A definition of the word marriage is a legally recognized relationship, established by civil or religious ceremony between two people who intend to live together as sexual and domestic partners. The meaning of the word marriage is varied by today’s standards. We will study the plan for marriage that God set.

This union is established by a religious or a civil ceremony. The two people that God planned for marriage are a man and a woman. He desires the man and woman to live together as husband and wife, being domestic and sexual partners monogamously for life. Marital relations are to be solely between a husband and his wife and solely between a wife and her husband. That is His design.

People marry for many reasons: financial status, they feel they are growing too old to raise a family, for companionship and there are other reasons. But, people should marry for LOVE. Marriage is a huge responsibility. One of the responsibilities is the hope of helping their spouse get to heaven and vice versa. We are looking for our spouse's best interest, and heaven is everyone’s best interest!!!

When a man and a woman take wedding vows, they are carrying so much weight in what they say. We will speak of the most commonly used vows so that we are aware of just what is being said. This is a promise that both man and woman are making before our Lord. A promise is NOT to be taken lightly. We are pledging ourselves in the sight of Almighty God. Sadly today, far too many people view marriage as if it were insignificant. When they have a disagreement, they get angry and storm out. Unfortunately, they fail to see the seriousness involved in their actions. They think if the spouses get upset at each other, they can just go out and find a replacement. A marriage is far more than a trivial occurrence in our lives. It is a sacred institution ordained by our Lord.

"That which has gone from your lips you shall keep and perform,
for you voluntarily vowed to the Lord your God what you have promised with your mouth."
Deuteronomy 23:23

The words, " I take you" implies someone who is reliant upon the other. How vitally important it is to everyone to be accepted as they are and to be chosen for themselves!! We have chosen this person to be our mate, why would we desire a change in the person? Many think they can change the other person after marriage, so often many years pass before people realize they love the other person still as they are.

When we speak the words " To be", they express the change that is made when we go from one condition of being into another. Instead of being just a man and a woman, we are changed into a husband and a wife. All throughout our married life, there will continually be changes - parenting, becoming in-laws. Together we will face challenges and make changes together.

"Therefore a man shall leave his father and mother
and be joined to his wife, and they shall become one flesh."
Genesis 2:24

When the words " My lawfully wedded wife/husband" are spoken, this indicates societies aspect of marriage. There are ceremonies where the minister asked those in attendance, " Will you do all in your power to support and uphold this marriage?" When he receives an answer of ."Yes, we will", those present are confirming the covenant the couple has made. In marriage, the husband and wife together make a covenant. A definition of a covenant is a solemn agreement that is binding on all parties. In the Old Testament, God made a covenant with the Israelites. In the New Testament, God gave us a new covenant.

Marriage is honorable among all, and the bed undefiled; but fornicators and adulterers God will judge." Hebrews 13:4 " To have" illustrates the enchantment we feel as we watch the man and the woman embrace and form a union together. We are witnessing two people going forth as husband and wife to face joys and tragedies alongside one another.

" And He answered and said to them, 'Have you not read that He who made them at the beginning made them male and female, ' and said, 'For this reason a man shall leave his father and mother and be joined to his wife, and the two shall become one flesh'? So then, they are no longer two but one flesh. Therefore what God has joined together, let not man separate." Matthew 19:4-6

As we look at the words " And to hold from this day forward" , they don’t depict the having as being temporary, but show it’s permanence. This can be likened to anything that you have kept , example: a set of keys. You have these keys and you hold onto them, putting them in the same place whenever they are not being used.

"As a loving deer and a graceful doe, Let her breasts satisfy you at all times; And always be enraptured with her love." Proverbs 5:19

In the words, " For better; for worse; for richer, for poorer; in sickness and in health" indicates an actuality statement. The husband/wife will go through highs and lows in their marriage. But, they now can face these trials alongside the other. The covenant they made at their marriage will hold them together, no matter what. Marriage is a permanent institution ordained by our magnificent God.

"My brethren, count it all joy when you fall into various trials."James 1:2

" To love" calls attention to the feeling and the driving force of the covenant. Throughout the marriage, the couple will go through many kinds of love. Some various forms of love are the dependant love, erotic love, unfaltering love, and a friendship love. Many more forms of love can be found.

"Wives, submit to your own husbands, as is fitting in the Lord.
Husbands, love your wives and do not be bitter toward them." Colossians 3:18-19

The words, " And to cherish" describes the thoughts they express in finding their selected partner. All people on earth want to be loved for the person they are. Everyone desires to be cherished and/or valued for themselves as they are.

"Husbands, love your wives, just as Christ also loved the church and gave Himself for her.
So husbands ought to love their own wives as their own bodies; he who loves his wife loves himself."
Ephesians 5:25, 28

" Until death do us part" brings to mind the actuality dealt with in marriage. The covenant taken by the husband and the wife is to be broken by death. Those in attendance may become teary eyed, but that is when the certainty involved in marriage comes to everyone’s minds. They are reminded of the permanency involved in any marriage.

So many think they can get upset with their spouse and leave and later possibly find a replacement. That is NOT God’s plan for marriage. There is no substitute for the husband/wife that we have chosen. They are not to be treated as a bag of potatoes, purchasing a new bag when the old ones have either gone bad or are used up. No matter how difficult the situation in a marriage is, we have an escape from the bad situation. All we need to do is place all the problems back and start over emotionally. Our wondrous Lord has given us each other and together we will go through the highs and lows.

" submitting to one another in the fear of God." Ephesians 5:21

With the words " According to God’s Holy Ordinance", we get a depiction of the One who is endorsing and authorizing the covenant we made. We might have our marriage papers in the proper place, but it is our Great and Powerful Lord who authorized the covenant. What a Marvelous and Powerful Almighty God we have!!!

" So then, they are no longer two but one flesh. Therefore what God has joined together, let not man separate ."
Matthew 19:6

1. Why is a covenant so important in God’s plan for marriage?
2. What do the words "And to cherish…" convey?
3. Why is marriage to be a lasting committment?
4. What is a covenant?
5. Why are we to have a monongamous relationship?

Copyright 2008 Linda Lawrence