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Verses for Christian Marriage
When Lee and I were engaged, we did some premarital counseling with the pastor of my home church. He requires this in order to marry you, but I honestly think premarital counseling is something EVERY engaged couple should do. We went through a book (here’s a good option if you’re looking for one, Preparing For Marriage by Dennis Rainey). I still remember a couple of the questions we had to answer.
One question that stuck out to me was something along the lines of What is marriage to you? or maybe it was What is a picture of marriage to you? I remember saying that I picture marriage like from the movie The Notebook or from a video I once saw of a real couple where an older man was taking care of his wife who had Alzheimer’s. These things both involve older couples who have stood the test of time. Beauty has faded. Physical attraction has probably faded. Communication has mostly faded. One of the people in the relationship doesn’t really even remember the other person. However, the healthier spouse comes back every day to take care of his beloved.
This is marriage to me.
Marriage is about sacrifice. Marriage is about CHOOSING every day to love another person. Yes, physical attraction and romance and communication, etc. are important, but they are not what you should build a marriage on. Those things will fade one day or you may go through seasons when you’re younger where those things aren’t so prevalent.
With divorce such a common escape, I feel like we’re building our marriages around the wrong things. (Please know that I understand that some things are beyond a person’s control and many divorces do not come about for selfish reasons). Movies, TV shows, books, fairy tales, etc. give us unrealistic expectations of marriage. Marriage is not easy. Marriage is not all unicorns and rainbows and magical, happy times. Marriage is hard, really hard sometimes. You’re taking two imperfect, often selfish, sinners and expecting them to live and thrive together.
So, this leads me to the other question I remember from our premarital counseling which was,
What verses were we claiming for our marriage?
This started us off on the right path of a Gospel centered marriage. The Gospel is about grace. The Gospel is about sacrificing for others. The Gospel is about unconditional love. These are the foundations for a healthy marriage. Beauty, money, success, happiness, romance, etc. are all things that will come and go. The Gospel is solid. The Gospel is everlasting. If we build our marriage on Christ and the Gospel, it still won’t be easy but we have a better chance of being successful.
Today I want to share some verses that I think should be claimed for our marriages. Many of these verses can be applied to other areas of life, but today I want to briefly go over how each one applies to marriage.
1. “Little children, let us not love in word or talk but in deed and in truth.” -1 John 3:18
This is one of the verses I remember writing in our book during premarital counseling. We also used this verse at our wedding. Love requires action. It is not enough to simply speak words of love.
2. “Submit to one another out of reverence for Christ.” -Ephesians 5:21
Most people know the verses about wives submitting to their husbands, but right before that we are told to submit to others. This includes our spouses both husbands and wives. This is where we aren’t selfish and insisting on our own interests, but we’re putting another before ourselves. The most important part of this verse is why we submit to one another.
3. “My dear brothers, take note of this: Everyone should be quick to listen, slow to speak, and slow to become angry.” -James 1:19
Unfortunately, those who we are closest to are often those who we treat the worst. Good communication is key to a marriage. Listen to one another and don’t be so quick to become angry with one another.
4. “Drink water from your own cistern, running water from your own well.” -Proverbs 5:15
Unfaithfulness in marriage is becoming more and more common even among Christians. God commands us to remain faithful to our spouse. I believe that this doesn’t just include the obvious physical side of things, but also what we look at, how we relate to people of the opposite sex, and what we think about. (It’s one of the reasons Jesus taught us how to guard our thoughts!)
5. “For this reason a man will leave his father and mother and be united to his wife, and they will become one flesh.” -Genesis 2:24
There are many truths in this one verse. First of all, marriage requires you to leave your family. This can be difficult and can cause problems if not done. While your family is still important, your spouse is your closest family now. Then, you have the “one flesh” part which of course means physically, but you also become united in other ways. I personally believe in marriage “what’s mine is yours.” Being united in all aspects of life and looking out for one another as one would their own flesh are important to the marriage commitment.
6. “We love because he first loved us.” -1 John 4:19
God is our example of how to love our spouse. God loves us despite our flaws, despite how many times we disappoint Him, and despite the times we sin against him. Our love for our spouse should be this unconditional. This type of love is not natural and can only be done with God’s help. This type of love is also about more than feelings. It’s a daily choice.
I know that there are many more verses that can be claimed for our marriages. These are just 6 that stuck out to me and I intentionally left out some of the most common verses we hear about marriage.
What is a verse or verses that you claim for your marriage and why?