7 Biblical Principles of a Highly Successful Marriage – Principle #1 – Compatibility
Hi, this is Pastor Ken thanks for joining me once again for the Monday Marriage Message where we search God’s instructions to experience a highly successful marriage.
This year I have chosen to offer my Monday Marriage Message podcast in a series format. We have thus far completed a series on Ephesians 5:21-33, and have just completed a series on Marriage and divorce. Though each of these have been expository teaching systematically working through various passages of scripture, my next series is going to follow more of an episodic nature. I am entitling the series 7 Biblical Principles for a Highly Successful Marriage, and though each entry will cover an individual principle and its supporting scriptures, each will also contribute to the overall theme. I am looking forward to it this new series, so let’s begin.
I have used several past episodes presenting the truth that God created marriage for the purpose of reflecting Himself, so I won’t take the time now to repeat that teaching. However, I do think it is important to re-register the principle facts that support that theological position.
God created mankind to reflect His image and likeness. (Genesis 1:26)
God created humankind, male and female. (Genesis 1:27)
God identified that man alone is in a state of incomplete ability to reflect the image and likeness of God entirely. (Genesis 2:18)
Woman was created to perfectly complement the man that together they might be equipped to fulfill their stated purpose of reflecting God. (Genesis 2:21-22)
The man made note of the fact that he and the woman were created “One flesh” a term endorsed by God to describe those who are married. (Genesis 2:23)
The union and relationship of man and woman in their ‘One flesh’ condition is reflective of the inseparable unity of the trinity which created them. (Genesis 1:26-27, 2:23-24)
Following Adam and Eve, God decided to mysteriously and miraculously “Join” men and women in marriage and recreate of them a “One flesh” condition like that experienced in the original union. (Genesis 2:24, Ephesians 5:31-32, Matthew 19:4-6, Mark 10:7-9)
The primary purpose of marriage noted by the Creator and Author of the institution is to reflect God and that same purpose has been expressly continued in every marriage from Adam and Eve to the present. (Genesis 2:24)
If you desire to have a fuller understanding of this teaching it is available in past episodes of this podcast entitled The Oneness Factor, posted Aug 9, 2021 or Marital Conflict #1 What is the Purpose of Marriage? released Aug 8, 2022. A prerequisite understanding of this foundational concept is important to the series we are now beginning, so if you are not familiar with it I hope you will take the time to listen to one or both of the episodes I just mentioned.
With that I want to begin with the first of our 7 Biblical Principles for a Highly Successful Marriage. Principle #1 – Compatibility – In order to enjoy a highly successful marriage a couple must be compatible.
In our western society we place a high level of importance on compatibility in marriage. Most dating websites and Apps garner a great deal of information about a person’s likes and dislikes, habits, beliefs, and personality traits in an attempt to be able to match the user with another with whom they will be compatible. In my practice as a marriage counselor when I am offering pre-marital counseling I ask each couple why they have decided to marry. Almost everyone gives me some form of answer that indicates they find themselves compatible. Usually it is the female who will tell me how they share the same interests, or they like to do the same things. I often hear that they feel that they are complete when they are together. As I said these thoughts are most often shared with me by the woman who is the relational thinker of the duo, the man, compartmentalized in his thinking, understands it is in his best interest to agree with her in that moment though I know that if forced to answer prior to her, he would likely say something much more succinct about his thoughts on their compatibility. He would be much more likely to utter something along the lines of, “We love each other and want to spend our lives together”.
Though we do place a high degree of importance on compatibility in our culture, our compatibility markers are not the same as the one from Gods word that I want to look at today. Throughout the bible, and even in some cultures today, marriages were and still are arranged by the parents, sometimes without the intended spouses having ever met. Biblically speaking the marriage between Isaac and Rebecca comes to mind. You can read about that in Genesis chapter 24. There was no indicator of their compatibility except that of prayer offered and answered. God had been petitioned to direct Abraham’s servant to the woman who was to become Isaac’s wife. God answered that prayer very specifically in the exact way that was requested leaving no doubt as to whom God’s choice for Isaac was. The scripture actually states that by this sign, a willingness to draw water not only for the him but also for His compliment of camels, Abraham’s servant knew that the woman who made the offer was the one appointed by God. This is not a facet of compatibility that should be ignored. I often suggest to teens and young adults that they should be praying for God’s direction to the spouse He desires them to join into covenant with. If we expect and believe that God cares about us enough to meet our needs and we ask Him as our Jehovah Jireh (God our provider) to do so, why would we think we could not or should not ask Him to lead us to our spouse? If marriage is the joining of a man and a woman for the purpose of reflecting God, logic alone would dictate that God would be incredibly interested in pairing us with the best person to compliment us in the fulfillment of that endeavor.
