Marriage By Design

Faith Church January 31, 1999

Marriage By Design

Christian marriage can be one of the greatest blessings of a person’s life.  Many followers of Christ view their spouse as a best friend, a lifelong love, a faithful companion, and co-laborer for the Lord.
For others, however, marriage is a source of frustration and disappointment.  Some married couples look at the future with fear, despair, and hopelessness.
Many married couples find themselves somewhere in the middle.  Their marriage is good in many ways, but they want to keep growing.
The good news is that God’s Word has answers for whatever kind of marriage is “brought to the table.”  It is Jesus Christ who said, “What therefore God has joined together, let no man separate” (Matthew 19:6).  He wants His children to learn how to build marriages that are long lasting, productive, and honoring to Him.  As we begin this study together, be encouraged that Jesus Christ our Lord and Savior stands ready to help us build better marriages.


I.  Marriage Is God’s Idea


Genesis 2:18:  “Then the LORD God said, ‘It is not good for the man to be alone; I WILL MAKE him a helper suitable for him.’”
A.  According to Genesis 2:18, where did the idea of marriage originate and who would have the answers for problems in marriage?

B.  What are some typical attitudes or responses to marital problems?

C.  Please read Psalm 1:1.  What might be one of the problems many may be having whose marriages are struggling and are not growing?

D.  Think about some of the world’s best attempts to portray a marriage or a family.  List some of those attempts (e.g. The Waltons).

What are some of the obvious elements missing from these portrayals of a family?

E.  Before God ever established the state or even the church, He established marriage and the family.  What are some implications of knowing this “order of priority” in which God established these institutions?

 

F.  According to Proverbs 2:17 and Malachi 2:14, what word did God use to describe marriage?

This word actually refers to a contract or agreement between two parties.  Knowing this, what words or phrases would you use to describe God’s attitude toward this “covenant” relationship (and therefore, what should be our attitude)?


G.  What are some practical things a husband and wife can do to keep their “covenant fires” burning brightly?


H.  God said that marriage was “very good.”
Genesis 1:31:  “And God saw all that He had made, and behold, it was very good.  And there was evening and there was morning, the sixth day.”
God knew His plan and was pleased with it as He put Adam (a male) with Eve (a female).  Since that’s true, other substitutes are not better or even acceptable!
What are some of man’s attempts to substitute marriage, as God knows it?


I.   Because God uses the word “covenant” and “very good” to describe what He designed, what should be our attitude toward the Designer and what He established?

J.   What does Psalm 128:1-4 say is a key element in a marriage that pleases God?  What are some of the results of following this principle?
Psalm 128:1-4:  “How blessed is everyone who fears the LORD, who walks in His ways.  When you shall eat of the fruit of your hands, you will be happy and it will be well with you.  Your wife shall be like a fruitful vine, within your house, your children like olive plants around your table.  Behold, for thus shall the man be blessed who fears the LORD.”
 

II.  God Designed the Purpose of Marriage


Genesis 2:18:  “Then the LORD God said, ‘It is not good for the man to be alone; I will make him a helper suitable for him.’”
A.  According to Genesis 2:18, what is the main reason God designed marriage?

B.  Knowing the purpose for which God designed marriage, what impact should that have on how a husband and wife schedule their time together?


C.  We need to be careful not to let other things prevent us or hinder us from fulfilling God’s basic purpose of marriage.  What are some potential hindrances to building this foundation of companionship?


D.  According to Joshua 24:15, what great opportunity does marriage present to Christians?
Joshua 24:15:  "And if it is disagreeable in your sight to serve the LORD, choose for yourselves today whom you will serve: whether the gods which your fathers served which were beyond the river, or the gods of the Amorites in whose land you are living; but as for me and my house, we will serve the LORD."

