In her book, “The Real Home,” Vesta Farnsworth tells a story
of Archbishop Ryan who went to a mining district one day to
administer confirmation to a class about to enter the
Catholic Church. During the service a nervous girl was asked
to define what matrimony was. “Oh,” she said, “it is a
state of terrible torment which those who enter are
compelled to undergo for a time in order to fit them for a
better world.” “No, no!” interrupted the assistant,
“You are thinking of the definition of purgatory.” “Leave me
alone,” said the old bishop smiling. “What do you or
I know about it? Maybe she is right.”
Friends, whether married life becomes a
blessing or a torment depends upon the persons who enter
into that sacred union. I remember the advice of a well
known wit. “If you are contemplating marriage don’t...”
and then he added, “Until you have heard my advice.”
The Bible gives some very helpful advice to young and
old on the matter of marriage. It will be worth our while to
take a little time today to see just what it does say.
Where did Marriage come from?
Where did marriage come from? Well, we
go back to Genesis and we find the beginning of the world.
Genesis 2:18 says, “And the Lord God said,
It is not good that man should be alone; I will make him an help
meet for him.”
God never intended men to be bachelors. Now
don’t get me wrong bachelors. Man needs a woman and God saw that
need. You will find right through history that behind the great men
there was a good woman.
Genesis 2:21 says, “And the Lord God caused a
deep sleep to fall upon Adam, and he slept: and he took one of his
ribs and closed up the flesh instead thereof.”
This is the first surgical operation that is
recorded. God took the rib. God could have made Eve from the dust
but he took a bone that is nearest to the heart. God did this to
show us that every companion is to be a love partner, a true
God, in making the first home a pattern for all
future homes, founded it on love. Yes God took the bone from nearest
the heart. Not from the head to be above him nor the feet to be
beneath him but from his side to be his equal, a heart companion.
And so one good man and one winsome woman were joined together.
The Home is a Loving Place
The home is a loving place. If love is
not there, then it is not fit to be a living place. When the
home is right, things are right almost everywhere.
God said in
Genesis 2:24, “A man shall leave his
father and mother and cleave to his wife.”
This was given for future generations, for Adam
had no father or mother. It was to teach that couples are not to
live with their in-laws. There is the principle. One of the great
causes of trouble in the home is living with the in-laws. God says,
“Don’t do it.”
Newly weds are not to live with their in-laws
and that goes for not so newly weds also.
Genesis 1:28 it says, “And God blessed them,
and God said unto them, be fruitful, and multiply.”
God commanded then to fill the earth. In God’s
original plan for the world, he ordained that the world be inhabited
by sinless beings, that the world be made up of little Edens. But
his plan was frustrated by sin. However in the earth made new, this
original plan will be fulfilled.
We should Rear Children
God intended that we should rear
children. This is one of the great secrets of happily
married life. The scriptures (Genesis 3:16) indicated that
before sin entered, childbirth was to be painless.
“In sorrow shall thou bring forth children.”
It became a thing of pain and sorrow. Conception became much
more frequent because of death.
Planned Parenthood is the best if we are to
give the children a good start in life. Especially when in these
days, the world is so competitive.
Genesis 3:16 we read, “In sorrow thou shall
bring forth children; and thy desire shall be thy husband, and he
shall rule over thee.”
Man should be a Protector of the Woman
God gave man the position of protector
of the woman. When sin came along things became terrible.
Man began to treat the women as mere chattels. You can
notice it as you read progressively through the Old
Testament. You only need to take the Arabs. The woman has no
part in their social life whatsoever. She is veiled and
concealed having little if any influence. God never intended
it to be this way.
In heathen countries we see that men make the
women slaves. They are burden bearers, they are bought or sold.
Treated like cattle. God never intended that.
Mark 10:8 says, “And they twain shall be one
flesh”. Not 3 or 4.
When Christ came he lifted woman up out of her
degrading position and put her back into her rightful place.
Wives should submit to their Husbands
Ephesians 5:22 God says, to wives,
“Submit yourselves unto your husbands as unto the Lord.”
God wants us to submit to him because we love
him. It is not compulsory, we do not lose our individuality and
there is every room for self development.
When we submit to Christ there is development.
He is the head of the house and that is another secret of success.
Husbands should Love their Wives
He is not to be a dictator. Husbands
love your wives. How? Even as Christ loved the church what
is that sort of love?
We men are sometimes inclined to be a bit
selfish but we have to remember that God asks of us to show a self
sacrificing love. This is essential for the proper development of
the children and for harmony of the home.
