Marriage. The unity between one man and one woman. A romantic relationship. The Bible talks a lot about what makes a good wife and what is expected of her as found in Proverbs chapter 31, verses 10-31. But what makes a good marriage? What is the foundation of a successful relationship?
In the early Old Testament, it was perfectly acceptable for a man to have more than one wife.
"Laban replied. It is not our custom here to give the younger daughter in marriage before the older one. Finish This daughter's bridal week, then we will give you the younger one also, in return for another seven years' work" (Genesis chapter 29 verses 26-27).
It was also acceptable for men to have children with their female servants.
"Now Sarai, Abram's wife, had borne him no children. But she had an Egyptian servant named Hagar. So she said to Abram, the Lord has kept me from having children. Go and sleep with my slave. Perhaps I can build a family through her. Abram agreed to what Sarai said" (Genesis chapter 16 verses 1-3).
But when God gave Moses the Ten Commandments on Mount Sinai, He instructed us not to commit adultery or be unfaithful to our husband or wife.
"You shall not commit adultery" (Exodus chapter 20, verse 14).
And so this instigated the importance of fidelity within a marriage and what God required of a married couple.
One man, one woman
In society today, there are different types of relationships and beliefs about what is acceptable in daily life. These days, society is willing to accept pretty much any form of romantic relationship, whether that be same-sex relationships, polygamy or the traditional husband and wife relationship.
But what does God say about our romantic relationships?
"... and said for this reason a man will leave his mother and father and will be united to his wife and the two will become one flesh" (Matthew chapter, 19 verse).
So God intends for a romantic relationship to be between a man and woman as husband and wife. But what does He expect for those couples who are yet to be married?
It is well known even in the secular world that God expects His followers to abstain from sex until marriage.
"Marriage should be honoured by all and the marriage bed kept pure. For God will judge the adulterer and the sexually immoral" (Hebrews chapter 13, verse 4).
But does that really make a difference?
"It is God's will that you should be sanctified. That you should avoid sexual immorality." (1 Thessalonians chapter 4, verse 3).
So in order for a marriage to be successful, God requires marriage to be between one man and one woman, and for them both to remain pure until marriage.
Then what's next?
The foundation of a successful relationship is mutual trust. After all, you can't expect to have a good relationship with anybody you don't trust.
"Her husband can trust her and she will greatly enrich his life" (Proverbs chapter 31, verse 11).
When you trust your spouse, you know that you can rely on them completely. God wants us to encourage and support one another in every situation and it is no different in marriage.
"She brings him good, not harm all the days of her life" (Proverbs chapter 31, verse 13).
So there you have it! God asks for marriage between one man and one woman and for Him to be the focus. He also wants us to honour our marriages by remaining pure until our wedding day and trusting one another completely.