Marriage! What is it?
In our societies today, marriage is losing its meaning. Couples that do not marry in the lawful sense are accepted as the norm.
In days gone by, a couple that were co habiting outside of marriage were said to be “living in sin” or “living over the brush”. (this term is taken from an American deep south old custom of getting married by jumping over a broomstick) a symbol of tying the knot, joining together. There was a song that was sung by Brenda Lee entitled “Come little baby, lets jump the broomstick” which referred to a couple getting married, lawfully.
Terms that are used today are partners, other half, common law wife.
We live in a world today of throw away. If it breaks, don’t mend it, throw it away.
Get a new one.
There is a fantasy of a perfect romantic and sexual relationship, the perfect lifestyle, the perfect body, which by the way usually proves unattainable and never really lives up to our expectations.
This shows up very often in a marriage relationship. We “fall in love” then the other person does not meet our expectations, they don’t come up to our fantasy of a wife or husband and so they are discarded for the next new experience.
This proves to be very destructive in society and causes breakdown in family life and does not lead to stability.
Quote: Marriage is the capstone of the family, the building block of human civilization. A society that does not honour and protect marriage undermines its very existence. Why? Because one of God's designs for marriage is to show the next generation how a husband and wife demonstrate reciprocal, sacrificial love toward each other. (John Macarthur).
The Apostle Paul's rules for Christian Households.
Col 3:18 Wives, submit yourselves unto your own husbands, as it is fit in the Lord.
Col 3:19 Husbands, love your wives, and be not bitter against them.
But when husbands and wives forsake that love, their marriage fails to be what God intended. When marriage fails, the whole family falls apart; when the family fails, the whole society suffers. And stories of suffering fill the headlines every day.
Marriage is a God given sacrament.
Christianity was born out of Judaism.
Jesus Christ said: Matt 5:17 Do not think that I have come to abolish the Law or the Prophets; I have not come to abolish them, but to fulfill them.
In Judaism the wedding ceremony was recognised by those around witnessing as the act of joining a man and a woman together in the sight of God.
When we examine the Jewish wedding ceremony we can obviously see where the western wedding ceremony developed in our churches.
The first Christians were Jews and would have followed the Jewish traditions.
The Wedding Day Ceremony (Chuppah)
As Christians the wedding day should be the happiest and holiest day of one's life. In the Jewish culture this day is considered a personal Yom Kippur for the chatan (Hebrew for groom) and kallah (bride), for on this day all their past mistakes are forgiven as they merge into a new, complete soul. (The act of two becoming one).
Gen 2: 24 For this reason a man shall leave his father and his mother, and be joined to his wife;and they shall become one flesh.
Blessings of Betrothal (Kiddushin)
Giving of the Ring (We see this was adopted in the Western Wedding ceremony)
In Jewish law, a marriage becomes official when the chatan (groom)gives an object of value to the kallah (bride). This is traditionally done with a ring. The ring should be made of plain gold, without blemishes or ornamentation (e.g. stones) ― just as it is hoped that the marriage will be one of simple beauty, an unbroken bond.
The chatan now takes the wedding ring in his hand, and in clear view of two witnesses, declares to the kallah, "Behold, you are betrothed unto me with this ring, according to the law of Moses and Israel." He then places the ring on the forefinger of the bride's right hand. According to Jewish law, this is the central moment of the wedding ceremony, and at this point the couple is fully married.
Ketubah (Marriage Contract) ( The signing of the Marriage Certificate)
Now comes the reading of the ketubah (marriage contract) in the original Aramaic text. The ketubah outlines the chatan's various responsibilities ― to provide his wife with food, shelter and clothing, and to be attentive to her emotional needs. Protecting the rights of a Jewish wife is so important that the marriage may not be solemnised until the contract has been completed.
The document is signed by two witnesses, and has the standing of a legally binding agreement. The ketubah is the property of the kallah and she must have access to it throughout their marriage.
Marriage ceremonies were recognised by Jesus. Jesus attended the wedding at Cana.
Jesus mother Mary, was betrothed to Joseph.
The Angel said to Joseph, “Fear not to take Mary as your wife”.
So we can see that marriage is not just a pledge in the sight of God but a legally binding contract between a man and a woman in the presence of witnesses.
However, we are seeing this being eroded in society. Especially where God has been removed. It is far easier to separate than to divorce.
As Christians, we are to obey God and we are to live our Christian lives in the light of the Word of God.
There are numerous scriptures that shed light on how we should view marriage.
Marriage is God ordained.
Jeremiah 29:6 Take wives and have sons and daughters; take wives for your sons, and give your daughters in marriage, that they may bear sons and daughters; multiply there, and do not decrease.
Eph 5: 31 ‘For this reason a man will leave his father and mother and be united to his wife, and the two will become one flesh’
1 Corinthians 7:1-40 ESV Now concerning the matters about which you wrote: “It is good for a man not to have sexual relations with a woman.” But because of the temptation to sexual immorality, each man should have his own wife and each woman her own husband. The husband should give to his wife her conjugal rights, and likewise the wife to her husband. For 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. 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.
Hebrews 13:4 ESV Let marriage be held in honor among all, and let the marriage bed be undefiled, for God will judge the sexually immoral and adulterous.
Matt 19. 9 I tell you that anyone who divorces his wife, except for sexual immorality, and marries another woman commits adultery.”
Matthew 19:2-9 ESV And large crowds followed him, and he healed them there. And Pharisees came up to him and tested him by asking, “Is it lawful to divorce one's wife for any cause?” He answered, “Have you not read that he who created them from the beginning made them male and female, and said, ‘Therefore a man shall leave his father and his mother and hold fast to his wife, and the two shall become one flesh’? So they are no longer two but one flesh. What therefore God has joined together, let not man separate.” ...
1 Corinthians 7:39 ESV A wife is bound to her husband as long as he lives. But if her husband dies, she is free to be married to whom she wishes, only in the Lord.
We can see from verses like these that adultery and divorce are not acceptable to God.
Extra marital sex is obviously shown to be wrong and is called “fornication”.
What about Pre marital sex?
Exodus 22:16 ESV “If a man seduces a virgin who is not betrothed and lies with her, he shall give the bride-price for her and make her his wife.
1 Cor 7:8 - 10 Now to the unmarried and widows I say this: It is good for them to remain unmarried, as I am.
9 But if they cannot control themselves, let them marry. For it is better to marry than to burn with passion.
10 To the married I give this command (not I, but the Lord): A wife must not separate from her husband.…
This was something that was accepted as the right thing to do years ago. However this also has been lost in our society.
Ideas of marriage are constantly under attack.
There are those that say that legal ceremonies are unnecessary and out of date. Then there are those who are completely twisting the God ordained marriage by perverting it.
God said marriage is between one man and one woman, yet in our society even the law has been changed to include the marriage between a man and man and a woman and a woman.
Now, more than ever before, is the time for Christians to declare and put on display what the Bible declares: God's standard for marriage and the family is the only standard that can produce meaning, happiness, and fulfilment.