Marriage when viewed within the entire range of past and present human Societies, can be described as a more or less durable union sanctioned by society between One man and one Woman. Simply put, it is an instance of a legal Union between a man and a woman which enable them to become husband and wife or state of being married. To obtain the sanction of the Society, it is necessary that the relationship be formed arid conducted in accordance with unwritten customs and rites, as in primitive societies, or in accordance with established laws, as in more sophisticated societies. The sanction of society distinguishes marriage from other relationships between men and Women.
Obviously, marriage is a part of normal life. In dealing with marriage we are dealing with life, for marriage Consists of the blending of the lives of two individuals. Marriage is the most intimate of all human relationships. It even takes precedence over the relationship between parent and child. This precedence was recognized at the time the institution of marriage was divinely ordained. It was on this premise that the Bible says, “therefore shall a man leave his father and his mother, and shall cleave unto his wife; and they shall be one flesh”. Genesis 2:24. Marriage is so important to life that , it is the most significant of all human relationships that IS Second to that between the human being and God. It should be noted that the success of this relationship determines one’s success in life. When marriage is successful, life is full and complete, but if otherwise, failure is eminent, which can affect several generations yet unborn.
Marriage -The Oldest Institution
Of all other institutions in the world, marriage is the oldest ever established. The marriage concept started as far back as the Edenic age when God said “It is not good for a man to be alone. I will make an helper suitable for him”. (N1V Genesis 2:18). From that eternity past till this present age and time, it has been discovered that there is a burning desire in man not to be alone. That is the reason why a man at maturity goes out in search of help meet This goes to show that the word of God is true that says “for this cause” (which cause ‘loneliness?’) a man will leave his father and his mother and cleave unto his wife and they shall be one flesh. The Bible also says, “Two are better than one; because they have a good reward for their labour, “ It is from this divine approval that a family is born; therefore a unit of social interaction among members is formed. This unit of legal procreation and socialization should be a u.nit where love is fully expressed.
Among the four types and three kind of marriages, our focus will be on one from each group; that is the Christian type of marriage and monogamy kind of marriage. The reason is obvious, it is the Christian marriage of one man, one wife that God had sanctioned and ordained from the garden of Eden. Therefore, if your marriage is outside what is ordained by God, and you are a Christian or you want to please God, then, you need to think twice. However, I do not intend to judge and condemn you, because your marriage is outside this category, rather I want to bring to your notice what is right and good, and of course, which is the “will” of God; so that you can make amendments, since, there is always room to reconcile with God. And for the single, you need to be careful to marry according to the detects of God.
Types of Marriage Recognized By Law and Their Characteristics.
Customary Marriage: A marriage according to the native law or custom. This involves a union between one man and one or more women. The woman or women are bound to the man. She or they are restricted to the man, but there is room for divorce. The custom of the place one marries affects ones marriage. There are some places where children do not inherit from their father at death, but they would have their inheritance from their mother’s relations. Native laws and custom varies from place to place. This type of marriage allows divorce.
Court Marriage:- This is a union between the consenting man and woman to the exclusive of all other persons until death. But if marriage is broken down that is, irretrievable, then, it can be dissolved. It also permits divorce. This marriage is conducted under the statutory law or marriage by ordinance. This involves one man and one woman at a time. it is not celebrated in the court, but in the Local Government, especially, at the Marriage Registry Unit.
Islamic Marriage:- This is the marriage under the Muslim law. One Muslim man is free by their religion and custom to marry five women, Marriage under Islamic injunction is reparable, divorce is simple. If a married man says to his wife she is divorced five times, the marriage stands broken, i.e. after the fifth divorce, the marriage is no longer reparable.
Christian Marriage:- Christian marriage is instituted by God in the garden of Eden. God’s intension is that the man and woman can come together legally as husband and wife and nothing whatsoever shall separate them except death. (Genesis 2:18-24).
Divorce is not tolerated or allowed. The Bible says in Genesis 2:24, “Therefore shall a man leave his father and his mother, and shall cleave unto his wife and they shall be one flesh”. Again Matt. 5:32 says “But I say unto you, that whosoever shall put away his wife, saving for the cause of fornication, cause her to commit adultery: arid whosoever shall marry her that is divorced commits adultery”. See also Malachi 2:13-16 “Another thing you do; you flood the Lord’s altar with tears, You weep and wail because He no longer pays attention to your offerings or accepts them with pleasure from your hands. You ask ‘why? It is because the Lord is acting as witness between you and the wife of your youth.
“I hate divorce, says the Lord God of Israel, and I hate a man covering himself with violence as well as with his garment; says the Lord Almighty. However, at the death of one’s spouse, he or she is free to remarry” (1 Timothy 5:14).
Kinds of Marriage
There are three kinds of marriage in our society today and they are Polygamy, Gyanogamy, Polyandry and Monogamy.