Wives should Respect their Husbands
The wife should see that she has to set
an example in respecting her husband. In Japan the wives get
down on their knees to the husband. I am not suggesting that
you do this but if the wife should respect the husband then
the children will learn to do the same.
It is true that she may disagree with the
husband, but still she should show proper respect.
What about Divorce?
What then of divorce? Marriage is
called “The sacred bond of matrimony.” It has been
formed to protect the home and the children. Someone is hurt
when the bond of matrimony is broken. In many cases, the
problem is that neither of the parents want the children.
In some courts they have a nurse looking after
the children right there on the spot in order that one of the
parents might relent and take the children.
The curse of the divorce courts today are the
thousands of children that are unwanted by parents. The experts
claim that this is the greatest cause of juvenile delinquency.
Children of divorces mostly are problem children.
Anyway the question that many ask is: Does God
Mark 10:6-9 the Pharisees tempted Christ on
one occasion regarding this same thing. He answered in this manner,
“But from the beginning of the creation God made them male and
female. For this cause shall a man leave his father and his mother
and cleave to his wife; and they twain shall be one flesh: so then
they are no more twain, but one flesh. What therefore God hath
joined together. Let not man put asunder.”
That’s God’s ideal, his perfect plan.
Any there any Grounds for Divorce?
Now if you were to leave it right there
you can see that according to the bible you just cannot
divorce but God had to modify. But let us turn to some other
Matthew 19:9 says, “And I say unto you,
whosoever shall put away his wife, except it be for fornication, and
shall marry another, committeth adultery: and whoso marrieth her
which is put away doth commit adultery. Whosoever shall put away his
wife, except it be for fornication...”
Here is the exception, unfaithfulness,
fornication! What is that? It is illicit love or unlicensed sexual
relationship. A Christian can obtain a divorce under these
Matthew 5:31,32 says, “It hath been said, Whosoever
shall put away his wife, saving for the cause of fornication,
causeth her to commit adultery: and whosoever shall marry her that
is divorced committeth adultery.”
You see, God permits divorce on the ground of
unfaithfulness. It is the right thing. But what about the guilty
Galatians 5:19 says, “Now the works of the
flesh are manifest, which are these; Adultery, fornication,
Verse 21 last part says, "They
which do such things shall not inherit the kingdom of God.”
An immoral man will never get to heaven.
Unchastity before marriage, that is fornication.
They took a poll at one time of those who had
sexual relationships before marriage and the percentage was
The Woman taken in Sin
But there are many who realize that
they have done wrong and want to make it right with God and
when a person comes to God and asks for forgiveness, God
will forgive it. Let me read this marvellous story of the
woman taken in sin recorded in
Jesus was left alone with the woman, all her
accusers sneaked off one by one.
John 8:7 (later half) records
Jesus' words, “He that is without sin among you, let him first
cast a stone at her.”
It cut right through their hypocrisy. It tore
away their rags of respectability. Jesus turned to the woman and
said. Verse 10 says, “Woman, where are those thine accusers? Hath
no man condemned thee?” She said, “No man, Lord, And Jesus
said unto her, neither do I condemn thee: go, and sin no more.”
That woman became one of the most devoted
followers of Christ. She was Mary Magdalene.
Confession, repentance and reformation will
bring forgiveness for the sin of adultery.
One may choose divorce for adultery, but that
is not necessarily the best way out. It is possible for a partner to
be so selfish, so self-righteous, inattentive, unkind and cold in
one’s relationship to one’s mate that if one is not strong in God,
one can be driven to sin. Divorce on such grounds, we believe, would
be unacceptable to God. The other partner would be a sharer in the
Living together before Marriage
But what of a unmarried couple that
live together? Should they separate when they determine to
serve God? If there are children, the answer would be no.
Rather let them be legally joined together.
Sometimes there are cases presented in which
there is so much confusion through wrongs that have been committed
in the past that it is difficult to advise what to do. In such cases
it is necessary to overlook the past and remember when God forgives,
Marriage at the Registry Office
Some people ask if it is alright to be
married in the registry office. If God hasn’t joined couples
together, is the marriage valid? All I can say is this, the
reason the state has set up the registry office is to
protect the marriage institution. It is based on the Bible.
But the great pity is that the courts today
undo the marriage so easily. I would say that there is nothing to
take the place of a church wedding. You can expect the blessing of
God in the house of God.
Divorce does not bring Happiness
Speaking of divorce once again, it has
been proved over and over again that it does not bring
happiness: the majority of suicides today are divorcees.
Disappointment and bitterness so often follow in the train
Many confessions reveal the plaintive cry,
“I wouldn’t divorce him now, even if the experience came to me
Should Unhappy Couples live together?
