Lesson 1

It has been said about marriage...

All weddings are happy; it’s the living together afterwards that causes all these problems.

Puppy love leads to a dog’s life later.

After all if it weren’t for marriage, husbands and wives would have to fight with strangers.

Marriage is like a cafeteria.... You take what looks good to you now and pay for it later.

Marriage is a give and take arrangement. You give and he/she takes.

Marriage is an adventure.... like going to war!

These little “jabs”, clothed in humor, are so numerous that we could fill page after page with them. But a great deal of truth is revealed in this humor. Too often, these little “tidbits” express, if not the true feeling of many, at least the confusion that lurks in the heart and minds of most married couples. The prevalence of this fact is clearly demonstrated in the too common saying:

Don’t wreck a perfectly good relationship by getting married.

Most couples enter this glad time of marriage a bit glassy eyed, with their brain in neutral and their emotions in high gear and they truly believe that “love”, which they have no clue what is, will overcome all problems, all sins, all difficulties, etc.  But what most couples fail to see, as they approach marriage, is that they are not in love... they are in heat. And they have given very little thought or planning as to how and why this marriage is going to work or for that matter what marriage really is!?!?

As for the answer to that question, most couples do not have a clue at the time of marriage and have even less of a clue after marriage. It has been well noted that couples would not get divorced for such trivial reasons, if they had not gotten married for trivial reasons.

and the list of these grotesque stats could go on and on.

Equally tragic are the figures on divorce. It is a fact that many, if not most, of those who still remain married are living a lie. They only have an empty shell, a hideous mockery of the real thing. And most are so disenchanted or indifferent that they do little to change the situation. The few that would like to make a difference, do not know where to turn for assistance, because Parents, Schools, Movies, Friends, Churches, Etc. give either the wrong signal or no signal at all.

The purpose of this series is to give you a “Road Map” that you can use on your journey to a Biblical marriage. May I emphasize the fact that it is a journey. It is not an act of getting married, that is called a wedding. Anyone with enough money can have one, but money has nothing to do with a marriage. I have no intentions of giving a step by step guide to all situations involved in marriage, but instead, I want to give you information and Biblical principles that will point the way.

This is a course for adults, yet this is not an “Adult" Course. Sad to say, the term, adult, has come to mean almost anything but adult.

Adult = Fully developed, fully mature; One who has arrived at full development in size, strength, intellectual capacity and maturity.

Today the term “adult” is associated more with being selfish than with growing up.

Selfish = Concerned excessively or exclusively with oneself; seeking or concentrating on one’s own advantage, pleasure or well being without the regard of others.

Nowhere is selfishness more evident than in Christians who are not engaged in a Biblical marriage. If it feels good, do it is the “logo” of today’s Christian. To be adult to some means: “To be able to do what you want, when you want, in the way you want without accountability to anyone else. That concept defies the reality of anything adult. This attitude is an indication of a life out of control of God and His Word. To the modern adult, accountability stops at the end of one’s own nose and the measure by which he is accountable, to himself, is his own pleasure. It is difficult to tell the difference between the average adult’s attitude and the attitude of tyrannical child. Both are self-focused and both are focused on self.

If marriage is to work, there is noroom for such a childish-no, such a satanic philosophy. For there to be any Biblical development in marriage, both spouses must be able to at least consider the other as important as themselves. Whether you are approaching these sessions from the vantage point of enrichment of your marriage or the preparation for marriage, you must be ready to answer at least two questions and there will be many, many more questions to answer, down the line.

Both will be required of you in a Biblical marriage and you will find it much easier to die that to live. Outside of God Himself, the most important word in the marriage relationship is “Commitment”... This is one of the most distasteful words in the human language to many Christians. The next most important word is “Responsibility”. The understanding of “Responsibility” usually must come before true “Commitment” can be given. Oh yes! There is commitment in the marriage all right. Commitment to the T.V.; Commitment to Sports; Commitment to self.... etc.

