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Marriage Workbook

By Craig Caster

WEEK 1 - GOD’S PURPOSES FOR MARRIAGE

DAY 3 - GOD: THE CREATOR OF MARRIAGE

Legal marriage in the United States has traditionally been considered between one husband and one wife. This is due to the Christian perspective of those who founded this country, although currently that definition of marriage is under attack. In some other cultures, man’s wisdom has prevailed resulting in polygamy. Women are considered possessions to be dominated, and have few rights as wives and even as mothers of their own children. Today’s philosophy for most of the world is “we will stay together as long as you make me happy.” In fact, according to a Pew Research survey taken in 2010, “nearly four-in-ten Americans say marriage is becoming obsolete.”2

But contrary to all of these cultural norms, the true God, the creator of marriage has much to say about proper behaviors, attitudes, and expectations as husbands and wives. God alone holds the truth of how He wants a marriage to operate. He is the designer! The following Scripture defines God’s perspective, and the difference between God’s ways and man’s.

Isaiah 55:8–9, “For My thoughts are not your thoughts, Nor are your ways My ways,” says the Lord. “For as the heavens are higher than the earth, So are My ways higher than your ways, And My thoughts than your thoughts.”

Action Plan 1

Write out a prayer to God, if you have been following your own ways, confessing it to Him and asking His forgiveness. Next, write out a prayer committing yourself to learn His will, and to follow His way in your marriage.

God does not leave you guessing about His plan for marriage. Genesis 2:18 shows us that God definitely created marriage, and has a plan and purpose for it.

Genesis 2:18, “And the Lord God said it is not good for man to be alone. I will make him a helper comparable to him.”

First, I would like you to see who is communicating: “the Lord God said.” It was not Adam’s idea to get himself a wife, it was God’s. Second, notice that God said, “…it is not good for man to be alone.” Everything else in God’s creation was good (Gen. 1:4, 10, 12, 18, 21, 25), but man being alone was not good. This points directly to man’s incompleteness. Third, notice that God says, “I will make him a helper comparable to him.” “I will make” means God will create the woman according to His design, His plan, His thoughts, His ways, and man will have “a helper comparable to him.” One author helps drive this point home:

In observing man’s state as not good, He (God) was commenting on his incompleteness before the end of the sixth day because the woman, Adam’s counterpart, had not yet been created. The words of this verse emphasize man’s need for a companion, a helper, and an equal (meaning equal in value to God). He was incomplete without someone to complement him in fulfilling the task of filling, multiplying, and taking dominion over the earth.3 (Italics added)

The point here is that God created marriage to fulfill His will, not ours. Adam and Eve, through their relationship, would be the first couple to fulfill His design for marriage. Psalms 145:17 says that, “The Lord is righteous in all His ways, gracious in all His work.” So God created marriage as a good thing for us; we must embrace marriage as a gracious gift from Him. What many people fail to realize is that God created marriage for our benefit. God is righteous; it would be unrighteous if He gave you something as important as marriage without clear instructions and the power of the Holy Spirit to enable you to honor Him by succeeding.

Unfortunately, even many who call themselves believers are gradually turning away from the truth. A 1998 survey showed that fewer than 11 percent of Christians believed the Bible contained relevant or significant information about parenting.4 In marriage counseling, that statistic becomes very real; many who have been Christians for numerous years do not know the basic biblical principles of marriage. This reveals that either they do not have a high view of the Bible, or have not been told that the information they need is in the Bible. For whatever reason, they do not know that the Scriptures can lead to understanding, enlightenment and do reveal how a marriage is to function.

Self-Examination 1

Take time to pray, asking God to reveal your true attitude toward His Word. Next, write out a prayer for the faith to trust Him, to believe all that He is going to show you about marriage from the Word.

In truth, since your spouse is a gift from God, and He has greater love for them than you do, we must believe that He provides everything you need to know about tending to them. He wants your actions to glorify Him and bless the spouse He has given you.

