Great confusion about what constitutes family and marriage now permeates across the globe. Families and marriages can come in any form imaginable. Throughout history old men have married little girls and in some parts of the world today this still happens, especially in Middle Eastern cultures. Modern Western culture has recently observed the unprecedented rise in same-gender marriages. In many parts of the world one can witness people marrying their pets, farm animals, or any non-human for many reasons. In India, it is a custom. As many parts of the country perform human-animal marriage just as a matter of superstition. Ngurah Alit, an 18-year-old Balinese teenager, was caught in the act of intercourse with a cow after claiming that it had flirted with him. He later married the cow in 2010. A lady named Carol Santa, from San Diego, California even went so far as to marry a building in 2015. Literally, marriages take all forms.
A Pew Forum survey released November 2010 said 39 percent of Americans believe marriage is obsolete. This change in thinking profoundly impacts the country and especially children. American culture grows negligent in the respect for marriage. If a couple do not like each other, then they just divorce and try again. Since 1960, the number of divorces has tripled. The vows are not taken seriously, and weddings have become more like theme parties than a focus on godly love. Celebrity culture in America advocates for homosexual marriages and “open marriages” where the spouses can commit fornication without the partner being upset or threaten to leave. Some licensed, marriage counselors are now recommending that spouses cheat on each other as a way of growing closer to each other and having a greater appreciation for their spouse.
In 1960, 72 percent of adults in America were married, in 2008 only 52 percent were married. Many are living together as husband and wife without being married. Those that live in such a life are not ashamed, but rather glory and celebrate their worldly attitude and wisdom. Popular culture proudly ignores the words of Christ, “And he answered and said unto them, Have ye not read, that he which made them at the beginning made them male and female, And said, For this cause shall a man leave father and mother, and shall cleave to his wife: and they twain shall be one flesh? Wherefore they are no more twain, but one flesh. What therefore God hath joined together, let not man put asunder” (Matt. 19:4-6). Popular culture glories in the abuse of God’s institution of marriage.
From the beginning, God made a pattern for the home. A pattern is a form or model designed to be imitated or copied. God’s patterns, as His ways, were always righteous (Ps. 145:17); they brought blessings to those who followed them (Ps. 119:2-3; Prov. 3:5-7).
God’s pattern for the family began with creation. God created man “in his own image.” He created them male and female. God showed his love and wisdom by giving Adam, his first created man, a helper fit for the trials of life. God created man and woman to aid each other biologically (1 Cor. 7:2-5), socially (Gen. 18:1-8), emotionally (Eph. 5:33), and spiritually (Titus 2:5).
Marriage uniquely unites a male and female into “one flesh” (Gen. 2:24). “One flesh” is having a singular goal in life, moving in the same direction, having similar ambitions, and working together to move each other forward. God did not send Adam another man to be a helper, but rather a woman. It is not an accident that in the New Testament the word for husband (aner) is the word for male, and the word for wife (gune) is the word for woman. According to the New Testament linguistics, one cannot speak of husband and wife without speaking of man and woman. God designs marriage to be for life and to be for man and woman (Rom. 7:1-3; 1:27).
Unfortunately, many people marry individuals that change and become terrible human beings that emotionally and physically abuse their spouses. What should a person who wants to honor their marriage vows and be faithful to God do in such a situation. Paul explains in 1 Corinthians 7 that people can find themselves in difficult situations in life, but one can serve God in whatever situation they find themselves (1 Cor. 7:17). One can be faithful as a married couple (1 Cor. 7:1-5), as a widow, (1 Cor. 7:8), as a single person (1 Cor. 7: 6-7,9), as one who spouse has run out on them (1 Cor. 7:10-11), and as one that has a spouse that is not a Christian (1 Cor. 7:12-14). Likewise, Paul explains that while staying with one’s spouse is ideal, if the unbelieving spouse makes it hard to dwell with him/her either emotionally or physically, the Christian has the right to leave the spouse in order to better serve God and keep their family safe (1 Cor. 7:10-11, 15). However, if the Christian separates from his/her spouse for reasons other than fornication, the individual cannot remarry (Matt. 19:9; 1 Cor. 7:10-11). God explains that death and fornication are the only reasons for remarriage (Rom. 7:1-3; Matt. 5:32).
God created not only a design for marriage but a design for the home within the marriage to aid the family in a godly organization and order. Men were assigned to be the head of the household, to dwell with their wives in love, honor, and knowledge (Eph. 5:22-25; 1 Peter 3:7). Likewise, women are assigned by God to be teachers and keepers of the home, dwelling with their husbands in love, respect, and goodness (Eph. 5:22,24; Titus 2:3-5). God commands that children honor and obey their parents in the Lord (Eph. 6:1-3). When people ignore the design and function of marriage and family, they inevitably hurt themselves (Heb. 13:4).
The law of God in marriage and family increases a person’s understanding of faith, loyalty, commitment, love, appreciation, respect, honor, and selflessness.