Selfishness which has its root in the Fall of Adam in the Garden has in this day and age been elevated to the status of not only necessity but the best of all commitments. Someone said, and I don’t know who it was but he/she said a mouth full.

These are not the areas of commitment that will make a marriage work. We will look at the commitment that is needed to make your marriage move beyond this present fizzle stage.

Some view marriage as only “Social Security”. Now that I am married I have someone to talk to, someone to sit with me at meetings (you know my personal mascot) and I don’t have to run all over the place dating or trying to date, etc. Plus, now I can have sex whenever I want it. If that were your motive in marriage or even one of your motives, you will find that this “Social Security” will soon become a burden and millstone around your neck.

Someone wrote, and again I don’t know who. I write these things down over the years and have no idea who said them. Often I hear or see something and use it as a base and rewrite it to my own liking. Now this is good stuff, so I think I must have been the one who wrote it. You can just give me credit for this little piece..., O.K.? No. I wish it were mine. This person did a good job and they are right on target. Listen as I read it.

Sexual sanctity can easily be soiled outside of marriage; it can also be shopworn within marriage. The true nature and purpose of the sexual union can just as seriously be mismanaged inside of marriage as outside. Simply to keep sex for marriage is not sufficient to make it immune from tragedy and betrayal.

Sex can be a sacrament or a sacrilege right within the marriage relation. It can be a hallowed thing or a hollow thing, a blessing or a burden. It is either a physical act from which there emerges a spiritual value, or it is a physical act and no more. Either it brings a deep sense of mutuality and oneness in love and trust, or it stands alone as a symbol of the ease with which two people can exploit a pleasurable experience for purely selfish ends. It exalts and dignifies human personality, or it degrades the sacred worth of personality. It is a fine line that separates between the sexual expression of love and the sexual expression of contempt.  Lust is not ever far from love in human experience. Only a Christian marriage fully guarantees the redemption of sexual expression from the realm of lust.

A successful Biblical marriage takes time and a lot of work. Marriage is not a romantic experience, although there should be much romance. Marriage is the commitment of two, husband and wife, to the working out of life together. In a real marriage, the fascination with all those romantic expectations will give way to the realities of real life. Like the declaration of the husband one day when he came home from work, “Honey, I got a raise! Now we can finally pay last year’s taxes!”

What we are going to look at in these classes can lead to a Biblical Marriage that is wonderful beyond your imagination. Marriage is for the human race whether they are Born Again and therefore in Christ or outside of Christ and headed for an eternity in the Lake of Fire. We are not going to spend our time on the social aspect of marriage, but instead we want to see the Biblical aspect of marriage. This information can only be appropriated by those who are Born Again. It is ideal when both husband and wife are Born Again, but there is much which a person can do and can be even if their spouse is not a believer. Most of our time will be spent on what makes a Biblical Marriage and this information is only for use by Christians, Believe you me! Membership has its privileges. It is eternally important that you have accepted Christ as your personal Savior and that you are sure of that fact! Being a Born Again Believer in Christ will make all the difference in the world in being able to apply the Biblical Principles of Marriage. If you have not received the Holy Spirit through Salvation there is NO WAY that a Biblical Marriage can be yours.

Marriage vows

I used to ask a couple when they came to me and said that they wanted to get married, “Why do you want to get married?”. Then I would sit back and watch them squirm and wait for their answer. I no longer do that, because some of the answers were anything but what I was looking for. The standard answer should be, “Because we love one another.” So I changed my approach with these couples, and let’s pretend that you are on one side of the table and I am on the other side. Our discussion about marriage is about to begin, and I say, "I assume you want to get married, because you are in love with each other.  Right?" What do you mean by love? Don’t worry, I won’t leave you stumbling around too long. I just want to make sure that your palms are good and sweaty and that you really know that you don’t know what love is - God is Love.

1 John 4:16 And we have known and believed the love that God has for us. God is love, and he who abides in love abides in God, and God in him.

Love is not an emotion. Love is not hormones. Love is not sex. You don’t fall into love, nor do you fall out of love. Love is a commitment that gives.

