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Strengthening Marriages: What is a Biblically Healthy Marriage?

Marriage is a journey that requires constant nurturing, understanding, and growth. As our church has conversations over the next 8 weeks about strengthening our marriages, we will share on the blog each week to continue the conversation! As we begin this exploration of marital strength, we must delve into the biblical foundations of a healthy marriage. God created us for each other and when we allow the world to paint the picture for our marriage we end up in a place of brokenness, like most everything the world creates. Most couples don’t know what the Bible says about marriage and those who do know what the Bible says, most haven’t actually done the work to understand what that means for their marriage. Whether you've been married for a short time or many years, hopefully this blog will provide insights and practical applications to help you deepen your relationship with your spouse.

What Does A Biblically Healthy Marriage Look Like? First you have to understand that marriage is designed and created by God. A biblically healthy marriage is rooted in God's original design. It is a permanent union, as seen in Genesis 2:24, "Therefore a man shall leave his father and his mother and hold fast to his wife, and they shall become one flesh." (Genesis 2:24 ESV) Jesus reinforces this in Matthew 19:6, "...they are no longer two but one flesh. What therefore God has joined together, let not man separate.” (Matthew 19:6 ESV) Divorce was never a part of God’s plan. Jesus says as much in Matthew 19:8-9 “...Because of your hardness of heart Moses allowed you to divorce your wives, but from the beginning it was not so. And I say to you: whoever divorces his wife, except for sexual immorality, and marries another, commits adultery.” Divorce has never been and will never be an option for us. We even will go so far as to say we do not even joke about divorce. We love to joke with each other and tease each other all the time. However, divorce is never the topic of even in a silly meme sent to each other or a joking snide comment.

Marriage is also the most intimate of human relationships, surpassing all others in depth and connection. Adam's reaction to Eve in Genesis 2:23-25 illustrates the profound bond and lack of shame in a marriage that is open and transparent. Couples should strive for this level of intimacy, where nothing is hidden and communication is open. Then the man said,

“This at last is bone of my bones and flesh of my flesh; she shall be called Woman, because she was taken out of Man.”

Therefore a man shall leave his father and his mother and hold fast to his wife, and they shall become one flesh. And the man and his wife were both naked and were not ashamed. (Genesis 2:23-25 ESV) Trust is a cornerstone of marriage, and it is built through clear and open communication. Couples should share all aspects of their lives, fostering a deep sense of trust and intimacy. This transparency is crucial for a strong and satisfying marriage. There is no relationship in your life, outside of your relationship with God, that should come before, reach the depth, or share the intimacy that your marriage does. That means your spouse always comes before your family, your friends, and your kids. In our marriage, there are no secrets. This means taking responsibility for your actions and contributions to the marriage. Acknowledging mistakes and working together to improve areas of weakness strengthens the bond between spouses.

Ephesians 5:25-30 calls husbands to love their wives as Christ loved the church, sacrificing themselves. This mutual sacrifice is essential for a healthy marriage. Husbands, love your wives, as Christ loved the church and gave himself up for her, that he might sanctify her, having cleansed her by the washing of water with the word, so that he might present the church to himself in splendor, without spot or wrinkle or any such thing, that she might be holy and without blemish. In the same way husbands should love their wives as their own bodies. He who loves his wife loves himself. For no one ever hated his own flesh, but nourishes and cherishes it, just as Christ does the church, because we are members of his body. (Ephesians 5:25-30 ESV) A great example of this mutual sacrifice, Paul talks about in relation to sex in 1 Corinthians 7:2-5. It highlights the unique bond between spouses. But because of the temptation to sexual immorality, each man should have his own wife and each woman her own husband. The husband should give to his wife her conjugal rights, and likewise the wife to her husband. For the wife does not have authority over her own body, but the husband does. Likewise the husband does not have authority over his own body, but the wife does. Do not deprive one another, except perhaps by agreement for a limited time, that you may devote yourselves to prayer; but then come together again, so that Satan may not tempt you because of your lack of self-control. (1 Corinthians 7:2-5 ESV) Marriage offers companionship, as God did not want Adam to be alone (Amos 3:3). It is also for enjoyment, with the marriage bed being a place of undefiled pleasure (Hebrews 13:4). Lastly, marriage is for fruitfulness, as God commanded Adam and Eve to be fruitful and multiply (Genesis 1:28).

Robert & Kellee Wedding 2010

God designed marriage to be exclusive. Our marriage is just that…ours. It is not our kids, it does not include our parents or this church. It is exclusive to us. Marriage is a covenant, not a contract. This covenant is born out of a relationship with God and each other, that is exciting, challenging, and so rewarding!

Something To Think About

Take some time to reflect on your marriage. Are there areas where you need to be more open or take more responsibility?

This week, challenge yourself to initiate a conversation with your spouse about these topics. Work together to identify and strengthen any weak points in your relationship.

Questions for Self-Reflection

1. How can I improve communication with my spouse to build deeper trust?

2. In what ways can I take more responsibility in my marriage?

3. What steps can I take to ensure that our marriage reflects God's design for intimacy and permanence?

By focusing on these biblical principles and committing to intentional growth, you can cultivate a marriage that not only endures but thrives. ~ Pastor Robert & Kellee Gentry

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