E.  What are some things on which the average person may think marriage is based?

III.  Godly Marriages Involve “Leaving”


Genesis 2:24:  “For this cause a man shall leave his father and mother. . .”
A.  The importance of this Biblical concept:
The principle that married couples must “leave” their parents is so important that it is repeated three times in the Word of God.
Matthew 19:5:  “For this cause a man shall leave his father and mother, and shall cleave to his wife; and the two shall become one flesh.”
Mark 10:7-8:  “For this cause a man shall leave his father and mother, and become one flesh; consequently they are no longer two, but one flesh.”
Ephesians 5:31:  “For this cause a man shall leave his father and mother, and shall cleave to his wife; and the two shall become one flesh.”
Comparing these verses reveals that God spoke of the leaving principle in both the Old and New Testaments, and both before and after the fall of mankind into sin.  Clearly this idea is part of God’s blueprint for marriage.
B.  What “leaving” does not mean:
It is important to interpret Bible verses like Genesis 2:24 in light of other passages of Scripture.  If we did not do this, we might conclude that God’s will is for married couples to leave their parents and never come back.
We know that such an extreme interpretation of Genesis 2:24 cannot be accurate because of verses like Deuteronomy 4:9:  “Only give heed to yourself and keep your soul diligently, lest you forget the things which your eyes have seen, and lest they depart from your heart all the days of your life; but make them known to your sons and your grandsons.”
How does what this verse says about a person’s ministry to their grandchildren help balance our understanding of the “leaving” principle?


Leaving does also not necessarily mean that a geographical move must be made.  It is possible to leave father and mother and still live next door.  It is also possible to live thousands of miles from parents and still not leave them.

C.  What “leaving” does mean:  (from Strengthening Your Marriage by Wayne Mack, p. 2).
1. It means that you establish an adult relationship with them.
2. It means that you must be more concerned about your mate’s ideas, opinions, and practices than those of your parents.
3. It means that you must not be slavishly dependent on your parents for affection, approval, assistance, and counsel.
4. It means that you must eliminate any bad attitudes toward your parents, or you will be tied emotionally to them regardless of how far you move from them.
5. It means that you must stop trying to change your mate simply because your parents do not like him the way he is.
6. It means that you make the husband and wife relationship your priority human relationship.
a. Yes, you should be concerned about being a good son/daughter – or mother/father, but you should be more concerned about being a good husband/wife than about being a good son/daughter or father/mother.  Children do not need indulgent parents who continually neglect each other.  They need parents who will demonstrate how to face and solve problems.  They need parents who will show them how to be good husbands and wives; how to relate to other people.
b. If you are a parent, your goal should be to prepare your children to leave, not to stay. Your life must not be wrapped around them or you may make them emotional cripples.
c. You should be preparing yourselves for the day when your children leave by cultivating common interests, by learning to do things together, and by deepening your friendship with each other.
d. When your children have married, you must not try to run their lives. You must allow the young husband to be the head of his home, to make decisions for himself, to look to his wife, not you, as his primary responsibility and helper. You must encourage your daughter to depend upon her husband, not you, for guidance, help, companionship, and affection.
What are some common ways these principles may be violated?

IV.  Godly Marriages Involve “Cleaving”


Genesis 2:24-25:  “. . .and shall cleave to his wife; and they shall become one flesh.  And the man and his wife were both naked and were not ashamed.”
A.  In this passage, the word “cleave” is set in contrast to “leave.”  In other words, cleaving is the opposite of leaving. What are some words or phrases we might use today to describe the concept of a husband and wife “cleaving” to one another?


B.  What does the end of verse 24 say will result when a couple is working hard at leaving and cleaving?
 


C.  God wants His children to build marriages characterized by “growing oneness”.  How should a couple’s commitment to this principle affect the way they handle conflict?


D.  Please list several possible hindrances to marital oneness.


E.  Verse 25 says that Adam and Eve were both naked and not ashamed.  Please read Hebrews 13:4 and describe God’s view of sexual relations in marriage.

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