Some presuppositions for a good marriage

  • “Marriage is to be between one man and one woman: neither is it lawful for any man to have more than one wife, nor for any woman to have more than one husband, at the same time.” (WCF 24.1)
  • “Marriage was ordained for the mutual help of husband and wife, for the increase of mankind with legitimate issue, and of the church with an holy seed; and for preventing of uncleanness.” (WCF 24.2)
  • Mutual help includes every part of life (spiritual, physical, financial, etc.) and should always be a part of our glorifying and enjoying of God. (WSC 1)
  • Though marriage is useful and can help achieve certain ends, it must also be cultivated as a communion of love and joy. It needs to me about more than “the self-realization of the partners”.
  • Neither party ought to define themselves only by the other person or the marriage itself, but live first and foremost in union with God, walking with integrity before him. So instead of starting with how do I keep my spouse happy or get what I want, start with what has the Lord for me here, and how can my principles help me move in that direction. This means you need to get really clear on who God is and who you are. Which means you need to actively develop your relationship with him.
  • The marriage should be cultivated in harmony with the broader order of the world.
  • Generally, there are differences between the sexes (anatomical, psychological, social, etc.), and also similarities (anatomical, psychological, social, etc.). Some of these are the result of genetics others are the results of conditioning or cultural expectations.
  • Culturally inherited roles that go against God’s design must be rejected. Culturally inherited roles that do not go against God’s design may, and often should, be accepted.
  • Regarding the government of the marriage, the Bible says that husbands are called to lead and wives should submit to that leadership. The Bible does not say exactly how that should work for each couple. So ech couple will need to wisely find good ways to work that out.
  • Each person has influence over the whole relationship but not complete influence.
  • You, your spouse, and your marriage will never be perfect. You’ll always be solving problems and some problems will be unsolvable.
  • A good marriage requires shared aims and boundaries and practices for your marriage. Share these by talking about them. Don’t aim for and cultivate an assumed relationship that only you may know about or want.
  • A good marriage requires both people to be deeply committed and connected to each other.
  • A good marriage is an ever-deepening connection between two people. Connection comes from trust, affection, and understanding over time.
Christopher Chelpka @christopherchelpka