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A Biblical Catechism on Sex and Marriage: Marital Relationship

[This post continues a series of posts entitled 'A Biblical Catechism on Sex and Marriage'.  The intention is to provide basic material for further instruction by a trusted teacher of God's Word in a church that is committed to Biblical authority.  The Church’s mission is to invite all people to live under God’s righteous rule.]

Question 6. What are the purposes of marriage?

Answer: The purposes of marriage are procreational, familial, relational, and to satisfy sexual appetite.

[Previous comments: Marriage and Procreation; Marriage and Family]

Comment 4: Marriage is thirdly intended to be the perfect human relationship in which to experience love and unity.

Genesis 2:22-25 And the rib that the LORD God had taken from the man he made into a woman and brought her to the man.  23 Then the man said, "This at last is bone of my bones and flesh of my flesh; she shall be called Woman, because she was taken out of Man."  24 Therefore a man shall leave his father and his mother and hold fast to his wife, and they shall become one flesh.  25 And the man and his wife were both naked and were not ashamed.

Proverbs 12:4 An excellent wife is the crown of her husband, but she who brings shame is like rottenness in his bones.

Proverbs 18:22 He who finds a wife finds a good thing and obtains favor from the LORD.

Proverbs 19:14 House and wealth are inherited from fathers, but a prudent wife is from the LORD.

Proverbs 21:9 It is better to live in a corner of the housetop than in a house shared with a quarrelsome wife.  [Cf. Proverbs 25:4.]

Proverbs 27:15-16 A continual dripping on a rainy day and a quarrelsome wife are alike;  16 to restrain her is to restrain the wind or to grasp oil in one's right hand.

Proverbs 31:10-12 An excellent wife who can find? She is far more precious than jewels.  11 The heart of her husband trusts in her, and he will have no lack of gain.  12 She does him good, and not harm, all the days of her life.

Ecclesiastes 9:9 Enjoy life with the wife whom you love, all the days of your vain life that he has given you under the sun, because that is your portion in life and in your toil at which you toil under the sun.

Ephesians 5:25 Husbands, love your wives, as Christ loved the church and gave himself up for her….

Comment 4a: Marriage mirrors sacrificial love in the relation of a husband and wife the relationship between Christ and the Church.

Colossians 3:18-19 Wives, submit to your husbands, as is fitting in the Lord.  19 Husbands, love your wives, and do not be harsh with them.

Ephesians 5:22-33 Wives, submit to your own husbands, as to the Lord.  23 For the husband is the head of the wife even as Christ is the head of the church, his body, and is himself its Savior.  24 Now as the church submits to Christ, so also wives should submit in everything to their husbands.  25 Husbands, love your wives, as Christ loved the church and gave himself up for her,  26 that he might sanctify her, having cleansed her by the washing of water with the word,  27 so that he might present the church to himself in splendor, without spot or wrinkle or any such thing, that she might be holy and without blemish.  28 In the same way husbands should love their wives as their own bodies. He who loves his wife loves himself.  29 For no one ever hated his own flesh, but nourishes and cherishes it, just as Christ does the church,  30 because we are members of his body.  31 "Therefore a man shall leave his father and mother and hold fast to his wife, and the two shall become one flesh."  32 This mystery is profound, and I am saying that it refers to Christ and the church.  33 However, let each one of you love his wife as himself, and let the wife see that she respects her husband.

Comment 4b: Marriage is a permanent union. 

Matthew 19:6 So they are no longer two but one flesh. What therefore God has joined together, let not man separate."

Comment 4c: Marriage may not be abandoned if it does not produce children.  This is considered a situation that God may fix miraculously (as a person is intended to walk but may not with a crippled leg, so a married couple intends to bear children but may not due to barrenness: the person is still a person, and the marriage is still a marriage, despite the inability to fulfill the intention).  Evidence for this is in several Biblical narratives where barren women were not abandoned (Sarah, Rebekah, Samson’s mother, Hannah, Elizabeth).

Comment 4d: Sex outside the permanent commitment of marriage and family is open to many human wrongs and suffering: selfish use of another person for one’s own pleasure (whether by mutual consent or rape), abandonment of companionship when the relationship ends, poverty for the abandoned woman and her child, abortion or infanticide (if the woman copes with her situation by aborting or killing the child), abandoned children, prostitution, sex-trafficking, slavery, as well as struggles in single-parent or parentless families.

Comment 4e: Extra-marital relationships are associated with various genital diseases, such as venereal disease and HIV/AIDS.  Same-sex relationships are associated with a high number of such diseases as well as other physical ailments.  Sexual sin involves a sin against one’s own body, which belongs to Christ and in which the Spirit dwells.  Homosexual sin involves self-inflicted penalty (perhaps the loss of manhood).

1 Corinthians 6:18-20 Flee from sexual immorality. Every other sin a person commits is outside the body, but the sexually immoral person sins against his own body.  19 Or do you not know that your body is a temple of the Holy Spirit within you, whom you have from God? You are not your own,  20 for you were bought with a price. So glorify God in your body.

Romans 1:27 and the men likewise gave up natural relations with women and were consumed with passion for one another, men committing shameless acts with men and receiving in themselves the due penalty for their error.

Comment 4f: Divorce contradicts the intention of permanent commitment and unity in marriage.

Matthew 19:4-6  He answered, "Have you not read that he who created them from the beginning made them male and female,  5 and said, 'Therefore a man shall leave his father and his mother and hold fast to his wife, and they shall become one flesh'?  6 So they are no longer two but one flesh. What therefore God has joined together, let not man separate."

Comment 4g: Marriage is a place where love flourishes, where a couple seeks intimacy with each other, and where children are produced as a result.  There is no place for physical or emotional abuse in marriage.