God saw that is was not good for man to be alone. Genesis 2:18. Therefore, He established the marriage institution and enunciated the law of marriage for all the children of Adam to the close of time. God Himself gave Adam one wife as a companion. “He ordained that men and women should be united in holy wedlock, to rear families whose members, crowned with honor, should be recognized as members of the family above.” Ministry of Healing, p. 356. According to the plan of God, in the marriage relationship, every man should consider his wife as his second self, “bone of his bones and flesh of his flesh.” Genesis 2:18, 23, 24; Mark 10:6-8; Ephesians 5:28, 29; Colossians 3:19.
Although it was degraded by sin, this divine institution must be restored to its original condition among God’s people before the second coming of Jesus. Acts 3:20, 21; Mark 10:5-9.
When marriage is conducted according to the will of God:
a. It guards the moral purity of men and women and ensures the happiness of mankind. Hebrews 13:4; 1 Corinthians 7:2-9; Psalm 128:1-6; Proverbs 5:18; 31:10-31.
b. It provides for man’s social needs. Genesis 2:18.
c. It elevates the physical, the intellectual, and the moral nature of the human beings. Proverbs 18:22 19:14; 1 Peter 3:1,7.
d. It ensures the survival and multiplication of the human race in a moral and healthy manner. Genesis 1:27, 28.
It has been God’s purpose from the very beginning that the marriage vow should bind both parties to each other by indissoluble ties “for life.” Matthew 19:6; Mark 10:11, 12; Luke 16:18. Therefore, divorce is not in harmony with the will of God. Malachi 2:14-16. In case of separation, both are to remain single until the death of the other partner or until they are reconciled to each other. Romans 7:1-3; 1 Corinthians 7:10-15, 39. (Matthew 5:32 and 19:9 are explained in separate publications.
Christians should be united in marriage only with those of like faith. Marriage with an unbeliever (non-member) is a serious sin and a separation from Christ. Exodus 34:12, 16; Deuteronomy 7:3, 4; Nehemiah 13:23-27; 2 Corinthians 6:14.
As a child of God, a subject of Christ’s kingdom, the purchase of His blood, how can you connect yourself with one who does not acknowledge His claims, who is not controlled by His Spirit? The commands I have quoted are not the word of man, but of God. Though the companion of your choice were in all other respects worthy (which he is not), yet he has not accepted the truth for this time; he is an unbeliever, and you are forbidden of heaven to unite yourself with him. You cannot, without peril to your soul, disregard this divine injunction.” —Testimonies for the Church, vol. 5, pp. 364-365.
“In the youthful mind, marriage is clothed with romance, and it is difficult to divest it of this feature, with which imagination covers it, and to impress the mind with a sense of the weighty responsibilities involved in the marriage vow. This vow links the destinies of the two individuals with bonds which nought but the hand of death should sever.”—Testimonies for the Church, vol. 4, pp. 506-507.
Although polygamy was tolerated in the Old Testament times contrary to God’s original purpose, only monogamous marriages are accepted under the Christian Dispensation. 1 Corinthians 7:2; Ephesians 5:23, 33; Matthew 19:4-6; Malachi 2:15.
“Polygamy was practiced at an early date. It was one of the sins that brought the wrath of God upon the antediluvian world.”—Patriarchs and Prophets, p. 338.
The marriage relationship represents the union that exists between Christ and His church. Isaiah 54:4, 5; Jeremiah 3:14; Ephesians 5:24-28; Hosea 2:19, 20.
“God celebrated the first marriage. Thus the institution has for its originator the Creator of the universe. ‘Marriage is honorable’ (Hebrews 13:4); it was one of the first gifts of God to man, and it is one of the two institutions that, after the Fall, Adam brought with him beyond the gates of Paradise. When the divine principles are recognized and obeyed in this relation, marriage is a blessing; it guards the purity and happiness of the race, it provides for man’s social needs, it elevates the physical, the intellectual, and the moral nature.” —Patriarchs and Prophets, p. 46.
“The family tie is the closest, the most tender and sacred, of any on earth. It was designed to be a blessing to mankind. And it is a blessing wherever the marriage covenant is entered into intelligently, in the fear of God, and with due consideration for its responsibilities.”—The Ministry of Healing, p. 356-357.
“Before assuming the responsibilities involved in marriage, young men and young women should have such an experience in practical life as will prepare them for its duties and its burdens. Early marriages are not to be encouraged. A relation so important as marriage and so far‑reaching in its results should not be entered upon hastily, without sufficient preparation, and before the mental and physical powers are well developed.