However, there is another compatibility factor stated in God’s word in no uncertain terms. It is found in the scripture that I want to focus on today, 2 Corinthians 6:14 says, Do not be unequally yoked together with unbelievers. For what fellowship has righteousness with lawlessness? And what communion has light with darkness? This short verse speaks volumes about the necessity of compatibility for a highly successful marriage.
I have made the following statement many times before. Marriage is a spiritual experience lived out in the physical realm, therefore, it is governed by spiritual principles – not natural ones. Last year in this podcast, I spent several weeks on another series I called Marital Conflict – Worldly Wisdom vs Wordly Wisdom. In that series I pointed out some of the spiritual principles that dictate the marriage experience.
Marriage is indeed a spiritual experience. It was instituted by God, the supreme spiritual authority. According to Genesis 2:24 each marriage subsequent to Adam and Eve’s literal physical “One flesh” merger, is a recreation of that original union. Jesus stated in Mathew 19:4-6 and Mark 10:7-9 that this redevelopment of the original is accomplished by God alone, and is intended to be respected as an act of God not to undone by mere men. Paul went on to write in Ephesians 5:32 that this “one flesh” condition is still mysteriously or miraculously taking place in the present and is the handiwork of God. Marriage is a spiritual experience indeed.
Marriage is a spiritual experience – lived out in the physical realm, therefore, it is governed by spiritual principles – not natural ones. When Adam and Eve were married it was the result of their creation. On the 6th day God created both Adam and Eve. We don’t know how long it was that Adam was on scene without his counterpart, we only know it was not more than 24 hours. I don’t have the time to lay it all out here today but there is considerable evidence that each of the days of creation were in fact 24 hour periods of time. When Eve was taken out of Adam and presented to him, Adam announced that they were “One flesh” (Genesis 2:21-23). Eve was created from Adam’s flesh and bone. Their marriage was the prototype; and yet also unique. They were literally living in a “one flesh” condition. Their marriage was created by God just as yours and mine were, but theirs was not only a spiritual experience it contained a true physical component to it as well. We live out our spiritual experience of marriage in the physical realm. In other words, a husband and wife in the physical realm are two individual human beings, but they are intended to honor the fact that God has joined them and made of them one thing – their “One flesh” condition…their marriage. Jesus said “And so, they are no longer two – but one flesh, what God has joined together let not man take apart”.
Since marriage is a spiritual condition established by God it is a Holy creation. What is holy is pure and righteous. As Christ followers, we have been made righteous by the purifying blood of Jesus Christ. (Romans 3:21) This righteousness imparted to us is supposed to have a purifying effect on our lives. As we become aware of the impurities in our lives we are to repent and turn from them. It is God’s desire that we choose to love Him more than our fleshly passions. Therefore, when we ask Him in marriage to join us inextricably with another, it is crucial that we ask Him to join us with one who is also made righteous by Him, being perfected by Him, through the redemptive work of His Holy Spirit. Why? Let’s look at 2 Corinthians 6:14 again…For what fellowship has righteousness with lawlessness? And what communion has light with darkness?
Holiness is pure, it becomes perverted if lawlessness is invited to mix with righteousness. Darkness isn’t at all compatible with light. Even a little unrighteousness cannot be tolerable by righteousness. [Allow me to illustrate – warning, a graphic gross illustration is about to happen…if you have a weak stomach you may want to stop listening now.] After a big holiday dinner, the trash can is often full of waste from preparing the meal. Hours later when it is removed from the house, at the bottom of the bag is a collection of “juice” that has been released from the various ingredients used to prepare the previously enjoyed feast. 4 or 5 days later when the trash is collected, that “juice” is rotted and disgusting, just as sin is in comparison to holiness. How many drops of that unholy garbage can “juice” would you allow to be put into a glass of pure water that you were supposed to drink and then proclaim how wonderful and refreshing the water was? I hope none! So it is to be in our marriages. We are to reject the idea of being unequally yoked with unbelievers. Righteousness is not compatible with lawlessness and light is not compatible with darkness.
Does this mean that if you have joined yourself with Christ, that you must now turn your back on your unbelieving spouse? Of course not! The Apostle Paul was clear that if faced with that situation the Christ following spouse is to remain in the union and act in accordance with God’s design for marriage. Paul reminds us that it may be through the righteous action of a believing spouse that the unbelieving one comes to be saved. Only if the non-Christian spouse is unwilling to remain in the marriage because of their spouse’s commitment to Christ, and the unbeliever chooses to leave does Paul say that the Christian spouse is free. (1 Corinthians 7:10-16)
Compatibility is key to marriage, it is of the utmost importance that we be very careful to ask God to join us with other believers only. As far as I am concerned it is the 1st of the 7 Biblical Principles for a Highly Successful Marriage.
So now, looking to the unity you have with Jesus to increase the compatibility you have with your spouse…Go be Awesome!