So many ask, should unhappy couples live
1 Corinthians 7:10 it says, “And unto the married I
command, yet not I, but the Lord, Let not the wife depart from her
husband: But and if she depart, let her remain unmarried, or be
reconciled to her husband: and let not the husband out away his
Back in those days if the husband became a
Christian and the wife remained a pagan it was an awful situation. St Paul says,
“Let them dwell together but if
the unbelieving partner wants to depart then let him.”
Under such circumstances God believes in
separation. God has called us to peace. If we cannot live together in peace then the
best thing to do is to separate.
Some people just can’t get on. Then it is better
to separate than to keep on quarrelling with each other. So God gives permission to separate.
Causes of Unhappy Marriages
However let us take a look at some of the
causes of unhappy marriages.
Over here in
2 Corinthians 6:14 it says, “Be ye not
unequally yoked together with unbelievers for what fellowship hath
righteousness with unrighteousness? And what communion hath light
We should not have mixed marriages. “Be ye not unequally yoked together.” Very often marital unhappiness can be cured by
getting rid of the causes. And one of the causes is marrying an
unbeliever, or one of an entirely different faith.
Religion goes very deep. In their hearts many a Catholic knows that they
should not marry a Protestant. And many a Protestant knows that they too
should avoid such a union. It can be the cause of tension in the home. It certainly does not make for marriage
What about Hasty Marriages?
Then there are those hasty marriages. In
Proverbs 21:19 we are told by one who was
well qualified to know. “It is better to dwell in the wilderness than a
contentious and an angry woman.”
It is not a question of how long you have known
the person you are marrying but how well you know them.
Deuteronomy 24:5 says, “When a man hath taken a new wife he
shall not go out to war, neither shall he be charged with any
business: but he shall be free at home one year, and shall cheer up
his wife which he hath taken.”
God tells us that war marriages are not a good
thing for the man is to stay at home to cheer up his wife. By the way war time marriages head the list as
far as divorces are concerned. So if war breaks out don’t get married so that
your wife can get the insurance. It is not worth it. Stay at home to cheer your wife up.
1 Timothy 5:8 I read, “But if any provide
not for his own, and specially for those of his own house, he hath
denied the faith and is worse than infidel.”
A man must be prepared to shoulder his
responsibility. The wife too must recognize that she too has a
part to play. Selfishness in the home, especially on the part
of the one who provides can be a very real cause of marital
I stayed at a home in New Plymouth on one
occasion and to my amazement the man of the house had the kitchen
cupboards locked and believe me or not he opened them at each meal
and handed out a ration to each member of the family. If what I read in the newspapers is true his
son shot him some years later. This may be an extreme case but things like
this do happen.
Happy Marriages are Made
Happy marriages are made they just don’t
happen. I remember once reading of a couple who were
celebrating their diamond wedding anniversary, the reporter asked
the old gentleman for the secret of happiness. The old man took him aside and pulled out his
watch. Engraved on the back on the inside was this
message. “Say something nice to Sarah.”
We can tell our wives that we love them. Don’t
wait until they are dead, say something nice while they are still alive.
If there is one thing that can spoil our
married life it is accumulation of grievances with one on the giving
end and the other on the receiving. As it says in
Proverbs 21:19 “It is better to
dwell in the wilderness than with an angry woman.”
Ephesians 4:26 it says, “Be ye angry, and sin
not: let not the sun go down upon your wrath.”
In other words don’t let the night come without
making things right. Before the night falls don’t go to sleep at
night without putting things in order.
A very successful businessman was not having
such a wonderful success at home. There was quarrel after quarrel. Things were almost at an end. They had both had about as much as they could
stand. Somehow or other this man went to a revival
meeting that was being conducted by a famous evangelist. He felt convicted especially as the evangelist
was speaking on the home and the need of Christian love there. Well he decided he would try and see if he
could make things better in his home. The next morning a quarrel started so the
businessman bit his lip instead of flaring up as usual. He said to his wife,
“Darling, I love you.” It shocked her. She had not heard anything like
this for years. She began to open her mouth again, when he said
the second time, “Darling, I love you.” And she was in his arms.
Couples have quarrels but they have to learn to
God can help
Now in closing I want to mention two things. You should pray and ask God to help you in your
choice of a life partner. God knows your needs better than you do. God gave Adam his
The next thing is to marry a Christian and
build a Christian home in which you can pray together for we all
have problems and we need to pray together about them and with God’s
help you will be able to solve your problems.
May God help us to understand our wives and
husbands and children better and to express our love in a spirit of