Marriage is a sacred institution, blessed by God. This beautiful union between a man and a woman remains one of the most powerful worldly commitments and is recognized and celebrated throughout the bible. Challenging oneself to honor and love your spouse gives you an opportunity to showcase your patience, faith and understanding as you mirror God’s love of mankind.
Biblical Marriage Verses in the Old Testament
The Old Testament is a relic: a document written for older times than these, full of anachronisms and idiosyncrasies to trip up the modern reader. God’s blessing of marriage is clear from the first book, however. Genesis 2:22-24 tells the story of a marriage in an abstract way. When God, the Father creates Adam and sends him to live with Eve, he mirrors the way a man moves out of his father’s house and marries a woman. It is clear that the authors of the bible wanted marriage to be a powerful theme from the very beginning.
Proverbs is full of choice quotes and verses about the beauty and holiness of marriage. Proverbs 18:22 explicitly reveals God’s views on marriage, telling us that two individuals who have entered into such a blessed union have earned his favor. Proverbs 19:14 suggests that a “prudent wife is from the Lord,” further reinforcing the idea of holiness in marriage. Whether God is rightly reminding us that he is the progenitor of all mankind, claiming that he uses his divine influence as a sort of holy matchmaker or asserting his place as a teacher of prudence through the church is unclear. In all cases, however, we are reminded that marriage is a union of God’s children. Finally, Proverbs 31:10 gushes romantic sentiment, finding a wife of noble character to be worth “far more than rubies.” Those in stable relationships can attest that the happiness brought about by a faithful partner is more valuable than any material good.
New Testament Scriptures on Marriage
1 Corinthians 7:1-16 contains an excellent chunk of wisdom from St Paul about the details of Christian marriage. Particularly noteworthy is Paul’s reminder that “God has called us to live in peace.” Paul tells us that all marriages are blessed, even those with an unbelieving husband or wife. He asks that we be faithful and forgiving of our partners, no matter their faults.
Colossians 3:18-19 contains the instruction “love your wives and do not be harsh with them.” While most modern Christians view marriage as an equal partnership, remember that the husband was a dominant partner when the Bible was written. This seemingly innocuous verse advocates patience and understanding from a culture where that might not have been the norm.
Ephesians 5:25 has perhaps the most powerful message about marriage. “Husbands, love your wives, as Christ loved the church and gave himself up for her,” it says. God’s love of mankind is the most powerful and pervasive message throughout the New Testament. John 3:16 contains an immortal summary: God loves us so much he gave up his son in order to cleanse us of sin. Ephesians 5:25 calls for a similar amount of love between a husband and wife. We can strive to mirror God’s divine love in our marriages each day simply by doing our best to love and understand our partners.
Scriptures on Faith
Hebrews 11:1 is an excellent summary of the intangible virtues of faith. “Faith is the assurance of things hoped for, the conviction of things not seen,” it tells us. This relates to marriage through our faith in our partner. It takes faith to be patient with our spouses — faith in their commitment to us, faith in the idea of marriage, and faith that they have not truly lost their minds. It takes faith to love them, day in and day out, when we are unsure of what new trials they will bring us when we wake up each day. It takes faith to be committed to them, to trust in their continued commitment to us and to not abandon them through trials and temptations. Through these beautiful displays of faith, we can work through the everyday challenges of our marriage and continue to reflect God’s love of mankind.
1 Corinthians 13:13 has more to say about this. “So now faith, hope and love abide,” it says, “but the greatest of these is love.” Marriage is an establishment of all of these things: faith that your partner will do his or her best despite their human imperfections, hope that you can continue to create a more perfect union in the future, and the highest degree of love shared between the two of you, mirroring God’s love. While faith and hope make it easier to love your partner, this verse (and many others!) suggest that love is the most powerful of these qualities. Even if you have lost faith and hope, continue to love.
1 Peter 4:8 says this in slightly different words. “Above all, keep loving one another earnestly, since love covers a multitude of sins.”
Scriptures on Patience
Galatians 6:9 is perhaps the perfect recipe for working through marital troubles. “And let us not grow weary of doing good, for in due season we will reap, if we do not give up,” it tells us. We must strive to constantly hold true to the vows we made in marriage, to love and honor our partners in good times and in bad. James 1:3 tells us that “the testing of [our] faith provides steadfastness.” Those of us who have been with our spouses for a while know that struggling together to overcome obstacles only deepens our marriages.
We have established that love is the most powerful virtue within a Christian marriage. 1 Corinthians 13:1-13 contains a detailed dissertation about the makeup of love. “Love is patient and kind; love does not envy or boast; it is not arrogant or rude. It does not insist on its own way; it is not irritable or resentful.” As humans, we cannot achieve all of these qualities perfectly all of the time. Nevertheless, it is our job as Christians to try to exemplify love in all of our interactions, not only marriage. We must try to be especially loving with our partners in marriage, however: patient and kind, not envious or boastful, never arrogant or rude.