Monday, May 27, 2024

Jesus on Marriage: What the Gospels Really Say

Last Updated on October 17, 2023


Let’s delve into Jesus’ teachings on marriage as presented in the Gospels.

Jesus’ teachings on marriage hold immense significance in guiding our understanding of this sacred union.

This blog post aims to delve into the true messages conveyed by Jesus regarding marriage.

Marriage plays a pivotal role in the human experience, offering companionship, love, and a reflection of God’s design for relationships.

By examining Jesus’ teachings, we can gain valuable insights on how to navigate the intricacies of this institution.

The purpose of this blog post is to unravel the misconceptions surrounding Jesus’ views on marriage and present a comprehensive understanding of his teachings.

Through an exploration of the Gospels, we aim to uncover the genuine wisdom and guidance Jesus offers for couples and families today.

By approaching this topic with an active voice, we can engage readers and encourage them to critically reflect on the profound impact Jesus’ teachings can have on their own marriages.

Let’s embark on a journey to rediscover the depth and beauty of Jesus’ words on marriage, embracing the transformative power they hold in our lives.

The Authority of Jesus’ Teachings on Marriage

A. Jesus’ central role in Christianity

The teachings of Jesus hold significant authority within the Christian faith.

Jesus plays a central role in Christianity, being considered the Son of God and the Savior of humanity.

As such, his words carry immense weight and are seen as the ultimate guide for believers.

B. The teachings being derived directly from Jesus’ words

When it comes to the topic of marriage, Jesus’ teachings are derived directly from his own words, making them particularly influential.

He spoke on various aspects of marriage, shedding light on its significance and providing guidance for believers.

1. Sacredness and indissolubility of marital bond

One of the primary teachings of Jesus regarding marriage is the sacredness and indissolubility of the marital bond.

He affirmed this during his ministry when he said, “Therefore what God has joined together, let no one separate” (Mark 10:9).

Jesus emphasized the sanctity of marriage and discouraged divorce, stating that marital unity should be honored and preserved.

2. Adultery within marriage

Furthermore, Jesus addressed the issue of adultery within marriage.

He emphasized that adultery involves not only physical acts but also lustful thoughts and desires.

In Matthew 5:27-28, he proclaimed, “You have heard that it was said, ‘You shall not commit adultery.’

But I tell you that anyone who looks at a woman lustfully has already committed adultery with her in his heart.”

This teaching emphasizes the importance of fidelity and purity within the marriage covenant.

3. The role of husbands and wives within the marital relationship

Another crucial teaching of Jesus pertains to the role of husbands and wives within the marital relationship.

In his teachings, Jesus highlighted the principles of love, selflessness, and mutual submission.

He instructed husbands to love their wives sacrificially, just as Christ loved the church (Ephesians 5:25).

This means husbands are to prioritize the needs and wellbeing of their wives above their own.

Likewise, Jesus called wives to submit to their husbands, respecting and honoring them as the head of the household.

However, this submission aims to foster inclusivity and avoid being one-sided or oppressive in its approach.

Ephesians 5:21 emphasizes love and mutual respect as it states, “Submit to one another out of reverence for Christ.”

He set the example of servanthood and humility, teaching husbands and wives to follow his lead in their relationship.

Jesus’ teachings on marriage aim to establish a framework for healthy relationships, not to condemn or oppress individuals.

Jesus acknowledged the brokenness of humanity and the complexities of human relationships.

He offered forgiveness and grace to those who have experienced divorce or infidelity while also encouraging believers to strive for righteousness and restoration.

In a nutshell, Jesus’ teachings on marriage carry immense authority within the Christian faith.

Derived directly from his own words, these teachings emphasize the sacredness of marriage, fidelity, love, and mutual submission within the marital relationship.

They serve as a guiding principle for believers, providing a roadmap for building healthy and fulfilling marriages.

As followers of Christ, it is crucial to heed and apply Jesus’ teachings on marriage, allowing them to shape and transform our relationships.

Read: How the Marriage Act in Nigeria Affects Property Rights

Marriage in the Old Testament

A. Brief overview of the biblical portrayal of marriage prior to Jesus’ teachings

Marriage, a sacred institution, has been revered and respected throughout the biblical history prior to Jesus’ teachings.

The Old Testament provides us with a profound understanding of the biblical portrayal of marriage and the foundational principles that underpin it.

In the Old Testament, various narratives and laws reveal the significance of marriage.

From the creation account in Genesis, where God made Adam and Eve as partners, we can infer that marriage was intended for companionship and unity.

It was the means by which God designed humanity to be fruitful and multiply.

