Over the next few weeks, I will be posting a series on a theology of marriage. As a clinician who is a Christian, what I believe the Bible teaches regarding marriage affects my processes in the counseling room. I trust you will enjoy this short series and feel free to share it with others.
Creation of Marriage and the Family
The book of Genesis in the Bible begins with creative works of God. Over the course of a literal, 24-hour day week, God spoke into existence all that exists. On the first day, God created the Earth, space, time and light. On the second day, he created the atmosphere and on the third day the dry land on earth and all of the plants. The creation on the fourth day brought forth the remainder of the celestial bodies and on the fifth day, the living creatures of the sea and air were created. On the sixth day of the creation week, God created all of the land animals including the pinnacle of his creative work, humankind.
Then God said, “Let us make man in our image, after our likeness. And let them have dominion over the fish of the sea and over the birds of the heavens and over the livestock and over all the earth and over every creeping thing that creeps on the earth.” So God created man in his own image, in the image of God he created him; male and female he created them (Genesis 1:26-27, English Standard Version).
It is important to recognize humankind as the result of the creative work of God for three reasons. First, as created beings, humans are accountable to their creator. This accountability is manifest primarily through the glorification of and obedience to God as stated by Solomon in the book of Ecclesiastes. “Fear God and keep his commandments, for this is the whole duty of man” (Ecclesiastes 12:13). Second, recognizing humankind as a creative work of God demands acceptance of all the things God reveals about man within the Bible. Third, as a created being, every human bears the image of God. A full treatment of what it means to bear God’s image is beyond the scope of this paper, but a relevant application of this would be that there is a certain amount of respect and honor that must be reciprocated between people due to the fact that they bear God’s image.
God created two initial image bearers (people), a man and woman who would be named Adam and Eve. He made them for each other and in doing so, he created the first family. The relationship between these two was to be an example for all who follow. “Therefore a man shall leave his father and his mother and hold fast to his wife, and they shall become one flesh” (Genesis 2:24). This statement of relationship was specifically tied to marriage by Jesus in Mark 10:6-9. These two people, their marriage and all of creation was appraised by God as being “very good” (Genesis 1:31).
The upcoming section will examine how mankind moved from “very good” to the position we are in today.
In counseling I offer the use of the Prepare and Enrich marriage and pre-marriage assessments as well as the use of Gottman Method Couples Therapy.