Marriage & Bible: What is marriage and when is it acceptable to God?

Marriage existed long time ago in the first days of our creation and up to now we still marry and get married. But I have followed closely what many people ask and say about marriage, and believe me when I say, we are losing the true definition of marriage and the only God’s requirement for marriage to be true and acceptable. Yeah, so many questions exist; when should I marry? Who is the right person to marry according to God? How should I marry? Do I need a church ceremony and wedding? Is sex all that matters to define us wife and husband? Is it a civil law that I should submit to? How about culture? How many women am I allowed to marry? Is sex before church ceremony and wedding a sin? How about having sex when a woman is in her menstruation period? A woman has spent 3 years with a man but no church ceremony or government validation was done, are they married? When am I allowed to divorce? Can I remarry my ex-wife? Am I allowed to marry following my divorce? What is sex and what is it for? Is sex all about reproduction or pleasure or both? How should sex be done? All of these and even more questions are spinning in minds of both Christians and non-Christians alike and in this article, we will try answering some them according to biblical teachings and God. Other questions will be answered in bulletins of the same writer.First, I would define marriage as the commitment (choice) and involuntary decision between a man and woman to leave everything behind and come together, get joined in body and soul as one flesh. With regard to the first marriages, most of the times children (the ones being united) had no much say, but parents would choose, organize and organize for the marriages (Genesis 21:21, 24:1-4, 38:6, judges 14:1-2) (there was no prior dating and courtship). However, what is clear is that even though God chose and designed/created Eve for Adam, there was some kind of participation and acceptance from Adam himself. This is because the bible says that Adam tried all other creatures and could not see one that fits a wife and also that he was happy at the sight of the beauty God had decided or created for him (Genesis 2:18-24). Simply, what is important is not the one who has chosen for who, but the involuntary acceptance and happiness in embracing of the choice by those involved (the children to be married). Whether in the old times or even our new times, it not acceptable before God and men to choose a wife or husband for someone who is not happy with that choice (forced marriage).

In our era, we have time for dating and courtship and making personal, non-forced choices regarding who to marry, when to marry, and how to do it, but the question always sounds in our ears; is this the right way? Does God approve my marriage? To answer this question, we will consider three possible ways or kinds of marriage that people think God approves;

1. Marriage through the church ceremony and wedding. This is the most considered form of marriage according to so many Christians and religions, but what does the bible say? First, marriage appeared before any organized religious institution and was acceptable. It is also important to know that the marriage vows we exchange in the church before the priest or pastor are not from the bible. Even though Jesus attended a wedding at Cana and Jacob had some ceremony when marrying Leah (John 2:1-11 and Genesis 29:21-25 respectively), the bible indicates nowhere that a social function constitutes marriage. However, these social ceremonies are also not prohibited by God. What is clear is that there is always some kind of cerebration, event, an action, vow or proclamation that is acceptable as declaring a man and woman to be married.

2. Civil marriage. This is legal registration of a man and woman as husband and wife. The bible also does not indicate anywhere that this constitutes marriage. Actually, marriage existed even before any organized government or law regarding marriage. Up to now, some governments have no obligations towards marriage. Also, some countries place non-biblical demands on marriage before it can be legally accepted which is so disappointing. And lastly, to define marriage by a legal license is a total diversion from the definition and general purpose of marriage. All this makes legal marriage weak too. However, according to Romans 13:1-7 and 1 Peter 2:17, a good Christian should be ready to submit to his country’s law or leadership since we believe that authority comes from God. In this aspect, if such a law regarding marriage exists and is not against any biblical teachings, then it would be nice and proper to obey it.

3. God considers a man and woman married the first time they engage in sexual intercourse. This point is also to weak to constitute marriage. First, there would be no fornication or immorality if the first time two people make love equates to marriage (sex before marriage is immorality 1 Corinthians 7:2). Also, Kings in the old times would sleep with hundreds of women, have sex, and even bear children with them, but some of these women would be called concubines and others wives (examples are King Rehoboam, 2 Chronicles 11:21 and King Solomon who had about 700 wives and 300 concubines 1 Kings 11:3-4), a big difference. While the bible commands that a man should marry a wife who he has had sex with (Exodus 22:16-17), what constitutes marriage in this case is not sex, but the decision to take the woman home and be one with her. Also, there are some health situations that make a couple unable to have sex yet we still regard them as married. Truly, there is absolutely no biblical support for a man and woman to have sex and then get declared as wife and husband.

