THE Christian marriage is a sacrament and is supposed to be Sacerdotal. But in modern times there have been a lot of abuses attached to it — how horrible to read and hear many cases of divorce among Christians; how funny to hear that some Christians take marriage simply as a contract; worse still the madness in modem time of some Christian churches approving same sex marriage in the name of human advancement.
This paper seeks to address issues of this nature and to bring credibility to the Christian marriage. If you read and apply the principles enunciated in this paper, you surely will enjoy your marriage.
Marriage as a concept in the academic discipline belongs to sociology and anthropology.
Even though I may make some references to this discipline, I will like to base my analysis more on the scriptures, the word of God.
So how does the Bible see marriage? God created Adam the man and created the woman Eve out of the ribs of the man and joined them together as husband and wife declaring:
“Therefore shall a man leave his father and his mother and shall cleave unto his wife; and they shall be one flesh” Gen 1:24.
The Wycliffe Bible Encyclopedia describes the Christian marriage thus:
“The most intimate of unions into which by personal consent one man and one woman enter on the basis of mutual love and fidelity, it is nourished by sexual intercourse and perfected in a lifelong partnership of united Endeavour”
So the Christian marriage is the formal or legal union of man and woman as husband and wife based on love and by mutual consent.
Sociology / anthropology has identified the following forms of marriage
I. MONOGAMOUS SYSTEM —“The system in which a man is permitted only one wife and the woman only one husband”
2. POLYGAMOUS SYSTEM – “In which the man may have more than one wife or the wife may have more than one husband. If the man may have more than one wife we call this Polygyny. If the woman may have two or more husbands we call this practice polyandry (as practised among the Todas in south India and the Nyakusas in Cameroon)
3. GROUP MARRIAGE — “An agreement that has developed from polyandrous arrangement. No modern society. seems to practice it.
4. SURROGACY: The practice of giving birth to a baby by another woman who is unable to have babies herself.
5. Contract marriage or marriage of convenience — Marriage that is made for practical financial or political reasons and not because the two people love one another.
6. Same sex marriage — The modern societal aberration to the sociological concept of marriage where a man gets married to fellow man or a woman to a woman. It is recognized by law in certain parts of the world, even the so called developed world.
The ideal Christian marriage is monogamy
i. We believe, teach and practice simple monogamy not serial monogamy
ii That means a man is married to a woman without divorce in marriage (Except on the grounds of un-chastity as the Bible explains)
iii. A1l the Apostles of Jesus and the disciples each married one wife or remained single for the gospel sake like Paul the Apostle “Am I not an apostle? … Have we not power to lead about a sister, a wife as well as other apostles. And as the brethren of the lord, and Cephas?” 1Cor 9:1-5.
iv. The early church practised monogamy and it is the recommendation for the church today.
“Nevertheless to avoid fornication, let every man have his own wife” 1Cor 7:2
“A Bishop then must be blameless, the husband of one wife” lTim3:2
“Let the deacons be the husbands of one wife, ruling their children and their own houses well” I Tim 3:12 Refs Eph 5:23,25-31.
“Nevertheless, to avoid fornication, let everyman have his own wife, and let every woman have her own husband … for it is better to marry than to burn” 1Cor 7:2,9
“Who findeth a wife findeth a good thing and obtaineth favour of the lord” Prov 18 :22
God is therefore favourably disposed to marriage. When persons have attained the age of puberty they should think seriously and prayerfully the next stage in Gods plan — which is marriage. (except such has the gift of continency. 1Cor 7:7.
I. Love your wife as Christ loves his church Eph 5:25
2. Be sensitive to her weakness as a woman
“Likewise ye husbands dwell with them according to knowledge, giving honour unto the wife as unto the weaker vessel” 1Pet 3:7
3. The husband should provide for the family upkeep. 1Tim 5:8
“But if any provide not for his own and especially for those of His own house, he had denied the faith, and is worse than an infidel” 1Tim 5:8
4. The husband should give to his wife conjugal rights (1Cor 7:3)
“Let the husband render unto the wife due benevolence” 1Cor 7:3
“Giving honour unto the wife as unto the weaker vessel” 1 Pet 3:7 some of these conjugal rights to be considered can include —
(i) Not getting involved in domestic violence or wife beating
(ii) Not getting yourself involved in extra-marital affairs that wounds or injures the pride and happiness of the wife
(iii) Not denying your wife your husbandly attention when she needs it.
(iv) Protecting your wife from external aggression etc.
(5) The husband should nourish and cherish his wife as his own body Eph 5 28,29
“Husbands love your wives even as Christ also loved the church and gave himself for it … so ought men to love their wives as their own bodies He that loveth his wife loveth himself” Eph 5:25, 28
(6) The man should provide leadership in the home subject to the leadership of Christ. Such leadership must not be authoritarian but consultative especially in family decisions. ‘I would have you know that the head of every man is Christ, and the head of the woman is the man” 1Cor 11:3
* There cannot be two captains in a boat so there cannot be two leaders in the home:
The man should learn to say sweet things to the wife, praise her with her values (but politely correct her frailties or inadequacies) learn to use love and pet words to your wife as “Darling; “honey”, “sweetie” etc
Who can find a virtuous woman for her price is far above rubies … her children arise up and call her blessed; her husband also and he praiseth her Prov 31:10,28.
(8) A husband should often try to keep the wife happy. This will be profitable for the home.
“My son attend unto my wisdom … rejoice with the wife of thy youth” Prov 5:1,17
Finally in all these, the man must be a man and be in charge of the home not be a weakling for that will not be profitable to the family. “Give not thy strength unto woman, nor thy ways to that which destroyeth kings” Prov 31:3.