B. Key scriptures and principles related to marriage in the Old Testament

1. Exodus

The book of Exodus emphasizes the importance of fidelity and commitment in marriage, stating, “You shall not commit adultery” (Exodus 20:14).

Adultery was viewed as a severe violation of the marriage covenant, damaging the trust and sacred bond between spouses.

2. Proverbs

The book of Proverbs offers wisdom concerning marriage, encouraging faithfulness, respect, and love towards one’s spouse.

It teaches that a good wife is a blessing and a husband who finds one obtains favor from the Lord.

These teachings highlight the mutual responsibilities and rewards within a marital relationship.

3. Deuteronomy

Additionally, the Old Testament contains laws that regulated various aspects of marriage.

Deuteronomy 24:1-4 outlines guidelines for divorce, emphasizing the importance of providing a certificate of divorce and prohibiting the remarriage of a former spouse.

These laws aim to ensure fairness and protect the rights of individuals involved in a marital dissolution.

Polygamy, a prevalent practice in ancient times, is also documented in the Old Testament.

However, these accounts reveal the negative consequences that often accompanied such unions, such as jealousy, rivalry, and broken relationships.

They serve as a cautionary reminder of the potential harm caused by departing from God’s ideal design for marriage.

Moreover, the prophets often employed marriage as a metaphor to describe God’s relationship with His people, emphasizing faithfulness and loyalty.

Hosea’s marriage to an unfaithful woman exemplifies God’s enduring love for His people, despite their waywardness.

This illustration underscores the divine desire for a faithful relationship, reflecting it in human marriages as well.

Overall, the Old Testament lays a solid foundation for understanding marriage and its importance.

It establishes principles of fidelity, companionship, and commitment that are crucial for the success and longevity of any marital union.

These timeless teachings continue to guide and influence how we approach marriage today.

To sum it up, the Old Testament serves as a vital source for comprehending marriage in the biblical context.

It offers valuable insights into the institution of marriage, highlighting its sanctity, responsibilities, and the principles that govern it.

As we delve into Jesus’ teachings on marriage, these foundational perspectives will provide a solid backdrop for understanding His transformative message.

Let us now turn our attention to Jesus’ teachings on marriage, as we explore how they build upon the principles established in the Old Testament.

Jesus’ Teachings on Marriage

In this section, we delve into the teachings of Jesus on various aspects of marriage.

Understanding what the Gospels truly say about marriage is crucial for Christians seeking guidance in their marital relationships.

A. Divorce and Remarriage

Jesus’ view on divorce and remarriage is clearly expressed in Matthew 19:3-12. It is necessary to analyze this passage deeply to understand his stance.

Firstly, Jesus underlines the sanctity of marriage, stating that what God has joined together, no man should separate.

He emphasizes the permanence of the marital bond and opposes divorce.

However, he acknowledges that Moses allowed divorce due to the hardness of people’s hearts.

Secondly, the controversial exceptions mentioned in Matthew 5:31-32 and Matthew 19:9 come under scrutiny.

These exceptions, commonly known as the “unfaithfulness clause,” grant permission for divorce in cases of sexual immorality.

The interpretation and application of these exceptions have been subject to debate among theologians.

B. Adultery and Lust

Jesus’ teachings on adultery and lust, as recorded in Matthew 5:27-30, reveal his uncompromising stance on faithfulness within marriage.

He goes beyond the act of physical adultery and addresses the heart and mind.

According to Jesus, lustful thoughts and desires are as damaging as the physical act of adultery.

He emphasizes the importance of controlling one’s thoughts and urges, urging his followers to go to great lengths to avoid falling into temptation.

Jesus’ emphasis on fidelity in marriage is a recurring theme in his teachings.

He stresses the need for a deep commitment to one’s spouse, avoiding actions or thoughts that could jeopardize the sanctity of the marital bond.

By examining Jesus’ teachings on marriage, we gain valuable insights into his expectations for married couples.

His teachings emphasize the permanence, faithfulness, and sanctity of marriage.

In summary, Jesus’ teachings on marriage, divorce, remarriage, adultery, and lust provide meaningful guidance for Christians navigating the complexities of married life.

Understanding and applying these teachings can lead to stronger and more fulfilling marriages, rooted in love, faithfulness, and the desire to honor God’s design for marital relationships.

Read: Differences Between Traditional and Statutory Marriages in Nigeria

Jesus on Marriage: What the Gospels Really Say

Jesus’ Perspective on Gender Roles in Marriage

A. Jesus’ teachings regarding the roles and responsibilities of husbands and wives

Throughout the Gospels, Jesus provides teachings and insights into the roles and responsibilities of husbands and wives within the context of marriage.

