What does the Assemblies of God teach concerning the biblical view of marriage?
In an age when family values are under severe attack and the traditional foundation of the family seems to be crumbling, the Assemblies of God recognizes the need for strong teaching on the biblical view of marriage and the family.
Marriage is God-ordained. “The Creator made them male and female, and said, ‘For this reason a man will leave his father and mother and be united to his wife, and the two will become one flesh’” (Matthew 19:4,5). God’s design for marriage goes back to mankind’s beginning. The family, as God’s means of propagating His creation, grows out of this primary human relationship.
The marriage relationship encompasses the deepest unity of man and woman in its social and physical expressions. The first woman was declared to be a suitable helper for the man (Genesis 2:18), the perfect complement (Genesis 2:23). God intended them to share both blessings and responsibilities. Mutual esteem and self-giving love strengthen the marriage relationship. God intended this physical, emotional, intellectual, and spiritual union to be focused on one partner only.
Marriage is to be an exclusive relationship, a lifelong faithful union with one’s spouse. “What God has joined together, let man not separate” (Matthew 19:6). The Old Testament recognized the existence of polygamy (marriage to multiple partners), but still declared that monogamy (marriage to one partner) was the ideal (Psalms 128:3, Proverbs 5:18; 31:10-29; Ecclesiastes 9:9). “Lifelong” means monogamy and sexual fidelity until the death of one partner. Sexual expression with more than one partner violates the holiness of biblical marriage and thus is sin in God’s sight.
Marriage is a covenant, a solemn binding agreement made before God and man. The religious ceremony of the wedding before church and community emphasizes that marriage is more than a legal agreement between two individuals. The church has a responsibility to support and nurture the marriage that has been affirmed by public vows.
Ideally, the relationship between husband and wife should parallel the relationship between Christ and the Church (Ephesians 5:23-30). The husband should love his wife “as Christ loved the church and gave himself up for her” (Ephesians 5:25). The wife should submit to her husband as the Church should submit to the Lord (Ephesians 5:22-24). But it is a misreading of Scripture, however, to conclude that the husband can become dictatorial. The entire passage is introduced by the admonition, “Submit to one another out of reverence for Christ” (Ephesians 5:21). It is only after each spouse submits one to another from a heart of love that the head/submission relationship will work. The husband has special responsibility for the spiritual leadership and welfare of the wife and family (Psalms 78:5-8, Ephesians 5:23). While the woman has responsibility as a parent, God has called the husband to be the leader in the home. The woman is not inferior to the man. Both have full dignity and equal standing before God. In homes where the father is not a Christian or refuses to provide spiritual leadership, it is right for the mother to assume this responsibility. Strong spiritual training is essential for children to develop spiritually (Proverbs 22:6).
A happy and complete marriage is realized as both partners make Christ the center of their marriage relationship. With Christ as the head, the marriage has an excellent chance to succeed.