What Is The Biblical Framework For Marriage?
Marriage is made up of two frameworks: relational and spiritual. The relational framework provides us with a suitable companion. The spiritual framework helps us understand the gospel and the gospel helps us understand our marriage. The relational aspect is establish through three steps: leaving, cleaving and becoming one flesh. The spiritual aspect is establish by patterning our marriages after three principles: authority, submission and love.
The Relational Framework For Marriage
- Marriage is the relational framework that God designed so that we could have a suitable companion and not be alone—which is not good. Before mankind ever sinned, God saw man’s need of having another person like him who would fulfill this need. God created all the terrestrial and celestial animals but there was none among them that was like Adam or suitable to fulfill his need. Therefore, God took a rib from Adam and made a woman and brought her unto him. Now that there was a suitable companion for Adam, God established marriage for all future generation by declaring: “Therefore shall a man leave his father and his mother, and shall cleave unto his wife: and they shall be one flesh.” Here are three the steps to establish this type of marriage relationship:
- Step One: Leave your father and mother—this means that there comes a time in life when a man and women will leave their parent’s authority to form their own unique family unit through marriage. This also means that when you decided to get married the obligations, duty and welfare of your spouse override the obligations, duty and welfare of your parents. You are intentionally leaving your parents behind and not taking them along with you into this relationship.
- Step Two: Cleave unto your spouse—this means that you are going to unite together with your spouse in a lasting and intimate relationship that is only superseded by your relationship God. It also means that you are choosing to remain faithful to your spouse—not letting anything into the relationship that would hinder or hurt it.
- Sep Three: Become one flesh with your spouse—this means that in every area of life (emotionally, spiritually, intellectually, financially, physically) you choose to become one unit. This also implies sexual completeness and enjoyment inside this relationship. This is seen through the procreation of children where two come together sexually to produce one child from among them.
The Spiritual Framework For Marriage
- Marriage is the spiritual framework that God designed so that we could picture the relationship between Jesus and the church. In the Old Testament this reality was hidden, but the New Testament has made it clear that God had the gospel in mind when He established marriage. Marriage and the gospel help explain one another. Today, this means that marriage is to be patterned after Jesus and His relationship with the church (Jesus represents husbands and the church represents the bride) so that marriage properly reflects the gospel. We see this in the following three principles:
- Principle One—Authority: Jesus is the Head of the church, therefore the husband is the head of the wife. This re-establishes the authority in the relationship (originally established by the order of creation). This authority doesn’t indicate inferiority—being less important or valuable—but of different position and responsibility. Jesus is the Saviour of the church—meaning that He gave His own life for the church to save it from their sins and rescue them from eternal hell. Therefore, this leadership position is one of self-sacrifice.
Ephesians 5:23; 1 Corinthians 11:3-16; 1 Timothy 2:11-15
- Principle Two—Submission: The church is to submit unto Jesus, therefore wives are to submit to their husbands. Jesus sacrificially leads His church by love and the church is willing to submit to His orders. A wife is to recognize that her husband is the God-ordained leader and be willing to submit to her husband (not men in general) in everything as an act of obedience unto the Lord—meaning even if your husband isn’t worthy of such submission, you are willing to submit to him to honour God.
Ephesians 5:22, 24; Colossians 3:18; 1 Peter 3:1
- Principle Three—Love: Jesus loved the church, therefore husbands are to love their wives. Jesus’ love for the church is great and this is the standard for how a man is to love is wife. He is to be her personal spiritual leader—leading her to live a holy life. Their lives are to be so connected that the husband takes care of her like he would naturally take care of himself, nourishing and cherishing her, even as Jesus does to the church. Just like the church needs the loving care of Jesus, the wife needs the loving care of her husband—one who will love her like Jesus.
Ephesians 5:25-30; Colossians 3:19; 1 Peter 3:8
Practical Wisdom, Good Judgment And Common Sense
- The Architect—God is the architect of marriage, therefore these two “frameworks” are the essential supporting structures for marriage. Any “marriage” relationship established outside of the “relational structure” is not biblical marriage and any marriage relationship that isn’t patterned after Jesus’ relationship with the church isn’t guaranteed to “thrive”—therefore the secret to a good marriage is to: (1) know Jesus—salvation; (2) apply these principles to the fullest degree through the power of the Holy Spirit.
- Original Intent—from God’s establishment of marriage, we also can see the limits of this framework by seeing what He commanded and by what He didn’t command. (1) He didn’t create a way for a person to find sexual satisfaction (or to procreate) outside of marriage. (2) He didn’t create a way for the marriage to end—thus it is implied that this was a lifelong relationship. (3) He didn’t created more than two people for the marriage relationship—thus marriage wasn’t to be made up of multiple spouses. (4) He created two people with two genders for this relationship—not two of the same gender—thus the marriage relationship can only be defined by one male and one female.
- Time and Culture—because these are based on creation and Jesus’ relationship with the church, which doesn’t change over time nor are they based on a specific culture, these truths will also transcend time and culture—thus being permanently established on earth.
- What does “the relational framework for marriage” mean?
- What are the three steps of the relational framework?
- What does “the spiritual framework for marriage” mean?
- What are the three principles of the spiritual framework?
- What is some practical wisdom we can understand from these truths?