B. Analysis of passages such as Ephesians 5:22-33 and Mark 10:42-45

By examining key passages such as Ephesians 5:22-33 and Mark 10:42-45, we can gain a deeper understanding of Jesus’ perspective on gender roles in marriage.

1. Ephesians 5:22-33

In this passage, Paul writes about the submission of wives to their husbands and the sacrificial love of husbands for their wives.

Jesus’ perspective can be understood through three important points:

  1. Mutual Submission: Jesus emphasized that both husbands and wives should submit to one another out of reverence for Him.

    This shows a partnership where both individuals are equal and respect each other’s needs.

  2. Christ-like Love: Jesus further teaches that husbands should love their wives as Christ loved the Church, sacrificially and unconditionally.

    This love goes beyond self-interest and requires putting the needs and well-being of their wives above their own.

  3. Christ and the Church Analogy: Jesus uses the analogy of the relationship between Christ and the Church to exemplify the ideal marriage.

    Just as Christ gave Himself up for the Church, husbands are called to love their wives in the same selfless way.

2. Mark 10:42-45

In this passage, Jesus addresses a dispute among His disciples about who is the greatest.

Jesus uses this opportunity to teach them about servant leadership and the true role of authority within marriage.

  1. Servant Leadership: Jesus contrasts the leadership style of the Gentile rulers with the servant leadership He exemplifies.

    He emphasizes that the greatest among them should be the one who serves others, rather than seeking dominance or control.

  2. Mutual Respect: Jesus teaches that authority within marriage should not be about exercising power or lording over one another.

    Instead, both husbands and wives should treat each other with respect, acknowledging their equality and partnership.

  3. Sacrificial Service: Jesus underscores that He came to serve and give His life as a ransom for many.

    In the same way, husbands and wives are called to serve one another selflessly, meeting each other’s needs and promoting unity and love within the marriage relationship.

Analyzing these passages and Jesus’ teachings yields several conclusions regarding His perspective on gender roles in marriage:

  1. Equality: Jesus emphasizes equal partnership for husbands and wives, promoting mutual submission, love, and sacrificial service.

  2. Mutual Respect: His teachings reject hierarchical and authoritarian marriage dynamics, advocating love, humility, and selflessness.

  3. Sacrificial Love: Jesus underscores selfless love over self-gratification, emphasizing meeting the spouse’s needs.

In short, Jesus advocates equal, mutually respectful, and sacrificial gender roles in marriage.

His teachings prioritize servant leadership and selfless service, creating harmonious, loving partnerships reflecting His values.

Read: Understanding Nigeria’s Marriage Act: A Comprehensive Guide

Jesus’ Views on Love and Forgiveness in Marriage

In this section, we will delve into Jesus’ teachings on love, forgiveness, and reconciliation within the context of marriage.

Understanding these aspects is crucial for maintaining healthy and fulfilling relationships.

A. Jesus’ teachings on love, forgiveness, and reconciliation within marriage

Jesus consistently emphasized the importance of love in all relationships, including marriage.

He taught that love should be at the core of every action and decision within a marriage.

Love should not only be reserved for moments of affection or attraction but should also permeate through times of difficulty and conflict.

B. Highlighting passages like Matthew 18:21-22 and 1 Corinthians 13:4-7

1. Matthew 18:21-22

In Matthew 22:37-39, Jesus is asked about the greatest commandment.

He responds by saying, “Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind. This is the first and greatest commandment. And the second is like it: ‘Love your neighbor as yourself.'”

This teaching highlights the significance of love in marriage, as spouses are considered neighbors to each other.

Loving one’s partner as oneself implies understanding, accepting, and supporting each other unconditionally.

2. Matthew 18:21-22

Forgiveness is another fundamental aspect Jesus emphasized in marriage.

In Matthew 18:21-22, Peter asks Jesus how many times he should forgive his brother who sins against him. Jesus replies, “I tell you, not seven times, but seventy-seven times.”

This statement suggests that forgiveness should be limitless and extending grace to one another is essential for a healthy marriage.

3. Matthew 5:23-24

Marriage, like any relationship, is prone to conflicts and misunderstandings. However, instead of allowing these disagreements to divide us, Jesus encourages reconciliation.

In Matthew 5:23-24, Jesus teaches, “Therefore, if you are offering your gift at the altar and there remember that your brother or sister has something against you, leave your gift there in front of the altar.

First, go and be reconciled to them; then come and offer your gift.” This passage underlines the importance of resolving conflicts within a marriage promptly, prioritizing reconciliation and harmony.

