Why Christian Marriage?

There are many marriage options in Kenya. Among them are cultural marriage, marriage at the attorney general’s office, come we stay, and other religious ways of marriage. Christians believe that the marriage institution was initiated by God (Genesis 2:18-25). However, despite that, marriage is not obligatory (Matthew 19:12), yet the Bible still shares so much about marriage. Now that we also have many other ways through which people can get married, why should people consider Christian marriage above the different ways mentioned?

Why was Marriage Instituted?

The book of Genesis informs us of the founder of marriage and why he established this institution. The word of God shares the following reasons for marriage:

  1. For companionship: God saw in Genesis 2:18 that it was not good for man to be alone and created a helper suitable for him. 
  2. Sexual intimacy: Sex is confined within the committed relationship of marriage, outside which it is prone to abuse (Hebrews 13:4; Proverbs 5:18-19). Marriage guards God’s people from sexual immorality (1 Corinthians 6:18; 7:6-9).
  3. Procreation: God commanded Adam and Eve to be productive and fruitful and to fill the earth (Genesis 1:28). The Christian marriage institution is an avenue that allows for the flourishing of godly seed as God commands in Malachi 2:13-15. 
  4. Marriage refines our Christlike Character: In Marriage, husbands are asked to love as Christ loves and wives to submit as unto the Lord, thus having a sanctifying effect (Ephesians 5:21-25). It then becomes a lifelong journey of submission and growth into Christlikeness. 
  5. A picture of Christ and the church: The believers are referred to as the bride of Christ, and Christ gave his life to make his bride holy, cleansing her by his word (Ephesians 5:25-26). At the second coming of Christ, the groom will be officially united with the bride, and they will live eternally together (Revelations 19:7-9; 21:1-2)

Christian marriage is established from the foundation of God’s purpose for marriage, with him as the initiator. This gives the spouses a higher sense of accountability as they become answerable to God first.

The Biblical Marriage Values

Now that God initiated marriage, did he start it to let it run independently? The answer is NO. God gave human beings instructions in the scriptures to guide them on matters marriage. He guides the man and the woman on how to live with each other in the Lord (Ephesians 5:21-33). God guides the spouses on parenting (Ephesians 6:1- 2). He sets the standard for the kind of parenting he desires: one that will result in godly offspring (Malachi 2:15-16). God has determined that marriage should exist for all the years the couples are alive (Matthew 19:6). The Bible also indicates to the elderly that they should leave an inheritance to their children (Proverbs 13:22). 

The Value Given to Women and Men

The Bible has placed very high value and worth on both men and women (Genesis 1:27). For example, in most of our Traditional African cultures, women are not seen as equal to men in any sense at all. Like children, they are to be seen and not to be heard. They are also viewed as a man’s property in some communities. The Bible, on the other hand, portrays women as those made in God’s image (Genesis 5:1-2), with their own ways of fending for their families (Proverbs 31:10-31), and also able to defend their families against danger with their subtle God-given abilities (1 Samuel 25:32-34). In Abigail’s case, David commends her for her sound judgment (Mental capacity) and for helping him not sin against God (Spiritual ability). The Genealogy of Christ had women too–some even of questionable character. These included Tamar, Rahab, Ruth, and Bathsheba, whom God used in fulfilling his redemptive plan. 

The Accountability Aspect of the Church

The church has set up an accountability and support system that ensures that all people continue honouring marriages. Being in a Christian marriage offers many resources to help your marriage stand the test of time. Some support forums by the church include:

  1. Counselling: During conflict beyond solving between couples, pastors offer needed counselling and moral support (Acts 20:28).  
  2. Encouragement by fellow Christians: In the church, we can do marriage with other believers and hence find encouragement when need be (Romans 15:1-2). Fellow Christians create a necessary accountability system. 
  3. Community around our children: The church provides a community that will help nurture your children in a godly way. In this society, your children will form friendships that may last a lifetime even as they are encouraged unto godliness (1 Corinthians 15:33).   
  4. Spiritual foundation training: The church plays a significant role in equipping us with values we must uphold in marriage (Ephesians 5:21- 30). We are equipped to be like Christ in all our pursuits. It is in us being like Christ that we can coexist peacefully.  
  5. Marriage seminars: Churches may have seminars where marriage is discussed. These programs help hugely in establishing solid marriages. 

Intercultural Marriage

Due to globalisation, people can now marry from any community. The world has become a small village, and marital values have been highly affected. One must be careful when choosing the foundation on which to build their marriage. The Christian marriage sets a high standard for Christians and confronts the evil in our hearts. A man is given instructions and responsibilities toward the family, while the women also get instructed on how to live in the context of marriage (Ephesians 5:21-33). The Bible is accessible and does not need an elder whose mind is biased by his own experience to interpret marriage life. One can engage the Bible from anywhere in the world, and it will address all cultural issues. With the many intercultural marriages today, the Bible brings people from all races together and gives them a consistent way of approaching marriage. Many people who marry from a different community may struggle with loyalty to their culture. One partner may feel oppressed by the other, but the Bible breaks every cultural barrier and demands allegiance to Christ alone. 

Consider the Eternal Benefits 

As we cultivate the Christlike attitude and character expected of us in marriage, we become more and more prepared for Christ’s coming (Ephesians 5:25-26). These values help us to relate meaningfully in the church as we develop a loving and forgiving attitude toward those of the faith and those outside. The Bible reminds us of the marriage supper of the lamb (Revelation 19:9-10). The spiritual benefits of marriage outweigh the external risks. Due to the possible heartbreak that exists, many may not believe in its benefits. But, like Socrates once said, for marriage or celibacy, let a man choose his course; he shall be sure to repent. Those who have done marriage from a Christian point of view confirm it was worth the risk. 

In conclusion, marriage, from a Christian point of view, calls for humility and submission to Christ. It calls for a daily dying to self; otherwise, marriage will be unbearable. The standard has been set, and that is of Christ alone. In this regard, one has to confront one’s sins each day and coexist with another imperfect person until death or rapture. Christian marriage appreciates all the dynamics of life and is indeed worth considering.

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