In this study we want to think about something very important, very crucial, and that is on God’s plan for an excellent marriage. I believe this is very vital in the days in which we live.

The Pharisees once came to Jesus (we read in Matthew 19) to test Him and asked Him, in verse 3, ‘‘Is it lawful for a man to divorce his wife for any reason?’’ Jesus’ reply was, ‘‘Haven’t you read that He who created them from the beginning, made them male and female,’’ and He went to say that, ‘‘The two shall become one flesh.’’ Consequently, they are no more two but one. ‘‘And what therefore God has joined together let no man separate.’’ 

The point I want you to notice here is, even though under the Old Testament Moses had permitted divorce, as the Pharisees pointed out in Matthew 19:7, it was only a temporary arrangement. Jesus said, ‘If you want to know God’s perfect will, go back to the beginning.’ That is what He said in verse 4, ‘From the beginning.’ So, if we want to understand what God’s will is for a man and a woman, we must go back to Genesis chapter 2. That is what Jesus quoted here (Mat. 19:5), ‘‘A man shall leave his father and mother and cleave to his wife and the two shall become one flesh.’’ That is why, He said, there is no question of divorce.

Unfortunately among Christians also, who are supposed to be the light of the world, a lot of marriages are not happy. They are not divorced, in the sense that they have not separated and gone to live in separate homes, but there is a separation in spirit. Though they are not divorced physically, they are divorced in spirit. You can be living in the same house for 20 years and live as two lonely individuals. Then you are not fulfilling for God’s purpose for your marriage. Because God’s purpose is that two shall become one. That is God’s plan, two should become one. We need to see why two are not becoming one.

If we go back to the beginning (Genesis 2), we read that it was not Adam who went to God and said, ‘Lord, I am feeling lonely, can you please give me a wife?’ Isn’t that interesting? That, it was God who said (Gen. 2:18), when He looked at man, ‘‘It is not good for man to be alone. I will make him a helper suitable for him.’’ Now the question is, ‘Why didn’t God make Adam and Eve simultaneously, at the same time?’ He could have done it very easily. It says, He took the dust of the ground and made Adam. At the same time He could have made Eve and breathed into both of them the breath of life, so that, as soon as their eyes were open they could see each other. Why did He make Adam first, alone, and a while later, put him to sleep, pulled out his rib, and made a woman?

There is a good reason. There is something spiritual that God was trying to tell both Adam and Eve, which is the secret of how two can become one. What was that secret? When God made Adam, when he got life, and he opened his eye, who was the first person he saw? You know the answer. God! He met God. He talked with God. He had no wife. It was just him and God. Much later he got a wife. So what was God trying to teach Adam through that? He was trying to teach Adam one simple lesson that, ‘‘I must be first in your life at all times. Before you see a wife you must see me. More than you value your wife, you must value me.’’ That is why He made Adam alone and fellowshipped with him before a wife even existed.

What shall we learn from this? That, throughout your life, even if you are married for 50 years or 75 years, God must always be first every day. Many people start with their wives first, if they are fallen in love with each other. In some cases the parents are first, but let me go into that later. Let me now speak about the creation of Eve. God put Adam to sleep – a deep sleep is mentioned (Gen. 2:21), so that he couldn’t even wake up. Then He took one of his ribs, closed it up with flesh and made a woman out of that rib. Now, as soon as God made a woman out of that rib, when God breathed into Eve, when she got life and her eyes were opened, whom did she see first? Not Adam.

She did not even know of the existence of Adam. She thought she was the only human being created. She did not know anything about Adam. Her eyes opened and she saw God, exactly like when Adam was created. Adam was somewhere else in the garden fast asleep. He did not know about her existence, and she did not know about his existence. She met God. God was the first person to speak to her and, only much later did God bring her to Adam. So what was God trying to teach Eve? The same lesson He was trying to teach Adam. ‘‘I must be first in your life. You must have fellowship with me before you fellowship with your husband.’’

Do you understand now God’s plan for an excellent marriage? Adam had to fellowship with God, before he fellowshipped with Eve. Eve had to fellowship with God, before she fellowshipped with Adam. It is all written there. From the beginning this is how God intended marriage to be. When God Himself is between a husband and wife, where each person and the partner in the marriage seek to put the Lord first in their personal life, you know what will happen? They will be glued together. God is the greatest binding force in the universe. When He holds two people together, it is impossible for anybody to separate them, not the devil, not demons, not circumstances, not poverty, not the whole world, not even death can separate them.

When God is not there to hold people together, then people are held together by other forces. But the other forces are not as strong. I don’t know whether you have seen an advertisement for this adhesive called Fevicol. One of the advertisements that I have seen, it is also pictured in some of the bottles of Fevicol, where two things are stuck together, and on each side an elephant is trying to pull it and they can’t separate it. When a husband and wife are joined together by God, it is even greater than that. No elephants can separate them. No demons can separate them. No human beings can separate them. But they must have God in the middle. God is a greater joiner than Fevicol, or Araldite, or any other superglue. With God in between a husband and a wife, He will join you both together in such a way that nothing can separate you.

So, you have to be very careful not to allow anything to come between both of you, as husband and wife, or wife and husband, nothing other than God. What is the binding force in many marriages in young people? It is very often good looks. A boy likes a girl because she has got good looks. Now mere good looks are not good enough to hold a marriage for 50 years. Look at these marriages where people marry someone for good looks and within three months they are fighting with each other. It can’t hold. We are not against good looks. By all means marry a good-looking girl. But that is not the main factor. It will never hold a marriage together. What do many girls choose a boy for? – Good job, good family, a lot of money. You think that is going to hold a marriage together? Never! Some boys will marry girls because they get a big dowry. That will never hold a marriage together. It is impossible.

The way God did it from the beginning is the way a marriage is held together, where the Lord is first, where each person has a relationship with God that is greater than their relationship with each other. In other words, if you are a husband, you must not seek to be first in your wife’s affection. The Lord must be first in her affections. If you are a wife, the Lord must be first in your husband’s affection, and you must be second. Those who put the Lord first and walk in the light, as the Bible says in 1 John 1:7, ‘‘If we walk in the light as God is in the light,’’ they will have fellowship with one with another.’’ And the two are held together.

Now what are the things that can come between a husband and wife? It could be parents. It says in Genesis 2:24, ‘‘A man must leave his father and his mother and cleave to his wife.’’ Then only they can become one flesh. Notice again what that verse saying: you have to leave something and then you can cleave. If you try to cleave without leaving, you will never become one. Isn’t that amazing? That is the one commandment given in scripture for us even before sin came into the world – Leave your father and mother. I want to ask you who are married, have you left your father and mother? I don’t mean physically. By all means care for them, take care of them till their dying day. We should do that. We have to honour our parents. But don’t let them come between you and your married life. You must leave them emotionally. They brought you up for so many years, and that is good. But now that you are married, you got to leave them. It is because many husbands have not left their emotional attachment to their parents, there is confusion in their married life. Many a wife has not left her emotional attachment to her parents and they are not united to their husbands. This is the tragedy.

The Lord is not first and there are parents in between, interfering in their life. Sometimes it is a job that is so important for you and comes between marriages. Anything other than God, it may be money, it may be being occupied with so many things, may be your children that come between you as husband and wife. That often happens in India. But it should never be. What is the answer to a happy marriage? Here is the first answer. Put the Lord first in every situation, walk in the light, judge yourself and you will find a binding force between you and your marriage partner that nothing can destroy.

This is part of the Basic Christian Teachings Series, a set of 72 short messages presented by Zac Poonen.  You can download the audio mp3 files or listen to Basic Christian Teachings by clicking here.