4. 1 Corinthians 13:4-7

Furthermore, Jesus provides a comprehensive description of love in 1 Corinthians 13:4-7, popularly known as the “Love Chapter.”

This passage outlines the characteristics of love, such as patience, kindness, humility, selflessness, and forgiveness.

Understanding and practicing these qualities are crucial for a successful and fulfilling marriage.

Summarily :-

  • Love should be at the core of every action and decision within a marriage.

  • Spouses are considered neighbors to each other, emphasizing the significance of love in marriage.

  • Forgiveness should be limitless, extending grace to one another for a healthy marriage.

  • Reconciliation should be prioritized, resolving conflicts promptly for harmony in marriage.

  • The characteristics of love include patience, kindness, humility, selflessness, and forgiveness.

Basically, Jesus’ teachings on love, forgiveness, and reconciliation within marriage provide invaluable guidance for couples seeking a strong and enduring relationship.

Love should be the foundation of every aspect of marriage, and forgiveness should be limitless.

Reconciliation should be prioritized, and the characteristics of love, as described by Jesus, should be practiced.

By following these teachings, couples can cultivate a love that is patient, kind, and forgiving, leading to a harmonious and fulfilling marriage relationship.

Read: The Role of Faith in Upholding a Sanctified Marital Relationship

Contemporary Application of Jesus’ Teachings

When examining Jesus’ teachings on marriage, it becomes clear that they hold relevance even in modern-day relationships.

By reflecting on these teachings, individuals can find practical guidance in addressing challenges and aligning their actions with Jesus’ principles.

A. Understanding Jesus’ Teachings on Marriage

  1. Recognize the sacredness of marriage as emphasized by Jesus in his teachings.

  2. Grasp the significance of love, commitment, and sacrifice within a marital relationship.

  3. Comprehend the importance of fidelity, honesty, and trust for a healthy and thriving marriage.

  4. Embrace the idea that marriage should be based on mutual respect, equality, and the pursuit of common goals.

B. Applying Jesus’ Teachings in Modern Relationships

  1. Cultivate a deep sense of love and care for one’s spouse, mirroring Jesus’ love for humanity.

  2. Show commitment and dedication in times of difficulty, seeking solutions that honor the sanctity of marriage.

  3. Practice forgiveness and grace, following Jesus’ example of extending compassion and second chances.

  4. Embrace open and honest communication, fostering understanding, and unity within the marital bond.

  5. Build a foundation of trust through transparency, faithfulness, and accountability in all aspects of the relationship.

C. Addressing Challenges in Modern Relationships

  1. Combat the societal pressures that devalue marriage, affirming its significance and purpose.

  2. Resist the temptations of infidelity and prioritize the commitment to one’s spouse as Jesus taught.

  3. Navigate conflicts with humility and patience, seeking resolution that uplifts the marriage and honors God.

  4. Seek wise counsel from trusted mentors or spiritual leaders when facing complex marital challenges.

  5. Stay rooted in prayer, inviting God’s guidance, strength, and wisdom in sustaining a healthy and fulfilling marriage.

D. Practical Guidance for Aligning with Jesus’ Teachings

  1. Regularly study and meditate on Jesus’ teachings on marriage to deepen your understanding and conviction.

  2. Invest in personal growth and self-reflection to become a better spouse and partner.

  3. Engage in couples’ activities and retreats that focus on spiritual growth and marital enrichment.

  4. Surround yourself with a supportive community of like-minded individuals who share similar values and beliefs.

  5. Continuously seek God’s guidance and discernment in making decisions that impact your marriage.

In general, Jesus’ teachings on marriage have enduring significance in modern relationships.

By understanding, applying, and addressing challenges according to these teachings, individuals can nurture healthy and fulfilling marriages, aligning their actions with the principles taught by Jesus.

Read: Advice for Newlyweds: Navigating the Journey with Hebrews 13:4


Recapping the key points discussed, the Gospels shed light on Jesus’ teachings on marriage.

It is evident that he emphasized the sacredness and permanence of the marital bond.

Jesus condemned divorce and stressed the importance of faithfulness and forgiveness within marriage.

The significance of Jesus’ teachings on marriage cannot be understated.

His teachings set a high standard for married couples, urging them to strive for unity, love, and selflessness.

By adhering to these teachings, couples can experience the fullness of God’s blessings in their marital journey.

In closing, it is crucial for individuals to actively live out Jesus’ teachings on marriage in their everyday lives.

This means valuing commitment, communication, and compassion within the marital relationship.

By embracing these teachings, couples can create a strong foundation for lasting love and happiness.

Let us encourage and support one another in living out these teachings, knowing that God’s grace is always available to guide us on this beautiful journey of marriage.

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