What does the word “Marriage” mean to God?


Let’s look at his Word to find out. I'm referring to a plain reading of relevant scriptures.





First things first

The first word that refers to the role of “wife” in Genesis 2:18 is the word HELPER.  This concept is mentioned before marriage, or even gender, because it predates them, and even caused them.


But for Adam [h] no suitable helper was found. 21 So the LORD God caused the man to fall into a deep sleep; and while he was sleeping, he took one of the man's ribs [i] and closed up the place with flesh. 22 Then the LORD God made a woman from the rib [j] he had taken out of the man, and he brought her to the man.


 23 The man said,

       "This is now bone of my bones

       and flesh of my flesh;

       she shall be called 'woman, [k] '

       for she was taken out of man."


 24 For this reason a man will leave his father and mother and be united to his wife, and they will become one flesh.


In summary, God did all this in order to create a suitable helper for Adam (v 20).  This is the reason women were created. This means that even women with a gift of singleness are created to be helpers as well.  An example of this is that Jesus (Matthew 27:55) and Paul received so much help from women during their travels. 


Foundational truth

This passage is the first and foundation verse on topics of sexuality.  We know this because Jesus and the Apostles keep referring back to it as they elaborate upon it with more explicit teaching on marriage, divorce, marriage roles, gender roles etc. 



1.       The fact (from Gen 2:23) that the woman is of the man’s own flesh (rib) is used by Christ to clarify God’s law regarding divorce.


Matt 19:3-9

3          Some Pharisees came to him to test him. They asked, "Is it lawful for a man to divorce his wife for any and every reason?"

4          "Haven't you read," he replied, "that at the beginning the Creator 'made them male and female,'

5          and said, 'For this reason a man will leave his father and mother and be united to his wife, and the two will become one flesh'?

6          So they are no longer two, but one. Therefore what God has joined together, let man not separate."

7          "Why then," they asked, "did Moses command that a man give his wife a certificate of divorce and send her away?"

8          Jesus replied, "Moses permitted you to divorce your wives because your hearts were hard. But it was not this way from the beginning.

9          I tell you that anyone who divorces his wife, except for marital unfaithfulness, and marries another woman commits adultery."



2.  Later, Paul refers to Gen 2:20 implicitly below, supporting his headship teaching regarding gender roles in 3 different places.


1 Corinthians 11:3         

Now I want you to realize that the head of every man is Christ, and the head of the woman is man, and the head of Christ is God.


1 Corinthians 11:7
7A man ought not to cover his head,[b] since he is the image and glory of God; but the woman is the glory of man. 8For man did not come from woman, but woman from man; 9neither was man created for woman, but woman for man.
(in Context) 1 Corinthians 11 (Whole Chapter)


1 Tim 2:8-15

8          I want men everywhere to lift up holy hands in prayer, without anger or disputing.

9          I also want women to dress modestly, with decency and propriety, not with braided hair or gold or pearls or expensive clothes,

10         but with good deeds, appropriate for women who profess to worship God.

11         A woman should learn in quietness and full submission.

12         I do not permit a woman to teach or to have authority over a man; she must be silent.

13         For Adam was formed first, then Eve.

14         And Adam was not the one deceived; it was the woman who was deceived and became a sinner. (NIV)


With men’s position of headship, also comes our responsibility to not to lord it over women, but to serve them as Christ serves us. 


2 Corinthians 1:24
Not that we lord it over your faith, but we work with you for your joy, because it is by faith you stand firm.

2 Corinthians 1:23-25 (in Context) 2 Corinthians 1 (Whole Chapter)

Luke 22:24-26 (New International Version)

 24Also a dispute arose among them as to which of them was considered to be greatest. 25Jesus said to them, "The kings of the Gentiles lord it over them; and those who exercise authority over them call themselves Benefactors. 26But you are not to be like that. Instead, the greatest among you should be like the youngest, and the one who rules like the one who serves.



