What Is the Bible’s View?
Does God Care Whom You Marry?
YOU likely have observed that a good marriage can certainly bring a person pleasantness and joy. Hence, you may want to marry so as to find happiness and contentment in life.
Yet you may also know of many married couples who, frankly, are miserable. And we cannot ignore the skyrocketing number of those who have already given up their marriage, having separated or divorced.
It is easy to see that a major reason is that many persons just do not select the right mate. One newspaper recently said: “Marriage counselors maintain that divorces are made during courtship. . . . [Often persons] use less consideration when choosing a mate than they do when betting on a horse.” Thus problems result.
Undoubtedly you are determined that this will not be so in your life. Fine. It is the sensible thing to be concerned about making a proper choice. But on what basis will you choose?
You could get advice from many quarters—from relatives, from married friends, and even from books by marriage counselors. Yet, how many persons would think of checking the Bible before choosing a marriage mate?
All too often, persons who may sincerely be interested in having a successful marriage ignore the fact that we have a Creator. But since we do, and since he also is the Originator of marriage and One who has observed millions of marriages, is it not reasonable that he should be eminently qualified to advise us? Should he not be in the best position to counsel as to how to choose a mate and find happiness?
For instance, in his Word he outlines desirable qualities to look for in choosing a mate. Note some of these. Husbands are urged “to be loving their wives as their own bodies,” not to “be bitterly angry with them” and ‘to assign them honor.’ (Eph. 5:28; Col. 3:19; 1 Pet. 3:7) Wives are told “to love their husbands, to love their children, to be sound in mind, chaste, workers at home.” (Titus 2:4, 5) And both mates are encouraged to display “love, joy, peace, long-suffering, kindness, goodness, faith, mildness, self-control.” (Gal. 5:22, 23) Is that not fine counsel? Are those not qualities that you would like to see displayed in your marriage mate?
So you can see that in this sense God does care whom you marry; by his providing that advice in the Bible you can know what to look for in potential mates. Can you not agree that if you choose a mate who manifests these qualities you will be more likely to have a happy, successful marriage?
Consider, too, what the Creator says about the permanence of marriage. The Bible strongly advises against divorce. (Mal. 2:15, 16) It emphasizes that when a man and a woman marry “they are no longer two, but one flesh.” (Matt. 19:4-8) Hence, by selecting a mate who respects God’s counsel, you will have a husband or a wife who will not quickly break up your marriage with little reason. In fact, the Creator’s speaking against divorce has a bearing on who would be a proper mate for you. Jesus explained: “Everyone divorcing his wife, except on account of fornication, makes her a subject for adultery, and whoever marries a divorced woman commits adultery.” (Matt. 5:32) What does that indicate?
It shows that the Scriptures allow for a person to divorce a mate and to remarry, but only if that mate is guilty of committing sexual immorality. Hence, the Creator’s wise counsel is that you should not view as a potential mate a person who got divorced where there was no Scriptural basis for it, when that person’s mate had not committed sexual immorality. Why not? Because that person, man or woman, is not Scripturally free to marry. Stop and think why this is wise and is for your good. Does it not show that the Creator is interested in your marrying a person who is morally clean and who has a high regard for the permanence of marriage? Thus you are alerted that before you consider someone as a potential mate you should determine whether that person is eligible to marry.
Of course, marriage involves two mates. So your own view comes into the picture, does it not? Since the Creator emphasizes the permanence of marriage, this recommends that both you and your mate have this beneficial outlook. It means that both of you enter marriage with the determination to remain married. If both of you have this outlook, it will help your marriage to be, not just a passing phase in life, but one that is stable and enduring.
Does the Bible offer additional helpful guidance that reflects God’s care about whom you marry? Yes, it does. At 1 Corinthians 7:39 it counsels: “A wife is bound during all the time her husband is alive. But if her husband should fall asleep in death, she is free to be married to whom she wants, only in the Lord.” That, too, is an expression of God’s loving care.
First, those words show that, though God says marriage is to be viewed as permanent, a person whose mate has died is free to remarry. You can appreciate that such a person likely is different from someone who capriciously got a divorce on some whim.
Next, this verse says that God advises a person to marry “only in the Lord.” What does that mean, and is it best for you?
Other translations render this phrase “only, it must be a Christian” and “only (provided that he too is) in the Lord.” (Moffatt; Amplified Bible) Dr. Albert Barnes commented on this: ‘That is, only to one who is a Christian; with a proper sense of her obligation to Christ. The apostle supposed that this could not be done if she married someone of a different religion.’
True, many persons today feel that there is little harm done in marrying someone of a different religion as long as both are broad-minded. But is that what the Bible here says? Is that the view of your Creator, who is interested in your lasting joy?
He knows that a very important element in a happy marriage is unity as to fundamental beliefs and principles. He even included in the Bible a number of examples where persons disregarded such advice and consequently harmed themselves morally and spiritually, to say nothing of the unhappy effects on their offspring. (Ezra 9:13-15; 10:44; Neh. 13:26, 27) Yes, God knows that this is a serious matter. Accordingly, it is also a serious matter to all persons who realize that his care about whom we marry is for our good.
The more you examine the Bible, the more you can see that, out of love, God does care whom you marry. So if you are considering marriage, study the Bible. Impress on your mind the qualities you should develop and the qualities to look for in a mate. Your following the Bible’s counsel will mean happiness and peace for you.