Author William Faulkner once called marriage a “failure” and wrote that “the only
way to get any peace out of it is . . . to keep the first one [wife] and stay as far away from her as much as you can, with the hope of some day outliving her.” What a sad commentary on the state of many marriages.
Read Mark 10:7-9. What texts did Jesus quote in this passage? What characteristics of a good marriage can be found in the words of Jesus here?
The benefits of leaving one’s parents in order to create a home with one’s spouse are so well known that they hardly need to be mentioned. Problems with in-laws are one of the leading causes of marital discord. One of the first steps to take when establishing a happy home is to respect the independence of the marriage partners by the establishment of a home separate from their parents when at all possible. In cases when it is not possible, the privacy and intimacy of marriage should still be respected.
Unity is another feature of a good marriage. Unity does not mean that the two partners should give up the use of their separate brains, but that they should be united in their purpose to do the very best for each other and for their union.
Jesus also emphasized the lasting nature of marriage. Marriage is not a casual relationship to be entered into or dismissed at will. It is a lifetime commitment. Those who are not prepared to commit themselves for life should postpone such a step until they are ready.
Read Ephesians 5:22-25. In what way do these verses reveal the principles of a good marriage?
It is the husband’s privilege to give himself to his wife in loving service, as Christ gave Himself for the church. In turn, the wife is to respect her husband and to cooperate in their work toward their mutual goals. Here is the solution to the discord that sin has brought into the marriage relationship. Self-sacrificing love will be met by loving respect and mutual happiness. Our homes can be a foretaste of heaven.