Biblical marriage is a representation of the marriage of Jesus to His church. Isaiah 61:10 says that our souls shall rejoice in our God because He has clothed us in our garments of salvation and covered us with the robe of righteousness. Revelation 19:7 echoes this Old Testament verse with its joyous tone.
Christian churches typically encourage a woman and a man not to live together before marriage and not to forgo the ceremony. A wedding doesn’t have to be lavish, but declaring vows in front of loved ones provides accountability to everyone. Husband and wife are now accountable to each other and the body of Christ.
Suppose one party openly engaged in sins, and a church member witnesses the activity. In that case, that member is responsible for declaring the truth and leading this person back to the cross. Married couples can also become mentors to younger grooms and brides. Their relationship is designed to express the relationship between a person and their Savior, one where there’s forgiveness, grace, gentleness, humility, loyalty, and so on. Marriage is a great friendship, and the Bible has a lot to say about it.
However, much of what is written is overlooked in the modern world and taken out of context, leading to the proliferation of damaging lies. Here are some myths about biblical marriage.
“Your spouse will complete you.”
Biblical counselor June Hunt told The Christian Post that a soul mate isn’t a Christian idea. Instead, this idea comes from Plato, an ancient Greek philosopher, who taught that women and men were made in one body, but the gods separated them. Hunt wrote that women and men seem to act like half-people looking for the second piece to make them whole. Marshall Segal expounds on this theory, saying that God didn’t create marriage as a means of enduring life’s burdens. Instead, the ultimate reason for marriage is a means of expressing and experiencing a far greater union.
Whether a partner comes into our lives or not, we are all complete entities. We’re not more or less valuable to God based on our relationship status. Furthermore, relying on someone else to be the other 50 percent puts a lot of pressure on that individual to supply all of one’s needs. In a perfect partnership, wives and husbands encourage each other to look to Jesus to supply every need instead of turning each other into idols they can’t live without.
Indeed, the loss of a spouse will cause terrible grief, but Colossians 2:10 reminds us that we are complete in Him. Put another way, we’re filled in Him, and no one makes us complete except for Jesus in us.
“I’ll deal with my sin when I’m married.”
The idea of being incomplete until marriage contributes to the idea that we’re allowed to get our sins out of our system before marriage and invited to save righteous behavior for life with a future spouse. One excuse for stalling in our chase of holiness is that single Christians aren’t yet responsible in the same ways as married Christians, as if they’re somehow less human. If one isn’t whole as a single person, they have no incentive to resist temptation.
However, habits established when single carry into marriage. Marriage tends to amplify, not alleviate, overcoming sin. Healthy sexual desire is redeemed by marriage. Suppose men and women can’t exercise self-control. In that case, they should marry because it’s better to marry than burn with passion, as detailed in 1 Corinthians 7:9. However, unhealthy desires cause damage and bring pain.
Only God can rehabilitate a person, so it’s not the spouse’s responsibility. If you deal with chronic sin issues like addictive behavior, discuss that openly with your potential spouse. If such a sin emerges during marriage, spouses are helpers. One of marriage’s most beautiful blessings is the help spouses are for each other’s sanctification.
“Husbands rule over their wives.”
Paul tells Ephesian women to submit to their husbands like the Lord. Ephesians 5:22-24 tells us that the husband is the head of the wife, like Christ is the head of the church and His body. As the church submits to Christ, so should wives submit in everything to their husbands. However, in Ephesians 6:25, Paul also says that husbands should love their wives like Christ loved the church and sacrificed Himself for her.
Men habitually take Ephesians 5 out of context to justify abusive, neglectful, domineering relationships with their wives because they think God said their wives should do what they want. However, the correct way to read this verse is through the lens of the entire Bible. Think about Jesus’ life and what He told his disciples about encouragement and mutual care. In Matthew 20:28, Jesus tells His disciples that He came to serve, not to be served.
We should also consider what Paul wrote to the church at Phillippi, where he reminds us to consider others outside of ourselves. That doesn’t sound like an invitation for husbands to exploit their wives.
"Christian marriages are unbreakable."
The Bible has made provisions for people whose marriages are scarred by neglect and abuse because He knows that broken people commit sins against each other. It’s not a sin to leave a marriage where one party continually puts their needs above the other spouse’s needs, ignores, manipulates, gaslights, and hits. Powerful faith can move mountains, and there should be support for spouses who want to fight for their marriage.
Still, there should also be support for the person being repeatedly, chronically neglected or abused, whether spiritually, emotionally, physically, or all three. If an abuser seeks counseling, repents, and shows the fruit of a transformed heart, a spouse may want to make things work. The choice will be influenced by the situation’s severity and the level of fear hammered into the abused party.
You could be celebrating your golden wedding anniversary or a newly married pair of 20-somethings. You could even be a pair of older newlyweds. There will be a time to forget but also to remember the beautiful truths about a marriage brought together in Christ.