What is a Christian marriage?
A Christian marriage is when a marriage union takes place between two Bible believing Christians who truly want to serve the Lord together. Many professing Christians are married but are they serving the Lord together? A Christian marriage is one that should be entered into for the glory of God. Marriage is a very sacred union that should never be entered into impulsively. A man and a woman should give careful consideration of being engaged for at least one year, the tradition of the ancient Hebrews, before vows are exchanged. Marriage is a sacred institution that no one should rush headlong into.
Once a man and a woman are united in marriage and make their vows before God they must remain married until death with only some exceptions. Jesus said that the only reason for divorce is adultery (Matthew 5.32). When He was asked about Moses giving permission for a man to divorce his wife, Jesus said He did that due to the "hardness of heart" of the men. He went on to explain that when a man and a woman are united in marriage they are to act as though they are one person. He concluded by saying, "Therefore what God has joined together, let not man separate"(Mark 10.9).
Most people, including Christians, get married for all of the wrong reasons. They marry for lust, security, wealth, fame, or to have children, to escape their parents or a boring life. Some mistakenly think they are getting married because they "love" the other person. The most important reason that a man and a woman are to marry is to bring glory to God (1 Corinthians 10.31).
Before marriage the couple is to consider whether or not they will be able to bring more glory to God as a couple rather than two single people. If they make that determination and the pastors and deacons of the church they are members of agree then they should marry, but only after they understand that they cannot divorce when things go bad or when they see someone they lust after. A bad marriage can be intolerable as the Bible declares (Proverbs 21.9, 19).
The woman must understand and agree with the biblical teaching that the man she is to marry will the head of the household (Genesis 3.16; 1 Corinthians 11.3; 1 Peter 3.6), and that marriage is not a 50-50 proposition. She must be willing to submit to him in all things (Ephesians 5.22-24) gladly, joyfully and respectfully. She must be willing to behave in a chaste and respectful manner, She must be willing to express in her behavior a gentle and quiet spirit (1 Peter 3.1-6).
She needs to fulfill her duty to her husband (1 Corinthians 7.3). She must also be willing to call her husband "lord" and "master" just as Sarah did with her husband, Abraham (1 Peter 3.6; Genesis 18.12). Virtually all wives throughout the world called their husbands "lord" and "master" until the feminist movement began toward the end of the 19th century. This is easy to do for a wife who is being treated lovingly and respectfully by an adoring husband. It is impossible if she is treated disrespectfully and rudely.
But a man must understand and agree with the biblical teaching that he is to love and care for his wife as Jesus loves and cares for His wife, the church (Ephesians 5.25). He is to die to himself daily to care for his wife. He must put her needs before his needs. Love and caring for a wife means to meet all of her needs─physical needs (housing, healthy food, clothing, medical care (Exodus 21.10), mental needs (conversation), emotional needs (expressing his love for her verbally and in deeds) and spiritual needs (prayer, teaching her the Bible and fellowship in the Word).
A very important thing a husband must do is to give honor his wife (1 Peter 3.7). Honoring one's wife means a husband is to never criticize, mock, make fun of, ridicule, belittle, scream, demean, or humiliate her in public or private. A husband must treat his wife as if she were more important then himself:
"Do nothing according to contention or vain glory, but in humility esteem one another above yourselves. Consider not the things of yourselves, but also the things of each other" (Philippians 2.3-4).
Most couples that desire to marry "feel" they are in love with each other. The very last thing any man or woman should ever consider first when planning to marry is only their "feelings" of love. Our feelings are almost always wrong. Why? Our hearts (inner man) are deceitful above all things and incurable (Jeremiah 17.9). That is why we can never trust only our feelings. If we could, there would not be so many divorces once all those euphoric feelings fade away and only the true personality and the marriage partner emerges.
Two people must be equally yoked so they can do the work of the Lord together. If they are not, all biblical principals of marriage fall into chaos. An unbelieving husband cannot ask his wife to do as he asks when he is not led by the Lord and has no spiritual discernment. It is important to understand God's teachings in the Bible so we do not fall into godless marriages─which only lead in suffering.
"Do not be unequally yoked together with unbelievers. For what fellowship has righteousness with lawlessness? And what communion has light with darkness? And what accord has Christ with Belial? Or what part has a believer with an unbeliever?" (2 Corinthians 6:14-15)