Husband & Wife for Life: God's Laws (Part 1)
Glenn Colley shared the following story during one of his lectures on marriage. As he was eating lunch with a fellow brother in Christ, the young man shared an idea with him for a communal living arrangement. He was very excited about the idea and was bubbling over with enthusiasm as he explained the concept. "Here's what we'll do," he said. "We'll get four couples to go in together and buy a large number of acres in the country. We'll all share a common driveway and barn (with a tractor that everyone can use), and all of our houses will be built next to each other with each family owning the acres behind their home. All of us will be Christians. We'll share and just have a wonderful life together. Won't it be great?!"

Glenn responded, "Yes, it does sound like a neat idea, but what about by-laws?" "What do you mean?" the other man asked. "Well," Glenn said, "what happens when one family has to move due to a job change or some other circumstance? Can just anyone buy their house and their portion of the land? If so, you might have some unwanted neighbors. And, what about that tractor? If Brother A uses it more than everyone else and it throws a rod, who will pay for it?"

The wise will realize that although much good could result from a living arrangement like this, there are also a lot of problems that could develop if laws were not in place that explained how certain circumstances would be dealt with. Entering into a communal living agreement like this would be a disaster waiting to happen if the rules were not clearly defined.

Marriage is a lot like that. Successful marriage starts with laws--God's laws. With no laws or rules, it's only a matter of time before marriages turn into disasters!

What's the most important part of a marriage? If you think the answer is physical pleasure, then your relationship is headed for trouble. Oh yes, pleasure is important, but the marriage won't last for long if that is the highest priority. It's kind of like building a house. What's the most important part in building a house? Some will suggest that the most important part is finishing the rooms with trim, paint, and specially selected decorations and art. Although these cosmetic matters are important for turning a house into a beautiful living space, there are many things more important in constructing a house that will last--like starting with a proper foundation. Everything the builder does is focused on getting the weight pressed down firmly to the ground. The framework must be put in place before the roof can be put on and the interior finished. It is impossible to have a quality house without a solid foundation; the same is true with marriage! Without the right foundation (i.e., having Christ as the basis for your life) and without having the proper framework (i.e., basing your marriage on God's laws), your house (marriage) will crumble! It is true that a house can get by on a shaky foundation for a while, but for how long? A marriage without God and His word is destined to be unstable. How long will such a marriage last? Only the Lord knows.

Okay, Stephen, so you say we need to embrace God's laws for a successful and happy marriage? What are these laws? First, it must be understood that the laws for marriage in the Bible are not just the laws that specifically mention the marriage relationship! For example, if I want to know what the Bible teaches regarding how I should treat my uncle, what passages should I study? Should I just consider the verses that mention that relationship explicitly? Of course not! There are few (if any) passages that specifically address how a Christian should treat his uncle. However, there are many Scriptures that apply to all of my human relationships in general which should certainly be considered. Unfortunately, I'm afraid that when it comes to the husband-wife relationship, we generally focus our attention--almost exclusively--to passages that specifically mention husbands and wives. When we do this we are making a big mistake and missing out on a lot of relevant verses. We must also study and apply the general set of Christian principles on relationships and apply them to our marriages!

We will consider some specific Bible verses in our next lesson which contain some laws from God for our marriages.