(Photo courtesy of Bella Martinez)
Consider the Alternative
A Conversation on the Subject of Biblical Marriage
By Sarah Komisky
Marriage. It’s a word that has been debated, attempted to be redefined and ultimately dismissed. When it comes to marriage, it seems we millennials have a fuzzy view of it. Maybe it’s because we don’t know what a good one looks like. Coming from broken homes and products of divorce, the idea of marriage has honestly repulsed us. Additionally, we deal with fears. Fear of being unestablished in the professional realm and the fear of not finding yourself before you settle down. But there is also the fear of commitment. Why get married when you can have casual relationships or go on dating apps? Why not try things out by living together first? Why not have a child and simply cohabitate? Why not test marriage and if it doesn’t work, call it quits? Why not just enjoy each other? Why not just go with what you feel? All these questions are the questions millennials are asking. And as a millennial, I want to ask you to consider the unpopular option: What about biblical marriage?
I know you may be thinking I’m completely old fashioned, but stay with me on this for a minute and perhaps be so brave as to engage with me in some healthy dialogue. Like you, I have seen some relationships go south. But I’ve also seen some relationships soar. Of course no marriage is perfect (especially when you have two sinners living under the same roof), but the marriages I’ve seen done a biblical way, God’s way, have not only lasted but have thrived with true romance and intimacy!
But let’s first talk about what a biblical marriage even means? Genesis chapter two talks about God gifting the first man named Adam with a wife named Eve. In chapter two, verse eight, God says, “It is not good for the man to be alone. I will make a helper suitable for him,” (NIV). How amazing to see God saw Adam’s desires for a mate and fulfilled that desire as He does with us! In Genesis 2:22-23, we get a picture of the first garden wedding in Eden officiated by God as he brings Eve to her husband-to-be. Adam exclaims, “This is now bone of my bones and flesh of my flesh.” Talk about romance! If we were to put this into modern vernacular, Adam would say, “This is the one who is apart of me!” The Bible shows the beautiful picture of two being united as one under God (Genesis 2:24).
Here in Genesis, God sets the standard. God blessed the union of one man and one woman who loved God and were united together in marriage. Genesis 2:25 then closes with the words, “Adam and his wife were both naked, and they felt no shame.” That statement is quite profound when we think of biblical marriage. When one man and one woman who love God unite in a marriage commitment, there is purity attached to that relationship that does not involve shame. That also means that not only was their marriage union blessed, but also their sex life.
Hebrews 13:4 in the Message translation says, “Honor marriage, and guard the sacredness of sexual intimacy between wife and husband. God draws a firm line against casual and illicit sex.” That means that under God, sex is good, blessed, pure, joining two people together to grow in intimacy in a healthy way. However, according to the Bible, sex outside of God’s design does the opposite. Since it is outside of God’s design it cannot be blessed and therefore, it causes all sorts of problems. Many of us are unfortunately familiar with these consequences that cause us harm like STD’s, pregnancies, the rise of single parents and abortion, broken hearts, and the breakdown of true intimacy in relationships. Since casual and illicit sexual relationships are often without a commitment, both parties are usually left hurt in some way.
Now, God is not a kill-joy as some might think who is out to ruin your “fun.” In fact, God desires that you hold out for honor guarding the sacredness of marriage and sexual intimacy so that you can postpone temporal pleasure for something even better, lifetime epic love and commitment.
While our culture is quickly looking for ways to avoid commitment either because commitment brings complication or drama or an end to what they call their freedom, I would say that commitment is the very thing that brings security. Have you ever met someone super insecure because the person they are having a “thing” with is always with someone else? Then there are relationships that go on for a long time without commitment in marriage and one of them starts worrying about when the other is going to pop the question. In casual relationships, both bond in a sexual way and then get hurt when the relationship dies. How many girls have you known that have shed tears when the guy leaves after sex and they feel betrayed or abandoned or rejected or simply emotionally scared. When sex is introduced, you can guarantee both parties will be hurt.
While all these consequences are painful the one that hurts us even more is our disconnect with God. In biblical times, the Corinthians said in 1 Corinthians 16, “Food for the stomach and the stomach for food…” Translation: Why not have sex? I am just fulfilling my natural sexual appetite like I do with food. Paul, who wrote 1 Corinthians to the Corinthians were struggling in this area further stated, “The body, however, is not meant for sexual immorality but for the Lord, and the Lord for the body.” That is key. God created our bodies not to just do whatever feels good, but to honor God that means our sex life. Inside us, we all have an alert system that notifies us when we are doing something that isn’t right. It’s just innate in us. When we violate that, we can either become callous to God’s voice or be filled with shame for something we know is wrong. Either way, we hurt God’s heart, ourselves and other people.
Rather than overcomplicate, we can actually make things pretty messy in these types of relationships. While you might be committed as boyfriend and girlfriend and even as fiancé and fiancée, choosing to have sex before marriage doesn’t guarentee that person is going to stay with you, which can be incredibly heartbreaking. So, you might still call me old fashioned, but I have come to believe that commitment is romantic. At the end of the day, you want someone to love you enough to commit to you and you alone. To get on one knee and ask a question that means you are worth something. To save sex for marriage in order to work on a lifetime of intimacy and bonding. All of this demonstrates their love and devotion. Making a vow to marry someone and to be committed to them and them alone along brings security and unites and flourishes a good marriage. Practicing fidelity will build trust in a marriage and cultivate longevity. Overall, it means your union can be blessed and knowing you are right with God can bring that Eden experience that will be pure and without shame.
While the world is eager to give you all sorts of reasons for calling marriage archaic and utterly ridiculous, consider another option. Yes, it’s unpopular. It is the subject of ridicule at times but it is an option that has amazing benefits in store. God loves you and has your best interest in mind. So why not consider the alternative?