A BETTER PERSPECTIVE ON GOD’S WORD

It is crucial to be convinced that God’s Word is the truth, and that He provides all the answers for godly living and successful marriage. We learned in our Day One study that we have God’s “divine power” and He has “given us all things that pertain to life and godliness” (2 Pet.1:3-4). God uses His Word, which is called “living and powerful” (Heb. 4:12), to change us. As Paul writes to Timothy, he is encouraging him to totally depend on the Word to lead and transform those in the church he was pastoring. We must have this same perspective; the Word of God is “profitable for” guiding and instructing our behavior (2 Tim. 3:16).

Read and meditate on the following Scripture:

2 Timothy 3:16-17, “All Scripture is given by inspiration of God, and is profitable for doctrine, for reproof, for correction, for instruction in righteousness, that the man of God may be complete, thoroughly equipped for every good work.”

Fact File

Doctrine - God’s divine instruction provides a comprehensive and complete body of divine truth necessary for life, godliness and family.

Reproof - God’s Word tells us what is wrong or sinful in belief and behavior.

Correction - God’s Word tells us how to restore something to its proper condition, setting upright something that has fallen, pointing to godly living.

Instruction in righteousness - Scripture provides positive training (“instruction” originally referred to training a child) in godly behavior, not merely rebuke and correction of wrong behavior (Acts 20:32; 1 Tim. 4:6; 1 Pet. 2:1-2).5

Thoroughly equipped for every good work - It is God’s intention for us to both understand His will and be empowered to follow through in obedience, by following the biblical principles in His Word.

Self-Examination 2

Write out how does this verse applies to learning, and how it could affect your marriage if you applied it:

Read 1 Thessalonians 2:13 and answer the questions below:

“For this reason we also thank God without ceasing, because when you received the Word of God which you heard from us, you welcomed it not as the word of men, but as it is in truth, the Word of God, which also effectively works in you who believe.

How does this verse describe a proper attitude toward the Word of God? Do you believe it is the truth? Do you welcome it? What is the attitude, process that leads to success?

According to James 1:22-25, there are right and wrong ways to receive the Word of God. Please identify the two different approaches, and the characteristics of each.

“But be doers of the Word, and not hearers only, deceiving yourselves. For if anyone is a hearer of the Word and not a doer, he is like a man observing his natural face in a mirror; for he observes himself, goes away, and immediately forgets what kind of man he was. But he who looks into the perfect law of liberty and continues in it, and is not a forgetful hearer but a doer of the work, this one will be blessed in what he does.”

What should be our attitude toward the Word of God?

What are the positive consequences when we obey the Word of God?

Read the following verses and explain what it says about the Word of God and you:

Joshua 1:8, “This Book of the Law shall not depart from your mouth, but you shall meditate in it day and night, that you may observe to do according to all that is written in it. For then you will make your way prosperous, and then you will have good success.”

Psalm 19:7–11, “The law of the Lord is perfect, converting the soul; The testimony of the Lord is sure, making wise the simple; The statutes of the Lord are right, rejoicing the heart; The commandment of the Lord is pure, enlightening the eyes; The fear of the Lord is clean, enduring forever; The judgments of the Lord are true and righteous altogether. More to be desired are they than gold, Yea, than much fine gold; Sweeter also than honey and the honeycomb. Moreover by them Your servant is warned, And in keeping them there is great reward.”

1 Peter 2:2–3, “…as newborn babes, desire the pure milk of the Word, that you may grow thereby, if indeed you have tasted that the Lord is gracious.”

Self-Examination 3

Are you confident at this point in your marriage journey that you know how to minister to your spouse according to God’s Word?

God knows your strengths and weaknesses, and promises to give you wisdom and strength if you seek and desire to do His will in your marriage. Write out a few thoughts, telling God how grateful you are for this promise.

Reflect on the following Scripture and compete the section below.

2 Corinthians 5:9, Paul says, “Therefore we make it our aim, whether present or absent, to be well pleasing to Him.”

Paul made it his aim to be well pleasing to God; he was very intentional about it. Write out a prayer below, telling God that your aim is to please Him by completing this workbook.

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2 Pew Research Social and Demographic Trends, Publication Date: 12/14/11.

The MacArthur Study Bible, John MacArthur, Jr., (Nashville, TN: Word Pub., 1997), Ge 2:18.

Churches Have Opportunity to Help Parents, Barna Group, January 15, 1998

The MacArthur Study Bible, ed. John MacArthur, 2 Ti 3:16.