Biblical Principles That Govern Marriage and Relationships

We need to bear in mind that application is preceded by interpretation and therefore application is the function of interpretation. Simply put wrong interpretation results in inaccurate application. We learned from the Holy Scriptures that we ought to build according to the divine blueprint and not the earthly methodology and patterns taught by men. Now let us shift our attention towards the scriptures even as we seek to comprehend and assimilate the principles laid by God pertaining marriage. Bear in mind the principle; first the natural and then the spiritual. “And so it is written, The first man Adam was made a living soul; the last Adam was made a quickening spirit. Howbeit that was not first which is spiritual, but that which is natural; and afterward that which is spiritual.” 1 Corinthians 15:45-46. It is axiomatic from the text quoted above, that spiritual principles are conveyed through the natural objects. Allow me to share with you the background on the topic at hand.

Few weeks ago, I did an exposition on the book of Ruth. My focus was, however, on understanding the relationship between Ruth as the type of the church and Boaz as the type of Christ. God enlightened me to the fact that the relationship between the bride (the church) and the bridegroom (Christ) is the ultimate blueprint in as far as marriage is concerned. We learned from the Mosaic that whatever we build here on earth should conform to the divine standard and pattern. The same principle is applicable when it comes to how we build our relationships and marriages. I want us to closely cast our eyes on the book of Genesis. The principle is simple, understanding Genesis is the genesis of understanding. Bear in mind that the first man Adam was made a living soul and the last Adam was made a quickening spirit. Understanding the first Adam is therefore imperative to understanding the last Adam (Christ).Outlined below are the principles that govern marriage and relationships;

1. The primary rationale behind marriage is to fulfil the divine mandate.

This principle was gleaned from the book of Ruth. The purpose behind the marriage of Ruth and Boaz was to begat Obed. When we cast our eyes on the genealogy of Christ in the first chapter of the book of Matthew, it is evident that Salmon begat Boaz and Boaz begat Obed, and Obed begat Jesse, and Jesse begat David who paved the way for Christ on the earth. It can be deduced from this genealogy that Obed played an integral role in the ushering in of the Messiah. Bear in mind that it was the master plan of God to bring his Son into the world even before the sin of Adam, meaning that Obed was the mandate or the primary reason that connected two people from different nations. We need to bear in mind that Ruth was a Moabite whilst Boaz was a Jew. The Mosaic has taught us that the Ammonite or Moabite cannot enter into the congregation of the Lord. Deuteronomy 23:3. However, it was a total different scenario in the case of Ruth and Boaz, simply because it was orchestrated and preordained By God to fulfil his master plan of bringing Christ into the realm of man. The principle is that, the bride and the bridegroom are connected by Divine destiny and nothing can frustrate the plans of God let alone the Devil himself. Marriages are suffering because they are premised upon man-made foundations at the expense of God’s foundation. We learned from the Holy Scriptures that if the foundations be broken what can the righteous do. It is of paramount importance that we get the foundation right because the strength of the foundation will always determine the strength of the building.

2. There must be a spiritual connection between the husband and wife

I want us to have a closer look at the book of Genesis. Genesis 1:26-27 “And God said, Let us make man in our image, after our likeness: and let them have dominion over the fish of the sea, and over the fowl of the air, and over the cattle, and over all the earth, and over every creeping thing that creepeth upon the earth.

So God created man in his own image, in the image of God created he him; male and female created he them.” It is axiomatic from the text quoted above that God created one man Adam but however in one man Adam we see the infusion of male and female. It behooves us therefore to draw a clear line of demarcation between creation and formation. In Genesis 1:26 we see the creation of man in the image of God and in Genesis 2:7 we see the formation of man out of the dust of the ground. The bible says “And the Lord God formed man of the dust of the ground, and breathed into his nostrils the breath of life; and man became a living soul.” Genesis 2:7.

It is interesting to note that Adam the male was formed out of the dust of the ground and not Adam the female. The principle that we can deduce from the first man Adam is that Adam the male and female were created as one being. There is nowhere in the scriptures that God created Adam and Eve separately and this led me to the conclusion that God created one man Adam (male and female he created them). It is therefore apparent from the scriptures that male and female Adam were spiritually created as one man, but however they were separated in the physical. Bear in mind that man is a spirit has a soul and lives in a body. Relationships have to be spiritual before moving into the soul and ultimately the physical dimension. We learned from the scriptures that Adam and Eve were created as one being (spiritual dimension). However, the order has been violated by mankind in that relationships are forged from the physical dimension going up to the spiritual from the physical to the soul and from the soul to the spirit. The principle that is gleaned from Genesis is that if people are spiritually (Spirit) connected, they can connect with ease emotionally (Soul) and physical (Body).

The scriptures say that after God formed Adam; there was no suitable help meet for him. “And the Lord God said, It is not good that the man should be alone; I will make him an help meet for him. “Genesis 2:18. It is God who knows what is compatible with us because he actually knows us more than we know ourselves. The principle that we deduced from this text is that; we should depend on God for making us suitable companion and not depend on our wisdom and criteria simply because he knows what is good for us. We need to bear in mind that Eve was only formed in Genesis 2:21-24 “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. And the rib, which the Lord God had taken from man, made he a woman, and brought her unto the man. And Adam said, This is now bone of my bones, and flesh of my flesh: she shall be called Woman, because she was taken out of man. Therefore shall a man leave his father and mother, and shall cleave unto his wife: and they shall be one flesh.” We need to take into cognizance that it was Adam who named her wife Eve and not God. Meaning that when God looks at Adam’s wife, He sees Adam the female and not Eve. It was possible for God to draw Eve out of Adam because they were created as one in Genesis 1:26.

