men and women. In fact, the feeling is that women no longer need marriage. They now have careers, are financially independent and have equality in the workplace. They now claim the right to have children on their own terms in or out of marriage where they can continue their careers without being restricted to house work and childcare. This presents a serious challenge to the Biblical concept of the home, family and marriage. I say these things not to depress you, but to help our young people who will soon be entering marriage; and I say these things that you might start now to teach your young children what the Bible says about marriage and the husband-wife relationship.
In view of these dangerous, anti-biblical movements in regard to marriage and the home, I would like to point out some problems that young Christians have who are seeking to get married. My counsel to all who are thinking about marriage is to carefully investigate your would-be marriage partner and deliberate well before you take the step of marriage. Many marry without any deliberation and then divorce without any consideration of the consequences. You may wreck your life and jeopordize your soul. When I say deliberate I don't mean simply to think about it and make up your mind or be definitely decided as to your desires. To deliberate means to investigate the person you want to marry and find out if there is anything in his or her background , in their blood or in their past life that would cause your marriage to be unhappy.
I read of a woman who was a Christian well along in years before she got married. She met a man who was near her age, and he seemed in every way to be a worthy man. He dated her and won her affection, and she became his wife. They lived together five years and seemingly were very happy. Then the woman learned that the man had a living wife, from whom he had never been legally divorced when he first met her. Her marriage was not even legal according to the laws of the land and indeed not according to the laws of God. Her supposed husband was a bigamist. and was subject to a penitentiary sentence. The disturbed woman wondered if perhaps she might continue to live with him, if he would obtain a divorce from his other wife and then have another ceremony of marriage.
Now the point is this woman would never have been in this adulterous relationship, if only she had investigated the man before she accepted him. She should have known about this man's past life before she ever allowed him to associate with her. Some people spend more time choosing a car than they do a mate. It is easier to get a marriage license than it is to get a driver's license in some states. At least, to get a driver's license one has to study the driver's manual, know the rules of the road and pass the tests. But to get a marriage license all one has to do is to be old enough, get a blood test and pay for the marriage license. Until the practice of marrying without investigation is corrected we may expect to see the numbers of wrecked marriages continue to increase. No one should enter into the marriage relationship blindly or ignorantly. In addition to the common venereal diseases, the Aids virus is now in the blood of many men and women. To marry any of these people is about the same as signing your death warrant. Marriage is not only a lifetime partnership, it also involves future generations. When a young man selects a woman to be his wife, he is also selecting a mother for his children. When a girl selects her husband, she is also selecting a father for her children. If she does not want to be the mother of an imbecile or a criminal, she had better know what is in the bloodstream of the man she marries. When people have no morals, you cannot count on much of a marriage.
In addition before you enter into the marriage relationship, you should know and understand God's law on divorce. Marriage is a divine institution, and marriage is a distinct privilege given by the Creator. According to God's New Testament law marriage is, “until death do us part.” In the marriage ceremony when you say, “Before God and these witnesses I promise,” God expects you to keep the promise you voluntarily made to Him. The strongest deterrent to divorce is that
promise you made to God to be faithful to your mate, “until death do us part.” The Bible says it is better not to make a vow or promise to God than to make a promise and not keep it. We should be very careful about promises we make to God. The marriage promises to God is the greatest deterrent to the divorce problem.
Now the Bible teaches that divorce is allowable if it is initiated according to God's marriage law. The only marriage God recognizes is monagamy, the husband-wife relationship. The only divorce He recognizes is one that agrees with His divorce law. All remain married unless they divorced in accordance with His law. It is vitally important that married people understand that a civil divorce does not terminate a marriage, unless it is in agreement with God's law on divorce. Jesus gave this law after referring to the creation o f Adam and Eve, “What God has joined together, let not man put asunder.” Under the law of Moses divorce was allowed for various reasons, but under the law of Christ, divorce is allowed only for the one cause of adultery which is one of the forms of sexual immorality called fornication(Matthew 5:31,32; Matthew 19:8,9}. It is very important for married people to understand that a civil divorce does not terminate a marriage unless one or both parties have committed adultery. Adultery is going to bed with another person other than your own husband or wife. In all divorces where adultery is not involved, a civil divorce is no more than a separation. There can be several causes for a separation such as violent and abusive behavior. But they are still husband and wife. and must remain unmarried. Christ's divorce law is stated clearly in Matthew 5:31,32 and Matthew 19:8,9. Under the law of Christ divorce for frivolous reasons is forbidden.