“The parties may not have worldly wealth, but they should have the far greater blessing of health. And in most cases there should not be a great disparity in age. A neglect of this rule may result in seriously impairing the health of the younger. And often the children are robbed of physical and mental strength. They cannot receive from an aged parent the care and companionship which their young lives demand, and they may be deprived by death of the father or the mother at the very time when love and guidance are most needed.
“It is only in Christ that a marriage alliance can be safely formed. Human love should draw its closest bonds from divine love. Only where Christ reigns can there be deep, true, unselfish affection.”—The Ministry of Healing, p. 358.
“Though difficulties, perplexities, and discouragements may arise, let neither husband nor wife harbor the thought that their union is a mistake or a disappointment. Determine to be all that it is possible to be to each other. Continue the early attentions. In every way encourage each other in fighting the battles of life. Study to advance the happiness of each other. Let there be mutual love, mutual forbearance. Then marriage, instead of being the end of love, will be as it were the very beginning of love. The warmth of true friendship, the love that binds heart to heart, is a foretaste of the joys of heaven.
Purity and Happiness
“To avoid fornication, let every man have his own wife, and let every woman have her own husband.” 1 Corinthians 7:1.
“Marriage is a blessing; it guards the purity and happiness of the [human] race.” PP 46.
“Marriage is honourable in all, and the bed undefiled: but whoremongers and adulterers God will judge.” Hebrews 13:4.
Every Christian should carefully consider the guidelines contained in the Bible and in the Testimonies. 1 Corinthians 6:18; 7:1-13, 27, 28, 39; Colossians 3;18, 19.
“Around every family there is a sacred circle that should be kept unbroken. Within this circle no other person has a right to come. Let not the husband or the wife permit another to share the confidences that belong solely to themselves.”—The Ministry of Healing, pp. 360-361.
“Avoid the first approach to danger. The soul’s interests cannot be trifled with. Your capital is your character. Cherish it as you would a golden treasure. Moral purity, self-respect, a strong power of resistance, must be firmly and constantly cherished. There should not be one departure from reserve; one act of familiarity, one indiscretion, may jeopardize the soul in opening the door to temptation, and the power of resistance becomes weakened.”—Adventist Home, p. 404.
“How careful should the husband and father be to maintain his loyalty to his marriage vows! ò Here is where many are delinquent. Their heart imaginings are not of the pure, holy character which God requiresò. To married men I am instructed to say, It is to your wives, the mothers of your children, that your respect and affection are due.”—Adventist Home, pp. 336-337.
“If [our sisters] occupy this position [of humbleness, modesty, reserve], they will not be burdened with undue attention from gentlemen in the church and out. All will feel that there is a sacred circle of purity around around these God-fearing womenò”—Adventist Home, p. 334.
“Many parents do not obtain the knowledge that they should in the married life. They are not guarded lest Satan take advantage of them and control their minds and their lives. They do not see that God requires them to control their married lives from any excesses. But very few feel it to be a religious duty to govern their passions. They have united themselves in marriage to the object of their choice, and therefore reason that marriage sanctifies the indulgence of the baser passions. Even men and women professing godliness give loose rein to their lustful passions, and have no thought that God holds them accountable for the expenditure of vital energy, which weakens their hold on life and enervates the entire system.”—Testimonies for the Church, vol. 2, p. 472.
“Those professing to be Christians . . . should duly consider the result of every privilege of the marriage relation, and sanctified principle should be the basis of every action. In very many cases the parents . . . have abused their marriage privileges, and by indulgence have strengthened their animal passions. It is carrying that which is lawful to excess that makes it a grievous sin.” —The Adventist Home, p. 122.
“By accepting Christ as His personal Saviour, man is brought into the same close relation to God, and enjoys His special favor as does His own beloved Son. He is honored and glorified and intimately associated with God, his life being hid with Christ in God. O what love, what wondrous love! This is my teaching of moral purity.”—Education, p. 255.
“The grace of Christ, and this alone, can make [the marriage] institution what God designed it should be—an agent for the blessing and uplifting of humanity. And thus the families of earth, in their unity and peace and love, may represent the family of heaven.”—Thoughts from the Mount of Blessings, p. 65.
The Christian Family
After creating Adam and Eve, God joined them together as husband and wife, blessed them, and then told them: “Be fruitful and multiply, and replenish the earth, and subdue it.” Genesis 1:28. It was God’s purpose that the earth should be populated with beings created in His own image, composed of families that would bring glory to Him and become members of the larger family in heaven. Isaiah 45:18; Ephesians 3:14, 15. Although God’s original purpose was sidetracked as a result of man’s sin, its ultimate fulfillment is certain. Romans 8:28; Revelation 21:3, 5.