John 3:16 "For God so loved the world that He gave His only begotten Son, that whoever believes in Him should not perish but have everlasting life.

What is Marriage

Most people enter marriage not knowing what marriage is, or what to do with it. God started marriage and He knows what it is and He knows what makes it tick.

Genesis 2:21-25 And the Lord God caused a deep sleep to fall on Adam, and he slept; and He took one of his ribs, and closed up the flesh in its place. 22 Then the rib which the Lord God had taken from man He made into a woman, and He brought her to the man. 23 And Adam said: "This is now 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 mother and be joined (cleave) to his wife, and they shall become one flesh. 25 And they were both naked, the man and his wife, and were not ashamed.

The word for cleave to his wife is a very strong word in the original Hebrew. It means to adhere to or grow into and become a part of, to be inseparable. You are to become a part of and grow into the life of your spouse and the two are to become inseparable. The cleft of the tree is a good example of this union. When that branch first grows from the trunk of the tree it is easily broken, but given time, that branch cleaves to the trunk. The bond becomes stronger and stronger until it can stand even the strongest winds unless it is tampered with by man or bugs or disease.

It is this “cleaving” that is our goal in these classes. If you are “cleaved”, your marriage can stand the storms of time. If this “cleaving” is not a reality in your life, then you will be swallowed up in the black hole of “selfishness”.

If you own a business and you are the head of this business, who is responsible if your business fails? Wait a minute, some of the those who work for you are probably very much at fault and contributed to the failure. The key here is not who is at fault or even who caused the business to fail. It is who is responsible?

Notice to whom God gives the responsibility for the marriage.

God put the responsibility for the condition of this marriage right on your shoulders....Man. He didn’t ask, “Whose fault is it.  He simply said, “It is the man’s responsibility!”.... Period!

Please understand, unless each person knows what they are responsible for you will have chaos in any situation and especially in marriage. We certainly have a lot of chaos, don’t we? Being responsible does not always mean that the one responsible will carry out the task. It does means that he will see to it that is accomplished. That’s your job...., husband!

Stop and think with me, just in your mind, not out loud.  How long have the problems in your marriage been going on? Days? Weeks? Months? Years? You mean these problems have been going on that long and you haven’t been man enough to bring about Biblical correction? Manliness is not how far you can hit a ball or the size of your biceps, but how well are you carrying out the job God gave you to do? How much time and effort have you spent on your marriage and especially during these past few months, in an effort to bring about this “cleaving” between you and wife? How much time and effort have you spent making your wife a part of every aspect of you life?

Not just telling her to do it or to meet you over there. I mean, have you taken the time to include her in a proper way, in all your life? Have you really tried in every way to make her a total part of every aspect of your life or have you tried to keep your lives separate with secrets? But of course you are still the boss! The head of the Home! And these things are none of her business!

Husbands, you stand guilty before God for the mess you have made of this union or disunion whichever applies to your situation. If you had been the man you should have been, and the godly man you ought to have been, then this marriage would have been strong and growing stronger day by day. Men, God holds you and you alone responsible for the mess you have made of it.  Until you take your position as a man and the head of this home and accept that responsibility, and receive God’s forgiveness, and start to use God’s Word as it should be in your life and this marriage, then you will not find fulfillment in anything you do. Your marriage is your primary responsibility from God and taking care of that properly is manliness. When you, as the head, let your marriage get out of balance, all else will also be whaky.

We will see wife’s responsibilities later, but this passage only speaks to man’s responsibility. Man in his lust wants to establish the fact of who is at fault, so he can blame someone and dodge his responsibility. In this way he can keep on living in lustful sin and feel good about it, because it is someone else’s fault, maybe even God’s - We have learned well from Adam, haven’t we?

The only time we need to establish fault is to establish proper responsibility, so we can make proper corrections. Both husband and wife have contributed to lack of union or cleaving within the home but the need, for right now, is to establish the area of responsibility,nNot to seek out who to blame.