So what constitutes marriage in God’s sight or according to the true teachings of the bible? To answer this important questions, let us go back to the beginning, the genesis of marriage and hear what God says. “I will call her woman because she was taken out of man”, Adam happily confessed and then God added, “So a man will leave his father and mother and be united with his wife, and the two will become one body” (Genesis 2:23b-24). This same call is repeated by Jesus when asked about marriage and divorce, “So there are not two, but one. God has joined the two together, so no one should separate them” (Matthew 19:4-6). What constitutes marriage is a commitment, a decision, the insolvable pulling force of love and emotional attachment between the two that joins them as one. When two people love each other and decide on a commitment to be together as wife and husband, everything is accomplished. The bible does not dictate on who to marry though an advise is offered on believers marrying fellow believers. However, any person from any race can get married to any person from any other race as long as the two believe in each other and have common grounds for faith.

So where do all these other things come from?
Man is tricky and he himself creates sins. If you are a good believer and a follower of certain faith or religion, then it is proper to follow the guidelines regarding marriage according to that religion. Also, it is important to consider the cultural norms or guidelines taken to be fulfilled and as we earlier highlighted, you can as well obtain a legal license if such a law exists in your country, but none of the above qualifies your marriage before God other than that faithful commitment to love and serve each other forever (for all the days of your lives). Actually, some of these other demands come in because couples were trying to exploit each other in terms of distribution of resources, human rights, divorce, sex and so on. A good Christian would have to follow such guidelines as dictated by his society, government, culture or religion, but should not be misguided and confuse such demands with God’s view on marriage.

In the words of one theologian, “the only strict biblical requirement for marriage is that the couple should leave their parents and cleave to each other. Other cultural norms (culture, religious requirements, and legal demands) that do not go against any specific biblical instructions should be followed as closely as possible”. What is the use of this article? We need to stop pointing fingers at married couples judging them to be wrong yet in the real sense, they could be the true couples recognized by heaven. Church ceremonies and weddings, legal registration and marriage license, cultural norms and rituals are all important but won’t mean anything in absence of true love and commitment between the two people getting married. I hope the point is home.

The Complete You Project


Marriage existed long time ago in the first days of our creation and up to now we still marry and get married. But I have followed closely what many people ask and say about marriage, and believe me when I say, we are losing the true definition of marriage and the only God’s requirement for marriage to be true and acceptable. Yeah, so many questions exist; when should I marry? Who is the right person to marry according to God? How should I marry? Do I need a church ceremony and wedding? Is sex all that matters to define us wife and husband? Is it a civil law that I should submit to? How about culture? How many women am I allowed to marry? Is sex before church ceremony and wedding a sin? How about having sex when a woman is in her menstruation period? A woman has spent 3 years with a man but no church ceremony or government validation was done, are they married? When am I allowed to divorce? Can I remarry my ex-wife? Am I allowed to marry following my divorce? What is sex and what is it for? Is sex all about reproduction or pleasure or both? How should sex be done? All of these and even more questions are spinning in minds of both Christians and non-Christians alike and in this article, we will try answering some them according to biblical teachings and God. Other questions will be answered in bulletins of the same writer.

First, I would define marriage as the commitment (choice) and involuntary decision between a man and woman to leave everything behind and come together, get joined in body and soul as one flesh. With regard to the first marriages, most of the times children (the ones being united) had no much say, but parents would choose, organize and organize for the marriages (Genesis 21:21, 24:1-4, 38:6, judges 14:1-2) (there was no prior dating and courtship). However, what is clear is that even though God chose and designed/created Eve for Adam, there was some kind of participation and acceptance from Adam himself. This is because the bible says that Adam tried all other creatures and could not see one that fits a wife and also that he was happy at the sight of the beauty God had decided or created for him (Genesis 2:18-24). Simply, what is important is not the one who has chosen for who, but the involuntary acceptance and happiness in embracing of the choice by those involved (the children to be married). Whether in the old times or even our new times, it not acceptable before God and men to choose a wife or husband for someone who is not happy with that choice (forced marriage).

