Words that are happily and permanently fixed in the memories of many people are, “I take thee. . .to be my lawfully wedded wife; to have and to hold from this day forward, for better or worse; for richer or poorer; in sickness and in health; to love and to cherish till death do us part.” These words of the marriage ceremony have their basis in the Word of the One who created man and woman. The Scriptures say in Genesis 2:23-24: “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 his mother, and shall cleave unto his wife: and they shall be one flesh.” Jesus said, “What therefore God hath joined together, let not man put asunder” (Matt. 19:6). Paul stated the permanency of the law of marriage in Romans 7:2 when he wrote, “For the woman which hath an husband is bound by the law to her husband so long as he liveth; but if the husband be dead, she is loosed from the law of her husband.”
It seems that today most people assume that marriage is not a permanent (for a lifetime) institution. The fact that there are five or more divorces for every ten marriages should cause God-fearing people to shudder and mourn. They should mourn because of the sins that cause this breaking up of the divine institution of marriage. They should shudder and tremble when they consider what the consequences will be to those who transgress God’s law.
God’s ideal will has always been that there should be “one man for one woman for life.” When Jesus was asked about the reasons for “putting away” (divorce) he referred his questioners to the Scriptures of Genesis chapter 2. That chapter clearly shows God’s will in the matter. The Pharisees, wanting to justify themselves and entangle Jesus in a dilemma, asked Him about Moses and his granting a writing of divorcement. Jesus said, “Moses because of the hardness of your hearts suffered (allowed) you to put away your wives: but from the beginning it was not so” (Matt. 19:8). Then our Savior Himself gave the only exception to the law of “faithful until death” when He said, “Whosoever shall put away his wife, except it be for fornication, and shall marry another, committeth adultery: and whoso marrieth her which is put away doth commit adultery” (Matt. 19:9).
Regrettably many today have no qualms about going directly against God’s original will. The Hebrew writer warned that those who violate the honorable institution of marriage by being unfaithful to their mates will be judged of God (Heb. 13:4). And “it is a fearful thing to fall into the hands of the living God” (Heb. 10:31). Though men and women may not fear God now, and may continue to live contrary to His will, they will fear Him on Judgment Day. But it will be too late then to repent and change!
Many have asked this writer, “But what can we do about the many who have divorced and remarried in an unscriptural way?” The thing for such people to do is to repent of their sins and put away the partner that God is not pleased with. The next thing for all of us to do is to get back to the will of God in our examples as husbands and wives and in our teaching to our young people the sacredness and permanency of marriage. It will be the greatest blessing you can give your sons and daughters to teach them that when they commit to marriage it MUST be “till death do us part.”
How wonderful is the honorable institution of marriage (Heb. 13:4). How blessed is humankind to have a loving heavenly Father who provided for man’s most intimate and genuine needs in providing a permanent partner in this life! How can anyone even contemplate being able to improve on the plan that the One who created man has revealed to us in His Word? May we all honor God by marrying for a lifetime!