The principle is simple, God can only form or bring into the physical that which he already created in the spirit. The above quoted text actually corroborated that which was mentioned previously, that Adam and Eve were created one and not as separate beings. They were only separated in the physical. Note how God formed Eve out of Adam. The bible says that God caused a deep sleep to fall upon Adam, and he took his rib and formed a woman. It is interesting to note that immediately after God formed Eve, he presented her onto to Adam. The very first thing that came out of the lips of Adam was “This is now bone of my bones and flesh of my flesh”. Bear in mind that Adam was only exposed and familiar with the animals that God created, so it took self-identity for Adam to recognize that Eve actually was the bone of his bones and flesh of his flesh without any Divine intervention. The principle that we need to learn and adapt from Adam is that, we can only recognize physically that which we already know spiritually. I want to believe that it was easy for Adam to recognize and discern Eve physically, simply because they were spiritually connected. The bible says that “Therefore shall a man leave his father and mother, and shall cleave unto his wife: and they shall be one flesh.” Genesis 2:24. Let us properly demystify the hidden present day truth in this text. This is one of the most commonly quoted text in as far as marriage is concerned, but however the text is often not appropriately articulated and understood. The principle that is highlighted in this text is that, what is spiritually connected and united will always be one in the physical. Simply put, unity starts in the spirit before it can manifest in the physical. It is impossible for husband and wife to be one in the flesh if they are not one in the spirit.

3. First Agape and then Eros

We learned in the book of Genesis that God made a woman out of the rib of a man. The question becomes why did God have to form Eve out of the rib of Adam and not out of the dust of the ground? The answer to this question is simple, God designed it that way in order for Adam to love Eve as he loves himself. Bear in mind that after God formed Eve out of the rib of Adam, he presented her into Adam and Adam said the following, “This is now bone of my bones and flesh of my flesh”. This text is indicative of the fact that Adam acknowledged and accepted Eve as his own flesh. When we take a closer look at the book of Genesis, we see God unfolding his master plan unto man in bits and pieces. The master plan of God was for Christ to manifest in the world. Throughout the book of Genesis we see God unravelling his master plan gradually unto mankind. Just to recapitulate, it was mentioned earlier that understanding the first Adam is imperative to understand the last Adam (Christ). The old testament principle is that one should love his/her neighbour as he love himself/ herself. The standard or parameter of love was the love that one has for himself/ herself. It was indicated earlier that the rationale behind God forming Eve out of the rib of Adam was for Adam to love Eve as he love himself. However, when we shift from the Old Testament to the new covenant we see the amplification of the principle that one should love as he love himself/herself. The new principle, then, becomes that one should love as Christ has loved.

The standard of love in the new covenant is Christ. The standard of love in Genesis was first Adam, but however the standard of love in the new covenant is the last Adam (Christ). Paul the apostle alluded to the principle that wives should submit to their husbands as unto the Lord and husbands should love their wives as Christ has loved the church. Ephesians 5:22&25. The question then becomes how did Christ love the church? Christ loved the church with Agape (Selfless and unconditional love). The subsequent question that we ought to ask ourselves is that, how can man love with Agape love? The answer is simple; Man has to be connected to Christ to love like Christ. The bible says that the love of God is shed abroad in our hearts by the holy Ghost. The principles laid down by the scriptures is that husbands should love according to the measure and standard of Christ (Agape love). Agape then serves as the foundation of marriage and not Eros. Eros is an ancient Greek word that denotes intimate or romantic love. The fundamental reason why husbands should love their wives as Christ has loved the Church is because of the fact that Eros is temporal whilst Agape is everlasting. Now we also need to take into cognizance of the fact that Eros is susceptible to the external environment, which mean that it can always be negatively influenced by the circumstances and the environment in which it operates. However, with Agape is not the case, because nothing can shake or challenge this kind of love.

The bible says that this kind of love conquers everything. My emphasis is that marriage should be premised on Agape and supported by Eros. Bear in mind that people have limitations and therefore no one is perfect. With that being said, the only thing that can sustain marriage is Agape because it is the only love that can override the fallibility of mankind. This kind of love sees beyond human errors and limitations. Let us turn our attention to the book of Ruth. Bear in mind that names denotes nature. The name Boaz denotes strength and the name Ruth means comeliness or beautiful. The only reason why Boaz loved Ruth, despite the fact that Ruth was a Moabite and therefore a gentile is that he had the strength to love her as his name has the connotation of strength. Boaz had the capacity to see the underlying hidden beauty that was in Ruth even when everyone was seeing Ruth as a widow and a Moabite. Often times we have the proclivity to profess that we love people only to find that we do not have the capacity to love them. I want to conclude by saying that a perfect couple is made by Boaz (strength to love) and Ruth (beauty beyond limitations).