The family is the beginning of society. The Christian family is one in which God is recognized as the supreme object of worship. He is the head, protector, guide, and instructor of such families. The Christian family is the smallest organic unit of God’s church on earth. Matthew 18:20. The Christian family is also a school where its members are both teachers and students who share their knowledge and learn from each other. The Word of God, together with the book of nature, should be the main source of instruction in the family school. The object of the family firm should be to prepare its students for usefulness in this life and for graduation to the school above. Deuteronomy 6:4-9; Psalm 128:1-6.
A special work of restoration in the family has been prophesied to take place before the second coming of Christ. Malachi 4:5, 6.
The Husband and Father
The Christian husband, as the father and priest of the family, is its protector, instructor, guide, and provider. Genesis 3:19; 1 Corinthians 11:3. This is the role assigned to him by God. He is responsible for the spiritual, mental, and physical welfare of his family. Ephesians 6:4; 5:28-31, 33; 1 Timothy 5:8; 1 Peter 3:7.
In conjunction with his wife, he is to teach his children to love and obey God, and train them for usefulness in this life and the life to come, according to instructions given in the Bible. As the priest in the family, the father is the chief one responsible for the religious instruction and training of his children. He is also the one to lead out in the family morning and evening worship services. Genesis 18:19; 35:2-4; Joshua 24:15; Colossians 3:21.
The Wife and Mother
The Christian wife, as mother, is the main teacher of the children in the family, especially in their early years. She has a great and important responsibility in training and educating them in accordance with the instructions given her in the Word of God. Together with her husband, she is responsible for their spiritual, mental, and physical wellbeing, and to develop a character in her children after the divine similitude for time and eternity. While the father is the houseband of the family, the mother is the homemaker. Proverbs 31:10-31; Ephesians 5:22-24, 33; 1 Thessalonians 5:23; 1 Timothy 5:4; Titus 2:4, 5.
The Children in the Family
Children are the heritage of the Lord. Psalm 127:3-5; Proverbs 17:6. They are the future of society and of the church of God on earth. They have been entrusted to fathers and mothers with the object of being trained, and educated by them to become members of the Lord’s family above, and useful members of society while here on earth. Psalm 144:12; Isaiah 8:18. Children are to learn to love, honor and respect their parents and obey them as it is fit in the Lord. Exodus 20:12. They should also learn to love and obey God, and to respect ministers, teachers, rulers and all others to whom God has delegated authority. Children should be educated and encouraged to prepare themselves to become co-workers with God on earth by learning trades and/or professions which could help to advance His kingdom and hasten the coming of Christ. Leviticus 19:32; 2 Kings 2:23, 24; Psalm 78:2-7; Proverbs 22:6; Ephesians 6:1-3; Colossians 3:20.
“God created man for His own glory, that after test and trial the human family might become one with the heavenly family. It was God’s purpose to re-populate heaven with the human family, if they would show themselves obedient to His every word. Adam was to be tested, to see whether he would be obedient, as the loyal angels, or disobedient.”—SDA Bible Commentary, vol. 1, p. 1082.
“In early times the father was the ruler and priest of his own family, and he exercised authority over his children, even after they had families of their own. His descendants were taught to look up to him as their head, in both religious and secular matters. This patriarchal system of government Abraham endeavored to perpetuate, as it tended to preserve the knowledge of God. It was necessary to bind the members of the household together, in order to build up a barrier against the idolatry that had become so widespread and so deep-seated. Abraham sought by every means in his power to guard the inmates of his encampment against mingling with the heathen and witnessing their idolatrous practices, for he knew that familiarity with evil would insensibly corrupt the principles. The greatest care was exercised to shut out every form of false religion and to impress the mind with the majesty and glory of the living God as the true object of worship.”—Patriarchs and Prophets, p. 141.
“In order for parents and teachers to do this work [educating their children], they must themselves understand ‘the way’ the child should go. This embraces more than merely having a knowledge of books. It takes in everything that is good, virtuous, righteous, and holy. It comprehends the practice of temperance, godliness, brotherly kindness, and love to God and to one another. In order to attain this object, the physical, mental, moral, and religious education of children must have attention.”—Testimonies for the Church, vol. 3, pp. 131-132.
“Too much importance cannot be placed upon the early training of children. The lessons learned, the habits formed, during the years of infancy and childhood, have more to do with the formation of the character and the direction of the life than have all the instruction and training of after years.”—Ministry of Healing, p. 380.
Mothers may have acquired knowledge of many things, but they have not acquired the essential knowledge unless they have a knowledge of Christ as a personal Saviour. If Christ is in the home, if mothers have made Him their counselor, they will educate their children from their very babyhood in the principles of true religion.”—Child Guidance, p. 472.
“The greatest evidence of the power of Christianity that can be presented to the world is a well-ordered, well-disciplined family.”—Testimonies for the Church, vol. 4, p. 304.