Usually when a couple sits across from me in a post marriage situation, it is because the marriage has become so uncomfortable that one or the other feels they can’t go on this way any longer. For the purpose of this class, I am going to assume that at least one of you are at or close to that stage? Praise God, if that is not true of most of you. But for the sake of the presentation of this material, we will use that assumption. Now that we have established this area of the husband’s responsibility, we need to look at what can be done to solve the present situation and enhance the future of this union. When marriage is working right the husband will be doing all he can to please his wife and the wife will be doing all she can to please the husband. In that way each gets just what they want and they all live happily ever after - sure, Sure.... In you wildest dreams, huh? But Biblical marriage is much closer to that than you might think.


To understand Biblical marriage we must understand “the human” of the Bible. If we were to listen to the babblers of this world, you would think that mankind was just a higher form of the animal kingdom. Therefore, we should act like animals, only on a higher level. If this were true, these babblers say, “We should use marriage for pleasure and reproduction only.” But mankind is notjust a higher form of an animal.

Genesis 1:24 Then God said, "Let the earth bring forth the living creature according to its kind: cattle and creeping thing and beast of the earth, each according to its kind"; and it was so.

Genesis 2:7 And the Lord God formed man of the dust of the ground, and breathed into his nostrils the breath of life; and man became a living being (soul).

When God created animals they are called “living creatures”. When God created man he was called a “living being”. The same expression and same word but what a difference!  God breathed into the nostrils the “breath of life” and man was. I use the word “soul” to distinguish between man’s life and the life of an animal. We don’t have time to study the difference, nor take a detailed study of the soul, but man was made in the “shadow image” of God. And the thing the really makes man “tick” is the Word of God so that we can be like God.

Deuteronomy 8:3 "So He humbled you, allowed you to hunger, and fed you with manna which you did not know nor did your fathers know, that He might make you know that man shall not live by bread alone; but man lives by every word that proceeds from the mouth of the Lord.

Jude 1:10 But these speak evil of whatever they do not know; and whatever they know naturally, like brute beasts, in these things they corrupt themselves.

Psalms 49:20 Man who is in honor, yet does not understand, Is like the beasts that perish.

Man, through the soul, can use abstract information to draw concrete conclusions and make life changing decisions. Animals on the other hand operate only on instincts.


Each person comes to this marriage union with different backgrounds. Each brings their own problems to marriage. This is not a case of adding problems to problems, but instead this multiplication of problems. Before marriage, when one of these differences caused a little problem, you could go home, and say, “I’ll see you in a day or two.” and time makes the problem fade in intensity. Now that you are married and one of these differences causes a problem, you are home!!!  And time intensifies the problem.

Genesis 2:18-22 And the Lord God said, "It is not good that man should be alone; I will make him a helper comparable to him." 19 Out of the ground the Lord God formed every beast of the field and every bird of the air, and brought them to Adam to see what he would call them. And whatever Adam called each living creature, that was its name. 20 So Adam gave names to all cattle, to the birds of the air, and to every beast of the field. But for Adam there was not found a helper comparable to him. 21 And the Lord God caused a deep sleep to fall on Adam, and he slept; and He took one of his ribs, and closed up the flesh in its place. 22 Then the rib which the Lord God had taken from man He made into a woman, and He brought her to the man.

God knew what Adam and his wife needed and he knows what you, as husband and wife, need. Your greatest need is to grow to be like Christ. Satan used that truth and perverted it to bring man to sin.

Genesis 3:5 "For God knows that in the day you eat of it your eyes will be opened, and you will be like God, knowing good and evil."


Each of you brings expectations to marriage. These expectations are developed from many sources...

All are embellished through your imagination and fantasy. Most of these expectations are anything but realistic and are most likley wrong.


When expectations are not met, disappointment results. You blame the one whom you thought should have fulfilled your expectations. You need to make your expectation only what God provides through His Word. This brings unity and spiritual growth. Then if you receive anything else than what is specified in His Word, it is an added benefit, a bonus. You can then rejoice at your good fortune instead of bellyaching about disappointments.

