Day 9

Principles of Marriage

from the 1 & 2 Corinthians reading plan


1 Corinthians 7:1-40, Genesis 2:24

BY Rebecca Faires

Scripture Reading: 1 Corinthians 7:1-40, Genesis 2:24

Almost half of marriages end in divorce, and the average length of a marriage that ends in divorce is only eight years (according to 2014 US census data). Eight years! It’s shocking that we stand up and promise “‘til death do us part,” yet only half of us make it past eight years. Marriage is hard. And indeed, the skills necessary to simply get along long-term with other people, not just spouses, are really difficult to come by. When we concede that marriage doesn’t have to last, we also allow that friendships don’t need to last. When the going gets tough, it’s just so much easier to find new friends and start over. Except it’s not.

On paper, marriage is an unachievable task. Paul commands wives to submit to their husbands, and then he turns to the husbands and piles onto the first unbelievable task this astonishing humdinger: “Husbands, love your wives as Christ loved the church” (Ephesians 5:22-25). In one fell swoop, it seems Paul is making an open-and-shut case that marriage is just never going to work. He even follows this up by saying, essentially, marriage is too much for him, and he’s chosen to keep out of the fray; and if anyone else has the constitution for it, they should stay unmarried also (1 Corinthians 7:8).

But here’s the problem: not everyone has Paul’s self-control, and instead we, ahem, “burn with desire” (v. 9).  We fall in love, and that love leads us to make wildly extravagant promises to each other. We promise, in our best clothes, in front of all our aunts and uncles, to love and honor one another for the rest of our lives. These are the bravest, most ridiculous promises I’ve ever made.

I want to write a book titled, ’Til Death Do Us Part, and Other Lies I Told While Wearing a White Ball Gown. Because even though I’ve been married for thirteen years, have I truly kept my wedding vows? Have you? Even before we’d driven off into the sunset, I had already broken my vows. My heart was full of love, but my soul was still inclined to offer my new husband far less than the love I’m called to give. But that’s really the whole point. And that is why marriage is a covenant. We make extravagant promises that we cannot keep, but God keeps His promises. He created marriage and designed it to last.

God has called us to live in peace (v. 15), and it’s His peace that makes it possible for us to do so. I can rely on Him. He keeps His promises. He is there in the ceremony, walking through the covenant just like He did in the Old Testament. He makes our covenants, and He keeps up both ends of the deal. May we look to Him to preserve our marriages, our friendships, and our families. He is the One who takes our brave words made on brave days and makes them come true.

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Post Comments (118)

118 thoughts on "Principles of Marriage"

  1. Marian says:

    Hi, I’ve been married for over 20 years. My husband is atheist and (now we know) autistic. It has been a very lonely life for me, compounded by a harsh religious understanding of some of these verses. I have known all these bible verses all along, but I never practiced believing “He and I are one flesh”. Because in my experience, we so clearly weren’t. But recently the Lord challenged me to believe that verse just as determinedly as I believe my “favourite” verses. And this is a timely reminder. “Behold, I am making all things new”. Says the Lord. There is always hope. Tired as I am, I know the Lord is working things out for good. ❤

    1. Emily says:

      Lifting you and your husband up in prayer!

      1. Marian says:

        Thank you!

  2. Katherine Upchurch says:

    My husband is atheist. You would be surprised at how much that is not our problem. The problem is loving each other in our individual ways. It is so hard for him to open up and move past his hurtful childhood. It has been 4 years of being married and 9 years of amazing friendship
    He truly is my best friend, but after 4 years my heart is tired of trying to understand and be patient with him Why?

    1. Amy Rinta says:

      Kathrine, to make you feel better that’s so normal. We get used to each other & we get annoyed with each other. This happens Even in marriages when both spouses are Christians. But love is brightest when we choose love anyways. Those sweet moments of romantic/passionate love become all the more enjoyable when we choose to love even when we don’t feel it. And in your case shines out the true unconditional love Christ has for your husband. That for sure isn’t easy.

      1. Amy Rinta says:

        But you got this! Praying for you.

      2. Katherine Upchurch says:

        Thank you for your words of encouragement Amy. It’s been a rough few weeks but I have faith it will all work out. I love having you ladies as a support system.

  3. Kathleen Ansley says:

    Laura, Praise the Lord for the strength He clearly gives you everyday to walk this path. People are watching, and may God get the Glory for you living out each day trusting Him to show you the way. Your life is a testimony!

  4. NYMom4(5) says:

    This devotional is slightly askew. Paul is not saying that Marriage is too much for him. In fact that is nowhere in the text He is saying that because marriage takes up A huge portion of our life, time, energy and desires, (Because Scripture gives us verse like, Eph 5:22-24, “Wives, be subject to your own husbands, as the Lord… and husbands, love your wives, just as Christ loved the church and gave himself up for her…”. Whoa!!!) that If we did not have a spouse we could devote more of our lives to the service of Christ. And most importantly, Paul states in verse 7 that this
    (being able to remain single) is a GIFT FROM GOD.
    So if God has given you this gift, then praise him! But God also gives us the freedom to marry.
    This is what Paul is saying.

    1. Zoryvett Rodriguez says:

      Thank you for this! I was feeling along the same lines. I think because of Gods promise nothing can be too much in faith and someone so faithful (Paul) couldn’t possibly think marriage hold no hope. Especially when it is a desire of the Lord. Yea singledom is a gift from God to devote time to Him. Marriage can shift your views to the worldly but God pushes us to pursue Him when are eyes shift. I love this comment.

    2. Jenny Mueller says:

      I agree. Thank you for spelling it out in a clear way.

  5. Kathryn Green says:

    Love the “most ridiculous promises I’ve ever made”! Yes! What was I thinking at the time? Lol. :) Marriage is so different than I imagined. Glad I’m not the only one. So grateful God is faithful and keeps his promises.

  6. Ashley Gibson says:

    I agree with Andrea that the statistics used are incorrect. I love SRT devotionals and y’all have a responsibility to lead with truth.

  7. Tamara B says:

    I actually learned the most out of the verses 29-31
    No matter what state you are in.. live first and utmost for the Lord!
    “From now on, let those who have wives live as though they had none, and those who mourn as though they were not mourning, and those who rejoice as though they were not rejoicing, and those who buy cas though they had no goods, and those who deal with the world as though they had no dealings with it. For the present form of this world is passing away”

  8. Tamara B says:

    I am thankfull for SRT to give us devotionals. And even more thankfull for the opportunity to read comments. In that way, every angle of the verses can be discussed. It is not the job of SRT to discuss every verse, it is their job to let us read the word.. and think about it, and share our thoughts.. we are to enjoy their view, and that of others. I am happy with this blessing God gave us!

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