POLYGAMY: This is a kind of plural or multiple marriages, where one man marries more than one woman. This kind is common but not popular.
GYANOGAMY: This involves a situation where a woman carries out all the traditional requirements of marriage on another woman. This kind of marriage can be seen in some of our villages. It is uncommon and very unpopular.
POLYANDRY: A woman married to many husbands. However, this type is uncommon and unpopular.
MONOGAMY: This means marriage between one man and one woman. This is the kind of marriage that Christianity sanctions and upholds. Note the Bible’s position concerning this kind of marriage. Genesis 2:24 says, “Therefore shall “a man” leave his father and his mother, and shall cleave unto his wife and they shall be one flesh. “And the Lord God said; it is not good that the man should be alone; I will make him “a help meet for him” Genesis2:18.
One can see from the above quotations that God originally intended that a man and a woman should marry, rather than a man and many women or a woman and a woman to marry. Indeed, all other marriages are outside the “will” of God. Obviously, one need to be careful to walk according to the express “will” of God.
The Purposes Of Marriage
FOR COMPANIONSHIP: The Bible has these to say concerning why on& should marry. “God said it is not good for a man to be alone; I will make him an help meet for him. “Therefore, shall a man leave his father and his mother, and shall cleave unto his wife and shall be one flesh”.
You will agree with me as a man (if you are up to 30 years) and have not married, you will feel a serious and genuine need to have a wife. This confirms the word of God in Bed. 4:11 which says, “Again, if two lie together, then they have heat, but how can one be warm alone.” Gbile, had this to say about this companionship “A divine blanket against cold”. God knows that weather changes so frequently and that every summer is preceded by a hash freezing winter; and even summer is never all warm. There are chilly days when the limbs and the lips vibrate with cold, God provided a blanket for a shivering heart. This is what He has provided in marriage for every man, who will allow Him “make a help meet for him.” Little wonder a fair damsel Abishag a Shunammite was brought to David to warm him up.
For Security Purpose: Marriage is intended to provide security, financially, socially and emotionally. Of course, emotional security is of great importance to the integrity of the home.
Emotional Security: The Bible says in Ecc. 4:9,10 that “Two are better than one; because they have a good reward for their labour. For if they fall, one will lift up his fellow, but woe to him that is alone when he falls, for he hath not another to help him up. Look at God’s loving care and provision. He sees not as man sees. He does not only consider the immediate and the present situation. He looks ahead over our heads into the invisible, and places a shock absorber on our path in case we fall. Falls, pit falls that overwhelm men with all their expertise are lined up by Satan. His plan is to devour, once you slip into any of his snares; and if there is none to help you up at the time of fall, woe betides you. This is God’s fore-sight and wisdom in bringing the woman into the life of man. It is this natural craving for emotional security that compels young men and women towards marriage.
Social Security: The same EccI. 4:12 talks about social security. It says “And if one prevail against him, two shall withstand him; and a threefold cord is not quickly broken;’ Obviously’ an added advantage of marriage is children, therefore, any family where the mother, the father and children are, people will be afraid to insult or attack them knowing that a bunch of broom is not easily broken.
Financial Security: Ecclesiastes continues to tell us that “Two are better than one; because they have a good reward of their labour “Eccl.4:9. In case of financial matters in the family, the woman who is the help meet for man, is always prudent in spending. However, there are women who are more extravagant than men. The women I am discussing here are the virtuous women. You need to note that Bible answers everything. Consider what the Bible said about virtuous woman in Proverbs 31:10-31.
A careful study of Proverbs 31:10-31 goes to confirm that two are better than one financially.
For the perpetuation of human race:
After creation, God blessed man and his wife. He encouraged them to be fruitful, and multiply, and replenish the earth, Genesis 1:28, Malachi 2:15 amplified this truth. it says “You were united to your wife by the LORD. In God’s wise plan, when you many, the two became one person in His sight. And what does He want? Godly children, (Godly offspring) from your union. Therefore guard your passions! Keep faith with the wife of your youth” (Living Bible).
We have now come to an important purpose of God for establishing the home. Apart from all the several provisions God made in bringing in the woman into man’s life, which have been discussed, the issue of raising Godly children is very crucial to God. At the beginning, He created them male and female, blessed them and charged them to be fruitful and multiply. Everyone is to produce after his own kind. Replenishing the earth and subduing it, required that man raise offspring like himself who will extend God’s authority in every part of the earth.
For Sexual Satisfaction:
Sex is one of the strongest desires and drives in human being. It has to be satisfied according to God’s command.. God knows that it is not good for the man to be alone; that is why he has brought man and woman together to satisfy this urge.
Again, marriage serves to prevent sexual sin or adultery and fornication. So to marry is to run away from sexual sin of fornication and adultery. (1 Cor. 7:2).
To be continued……
Culled from the book – Making Your Marriage Better – By Pastor Nkem E. Uche – Call 08059479924, 08022879060, 08069039255 to order for your copy.