A man’s reflecting and sharing Christ’s love takes on a special meaning for a wife, because he becomes to her a mystical type of Christ (1 Corinthians 11:3, Eph 5:23):



Ephesians 5:25
Husbands, love your wives, just as Christ loved the church and gave himself up for her
Ephesians 5:24-26 (in Context) Ephesians 5 (Whole Chapter)


Colossians 3:19
Husbands, love your wives and do not be harsh with them.
Colossians 3:18-20 (in Context) Colossians 3 (Whole Chapter)


1 Corinthians 11:3         

Now I want you to realize that the head of every man is Christ, and the head of the woman is man, and the head of Christ is God.


            Ephesians 5

 22Wives, submit to your husbands as to the Lord. 23For the husband is the head of the wife as Christ is the head of the church, his body, of which he is the Savior. 24Now as the church submits to Christ, so also wives should submit to their husbands in everything.

 25Husbands, love your wives, just as Christ loved the church and gave himself up for her 26to make her holy, cleansing[b] her by the washing with water through the word, 27and to present her to himself as a radiant church, without stain or wrinkle or any other blemish, but holy and blameless. 28In this same way, husbands ought to love their wives as their own bodies. He who loves his wife loves himself. 29After all, no one ever hated his own body, but he feeds and cares for it, just as Christ does the church— 30for we are members of his body. 31"For this reason a man will leave his father and mother and be united to his wife, and the two will become one flesh."[c] 32This is a profound mystery—but I am talking about Christ and the church. 33However, each one of you also must love his wife as he loves himself, and the wife must respect her husband.


3.  So, there again in Eph 5:32, Paul quotes Gen 2:20-23, and states that it is a profound mystery.  Indeed, headship and unity are two concepts that would seem hard to fit into the same relationship. But headship through Christ actually brings unity in Christ.  This is Christian marriage.  This statement is also true for his church as a whole.



Leadership and submission


I Peter

1Wives, in the same way be submissive to your husbands so that, if any of them do not believe the word, they may be won over without words by the behavior of their wives, 2when they see the purity and reverence of your lives. 3Your beauty should not come from outward adornment, such as braided hair and the wearing of gold jewelry and fine clothes. 4Instead, it should be that of your inner self, the unfading beauty of a gentle and quiet spirit, which is of great worth in God's sight. 5For this is the way the holy women of the past who put their hope in God used to make themselves beautiful. They were submissive to their own husbands, 6like Sarah, who obeyed Abraham and called him her master. You are her daughters if you do what is right and do not give way to fear.  7Husbands, in the same way be considerate as you live with your wives, and treat them with respect as the weaker partner and as heirs with you of the gracious gift of life, so that nothing will hinder your prayers.


Col 3

8Wives, submit to your husbands, as is fitting in the Lord.



Different gender roles; different commands:




Love (Colossians 3:19)

Submit (Col 3:8) to husband in everything (Eph 5:24)

Die/ give himself up for (Ephesians 5:25)

Obey husband (I Peter 5-6)

Make her holy. cleanse[b] her by the washing with water through the word (Ephesians 5:26)

do not give way to fear (I Peter 6)

Do not be harsh with them (Colossians 3:18-20)

Have gentle and quiet spirit (I Peter 4)

Provide (1 Tim 5:8, Ex 21:10-11)

be busy at home (Titus 2:3-5)

Protect (Ex 21:10-11)

Be subject to their husbands (Titus 2:3-5)

be considerate as you live with your wives (I Peter 7)

Respect husband (Eph 5:24)

treat them with respect as the weaker partner (I Peter 7)


Love wife as he loves himself (Eph 5:24)





This is how God defines marriage.  The mystery of headship is a beautiful picture of Christ and his bride. But God solves the mystery by giving us these clear commands regarding how to be a Christian spouse.  Choosing a Christian spouse is a different issue addressed here.





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