What about all these expectations that you brought to marriage? Make the expectations Goals and work on them together. This brings unity because you are working together to achieve something, instead of waiting for someone to meet your selfish wants.


Wife expects 14 bedroom house..... Husband expects 1 room flat with bath.

List “goals/expectation” together....

With + &  then compare, this brings reality to the fantasy  Honest

After this proper listing, many of the expectations will vanish, because each will see that they weren’t even practical

But expectations not realized or evaluated become desires

When these expectations/desires are not realized they bring about deep disappointments

Within the soul when deep disappointment which are not based on reality, are allowed to fester a growing sense of guilt begins to fill the life. Guilt is to the soul like pain is to the body. We want to get rid of it, or relieve it. Aspirin is a pain suppresser for the body.


Blame is the guilt suppresser for the soul. You blame the other for not fulfill your supposed need. After all, the other person is supposed to meet that expectation which you held to when you got married. You can’t play this “Blame Game” very long until you become bitter towards the one you are blaming.

Acts 8:18-23 Now when Simon saw that through the laying on of the apostles' hands the Holy Spirit was given, he offered them money, 19 saying, "Give me this power also, that anyone on whom I lay hands may receive the Holy Spirit." 20 But Peter said to him, "Your money perish with you, because you thought that the gift of God could be purchased with money! 21 "You have neither part nor portion in this matter, for your heart is not right in the sight of God. 22 "Repent therefore of this your wickedness, and pray God if perhaps the thought of your heart may be forgiven you. 23 "For I see that you are poisoned by bitterness and bound by iniquity."

Ephesians 4:30-32 And do not grieve the Holy Spirit of God, by whom you were sealed for the day of redemption. 31 Let all bitterness, wrath, anger, clamor, and evil speaking be put away from you, with all malice. 32 And be kind to one another, tenderhearted, forgiving one another, just as God in Christ also forgave you.

Colossians 3:19 Husbands, love your wives and do not be bitter toward them.

James 3:13-15 Who is wise and understanding among you? Let him show by good conduct that his works are done in the meekness of wisdom. 14 But if you have bitter envy and selfseeking in your hearts, do not boast and lie against the truth. 15 This wisdom does not descend from above, but is earthly, sensual, demonic.

Proverbs 14:10 The heart knows its own bitterness, and a stranger does not share its joy.


Bitterness is a root.

Hebrews 12:15-16 looking diligently lest anyone fall short of the grace of God; lest any root of bitterness springing up cause trouble, and by this many become defiled; 16 lest there be any fornicator or profane person like Esau, who for one morsel of food sold his birthright.

Home work for the next few weeks...

Check the blame and bitterness level

Carry a file card or a little pad of paper and make a tally mark each time you blame someone else or something else for what happened. Even if it was the other thing’s or person’s fault that incident happened.

You need to raise your “Blame Awareness Level”.If you don’t know you have a problem or don’t know the severity of it, then you will never have a desire to get into the correction process. This problem of Guilt-Blame-Bitterness is, if not the greatest problem in the marriage, is one of the greatest. It is possibly the greatest single problem in the church today. From this root of bitterness comes all sorts of sins. You will never be able to start a rebuilding program for your marriage until you deal with the trio Guilt-Blame-Bitterness

James 3:13-4:1 Who is wise and understanding among you? Let him show by good conduct that his works are done in the meekness of wisdom. 14 But if you have bitter envy and self-seeking in your hearts, do not boast and lie against the truth. 15 This wisdom does not descend from above, but is earthly, sensual, demonic. 16 For where envy and self-seeking exist, confusion and every evil thing will be there. 17 But the wisdom that is from above is first pure, then peaceable, gentle, willing to yield, full of mercy and good fruits, without partiality and without hypocrisy. 18 Now the fruit of righteousness is sown in peace by those who make peace. 4:1 Where do wars and fights come from among you? Do they not come from your desires for pleasure that war in your members?

Be Man and Woman enough not to use this session as a “club” to strike out at your spouse! You are the one in need of proper action. If you take care of the problems in you life everyone will have taken care of their problems.