In our era, we have time for dating and courtship and making personal, non-forced choices regarding who to marry, when to marry, and how to do it, but the question always sounds in our ears; is this the right way? Does God approve my marriage? To answer this question, we will consider three possible ways or kinds of marriage that people think God approves;
1. Marriage through the church ceremony and wedding. This is the most considered form of marriage according to so many Christians and religions, but what does the bible say? First, marriage appeared before any organized religious institution and was acceptable. It is also important to know that the marriage vows we exchange in the church before the priest or pastor are not from the bible. Even though Jesus attended a wedding at Cana and Jacob had some ceremony when marrying Leah (John 2:1-11 and Genesis 29:21-25 respectively), the bible indicates nowhere that a social function constitutes marriage. However, these social ceremonies are also not prohibited by God. What is clear is that there is always some kind of cerebration, event, an action, vow or proclamation that is acceptable as declaring a man and woman to be married.

2. Civil marriage. This is legal registration of a man and woman as husband and wife. The bible also does not indicate anywhere that this constitutes marriage. Actually, marriage existed even before any organized government or law regarding marriage. Up to now, some governments have no obligations towards marriage. Also, some countries place non-biblical demands on marriage before it can be legally accepted which is so disappointing. And lastly, to define marriage by a legal license is a total diversion from the definition and general purpose of marriage. All this makes legal marriage weak too. However, according to Romans 13:1-7 and 1 Peter 2:17, a good Christian should be ready to submit to his country’s law or leadership since we believe that authority comes from God. In this aspect, if such a law regarding marriage exists and is not against any biblical teachings, then it would be nice and proper to obey it.

3. God considers a man and woman married the first time they engage in sexual intercourse. This point is also to weak to constitute marriage. First, there would be no fornication or immorality if the first time two people make love equates to marriage (sex before marriage is immorality 1 Corinthians 7:2). Also, Kings in the old times would sleep with hundreds of women, have sex, and even bear children with them, but some of these women would be called concubines and others wives (examples are King Rehoboam, 2 Chronicles 11:21 and King Solomon who had about 700 wives and 300 concubines 1 Kings 11:3-4), a big difference. While the bible commands that a man should marry a wife who he has had sex with (Exodus 22:16-17), what constitutes marriage in this case is not sex, but the decision to take the woman home and be one with her. Also, there are some health situations that make a couple unable to have sex yet we still regard them as married. Truly, there is absolutely no biblical support for a man and woman to have sex and then get declared as wife and husband.

So what constitutes marriage in God’s sight or according to the true teachings of the bible? To answer this important questions, let us go back to the beginning, the genesis of marriage and hear what God says. “I will call her woman because she was taken out of man”, Adam happily confessed and then God added, “So a man will leave his father and mother and be united with his wife, and the two will become one body” (Genesis 2:23b-24). This same call is repeated by Jesus when asked about marriage and divorce, “So there are not two, but one. God has joined the two together, so no one should separate them” (Matthew 19:4-6). What constitutes marriage is a commitment, a decision, the insolvable pulling force of love and emotional attachment between the two that joins them as one. When two people love each other and decide on a commitment to be together as wife and husband, everything is accomplished. The bible does not dictate on who to marry though an advise is offered on believers marrying fellow believers. However, any person from any race can get married to any person from any other race as long as the two believe in each other and have common grounds for faith.

So where do all these other things come from?
Man is tricky and he himself creates sins. If you are a good believer and a follower of certain faith or religion, then it is proper to follow the guidelines regarding marriage according to that religion. Also, it is important to consider the cultural norms or guidelines taken to be fulfilled and as we earlier highlighted, you can as well obtain a legal license if such a law exists in your country, but none of the above qualifies your marriage before God other than that faithful commitment to love and serve each other forever (for all the days of your lives). Actually, some of these other demands come in because couples were trying to exploit each other in terms of distribution of resources, human rights, divorce, sex and so on. A good Christian would have to follow such guidelines as dictated by his society, government, culture or religion, but should not be misguided and confuse such demands with God’s view on marriage.

In the words of one theologian, “the only strict biblical requirement for marriage is that the couple should leave their parents and cleave to each other. Other cultural norms (culture, religious requirements, and legal demands) that do not go against any specific biblical instructions should be followed as closely as possible”. What is the use of this article? We need to stop pointing fingers at married couples judging them to be wrong yet in the real sense, they could be the true couples recognized by heaven. Church ceremonies and weddings, legal registration and marriage license, cultural norms and rituals are all important but won’t mean anything in absence of true love and commitment between the two people getting married. I hope the point is home.

The Complete You Project

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