Marriage

Genesis 2:23-24; Matthew 19:5-6; Mark 10:7-9; Ephesians 5:30-32; Matthew 19:5-9; 1 Timothy 3:2,12; Titus 1:6; Ephesians 5:28-29; Matthew 1:18-19; Matthew 25; Matthew 22; John 2:1-11; 2 Corinthians 11:2; Revelation 19:7-9; Hosea 2:7
This is God’s institution: He said it was not good that man should be alone, and He provided a suitable help for Adam in the person of Eve. Adam said, “This is now bone of my bones, and flesh of my flesh: she shall be called Woman (isha), because she was taken out of Man (ish). Therefore shall a man leave his father and his mother, and shall cleave unto his wife: and they shall be one flesh” (Gen. 2:23-2423And 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. 24Therefore shall a man leave his father and his mother, and shall cleave unto his wife: and they shall be one flesh. (Genesis 2:23‑24)). This declaration of union was confirmed by the Lord, who, in quoting the above, added, “Wherefore they are no more twain, but one flesh. What therefore God hath joined together, let not man put asunder” (Matt. 19:5-65And said, For this cause shall a man leave father and mother, and shall cleave to his wife: and they twain shall be one flesh? 6Wherefore they are no more twain, but one flesh. What therefore God hath joined together, let not man put asunder. (Matthew 19:5‑6); Mark 10:7-97For this cause shall a man leave his father and mother, and cleave to his wife; 8And they twain shall be one flesh: so then they are no more twain, but one flesh. 9What therefore God hath joined together, let not man put asunder. (Mark 10:7‑9)). It is confirmed also by being taken as a type of the sacred union of the Lord with the church: “We are members of His body, of His flesh and of His bones. For this cause shall a man leave his father and mother, and shall be joined unto his wife, and they two shall be one flesh. This is a great mystery: but I speak concerning Christ and the church” (Eph. 5:30-3230For we are members of his body, of his flesh, and of his bones. 31For this cause shall a man leave his father and mother, and shall be joined unto his wife, and they two shall be one flesh. 32This is a great mystery: but I speak concerning Christ and the church. (Ephesians 5:30‑32)).
All this shows that God’s institution of marriage was the union of one man and one woman, the two, and only two, becoming one. What is more than this is not of God, but is of human lust. This order was first broken through by Lamech, the sixth from Adam, who had two wives. Long after this instances are recorded of wives, on account of their great desire for children, giving their maid servants to their husbands: an act that would now be judged as most unnatural in a wife. Sarai gave her Egyptian handmaid to Abram “to be his wife” (the same word for “wife” being used for both Sarai and Hagar), and God said He would make of Ishmael a great nation. Jacob’s two wives gave their handmaids to their husband, and thus he had four wives. God reckoned the twelve sons of these four women equally as sons of Jacob, and they became the heads of the twelve tribes. It might have been thought that God would not have blessed the issue of these unions, but He did: there is no record of any law having been given on this subject.
In early times marriages were also contracted between near relatives. This was altered by the law of Moses as well as restrictions introduced as to divorce, though even under the law, because of the hardness of their hearts, Moses allowed them to put away their wives for any cause, “but from the beginning it was not so,” and from the time the Lord was on earth it was not to be so any longer (Matt. 19:5-95And said, For this cause shall a man leave father and mother, and shall cleave to his wife: and they twain shall be one flesh? 6Wherefore they are no more twain, but one flesh. What therefore God hath joined together, let not man put asunder. 7They say unto him, Why did Moses then command to give a writing of divorcement, and to put her away? 8He saith unto them, Moses because of the hardness of your hearts suffered you to put away your wives: but from the beginning it was not so. 9And I say unto you, 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. (Matthew 19:5‑9)). The choice of persons to be appointed as bishops and deacons in the church, was restricted to those who were the husbands of “one wife” (1 Tim. 3:2,122A bishop then must be blameless, the husband of one wife, vigilant, sober, of good behavior, given to hospitality, apt to teach; (1 Timothy 3:2)
12Let the deacons be the husbands of one wife, ruling their children and their own houses well. (1 Timothy 3:12)
; Titus 1:66If any be blameless, the husband of one wife, having faithful children not accused of riot or unruly. (Titus 1:6)). God has providentially so ordered it in all countries called Christian that a man is allowed to have but one wife; and in the best of those countries a man cannot divorce his wife except when she herself has already broken the marriage bond. Instruction is given in the Epistles to both: the wives are to be in subjection to their husbands, and the husbands are to love and cherish their wives, even as Christ the church (Eph. 5:28-2928So ought men to love their wives as their own bodies. He that loveth his wife loveth himself. 29For no man ever yet hated his own flesh; but nourisheth and cherisheth it, even as the Lord the church: (Ephesians 5:28‑29)).
It is not now known how the negotiations were conducted that led to a man and woman being betrothed, or espoused, or what were the ceremonies usually attending it. The betrothed couple were at once looked upon as husband and wife, as seen in the case of Joseph, who thought of divorcing his espoused wife Mary (Matt. 1:18-1918Now the birth of Jesus Christ was on this wise: When as his mother Mary was espoused to Joseph, before they came together, she was found with child of the Holy Ghost. 19Then Joseph her husband, being a just man, and not willing to make her a publick example, was minded to put her away privily. (Matthew 1:18‑19)). In the East a man does not usually see his espoused wife until they are married (as Isaac did not see Rebecca and had no choice in the matter), the engagement, and the amount of dowry to be paid by the husband to the bride’s father, being arranged by the relatives.
Of the ancient marriage ceremonies very little is known. On the night of a marriage the young women went forth with lamps or torches to meet the bridegroom and to escort him to the house of the bride, as in Matthew 25. Such processions have been seen in modern times, and the same cry has been heard, “Behold the bridegroom.” They had marriage feasts, as in the parable of Matthew 22 (when a special garment was provided for each of the guests), and as the one to which the Lord, His mother, and His disciples were invited at Cana, where the Lord made the water into wine (John 2:1-111And the third day there was a marriage in Cana of Galilee; and the mother of Jesus was there: 2And both Jesus was called, and his disciples, to the marriage. 3And when they wanted wine, the mother of Jesus saith unto him, They have no wine. 4Jesus saith unto her, Woman, what have I to do with thee? mine hour is not yet come. 5His mother saith unto the servants, Whatsoever he saith unto you, do it. 6And there were set there six waterpots of stone, after the manner of the purifying of the Jews, containing two or three firkins apiece. 7Jesus saith unto them, Fill the waterpots with water. And they filled them up to the brim. 8And he saith unto them, Draw out now, and bear unto the governor of the feast. And they bare it. 9When the ruler of the feast had tasted the water that was made wine, and knew not whence it was: (but the servants which drew the water knew;) the governor of the feast called the bridegroom, 10And saith unto him, Every man at the beginning doth set forth good wine; and when men have well drunk, then that which is worse: but thou hast kept the good wine until now. 11This beginning of miracles did Jesus in Cana of Galilee, and manifested forth his glory; and his disciples believed on him. (John 2:1‑11)).