This weekend, Linda and I will be at Muskoka Bible Centre to lead a Couples Retreat (http://www.muskokabiblecentre.com/). As we’ve prepared to speak at this conference, we’ve taken a fresh look at what the Bible has to say about marriage. We’ve also done some personal evaluation of our own marriage—allowing God’s Word to provide both direction and correction.
We are both convinced that the way to have a healthy, holy marriage is to have God’s Word as the plumb line for marriage, God’s Son as the pattern for marriage (the relationship between Christ and the Church) and God’s Spirit as the power for marriage.
In the opening session on Friday night, we plan to look at God’s original intent for marriage from Genesis 1-2. Since most of you won’t be there, here’s a summary of four foundational truths for a rock-solid marriage that will discover in Genesis 2:24: “For this reason a man will leave his father and mother and be united to his wife, and they will become one flesh.”
1. Marriage is designed with a man and woman in mind
God designed marriage as the union of “a man” and “his wife.” One man. One woman. God created the man and woman to be “suitable” for one another (Genesis 2:18) and similar to one another (they both equally share the image of God—Genesis 1:27). But He also designed us to be different from one another. It’s helpful to remember that our similarities and our differences are there by God’s design.
2. Marriage is designed to reorder relationships
God intends marriage to change family relationships: “a man shall leave his father and mother.” This “leaving” of father and mother does not negate the command to “honour father and mother” (Exodus 20:12; Ephesians 6:2), but it does reorder relationships. From now on the closest human relationship a husband and wife are to have is their relationship with one another. Keep that in mind the next time you have to choose between pleasing your parents and pleasing your spouse.
3. Marriage is designed to provide a covenant companion for life
The Hebrew word translated “united” (“…be united to his wife”) has the idea of a close, powerful bond. The Bible later speaks of this bond as a covenant (Proverbs 2:17; Malachi 2:14). The marriage covenant bond is meant to provide commitment and companionship—stability and sweetness—to a marriage.
4. Marriage is designed to result in physical intimacy
Becoming one flesh is the physical expression of the marriage covenant. One man. One woman. One covenant bond. One flesh. God intends the fires of sexual passion to burn bright—but always within the fireplace of the marriage union.
So here’s a few questions for all us who are married: How are you doing when it comes to living out God’s design for marriage? Which of the four areas above needs special attention right now? What steps will you take this week?