An International Center for Fellowship and Learning

Marriage: Foundations & Principles – Lesson 1: What Is Marriage?

Scripture Verse: Genesis 2:18-25.


In its perfect and purest form, marriage is the uniting of two souls into one; it’s two people becoming together what they can never be alone. This unity is a miraculous, spiritual experience beginning with the words “I do” and ending with the death of a husband or wife. Nothing exists on earth comparable to the beauty and joy of marriage. But adjectives describing the benefits and results of marriage do not provide an adequate definition,

Clearly and simply defined, marriage is a covenant of companionship. In marriage, two people covenant with God and one another to be lifelong companions, fulfilling one another’s spiritual, mental, emotional, physical, and sexual needs.

God deliberately created man with a need for community. Alone, a man is incomplete; by himself, a deep longing wells up for companion ship. Scripture testifies to this when God said in Genesis 2:18, “It is not good that the man should be alone.” We were created for community and companionship. And while humans thrive living in community with many others, the surest evidence of our need for companionship lies in the institution of marriage.

The foundation of society rests on the delicate shoulders of marriage. Diminish the necessity and importance of marriage and society will erode as easily as a sandcastle in the rising tide. Reinforce the necessity and importance of biblical marriage and society will remain virtually timeless and undaunted.

We need to understand marriage because it not only changes our society and world, it changes us. Unlike any other earthly institution, marriage reveals who and what we are, what we are becoming, and what we must do to please the Lord.

Lesson Questions:

  1. For what reasons does Scripture say marriage was created? Genesis 2:18-25; 1:28.
    Note: Verse 18 sums up the key reason for marriage: “It is not good that the man should be alone.” Intimate companionship is the reason God created marriage.
  2. Discuss the significance of the woman being taken from the man’s side and how it relates to the man and woman becoming one flesh.
    Note: If this supernatural operation had never taken place, Adam would not have been able to say, ”This is now bone of my bones, and flesh of my flesh.” Because Eve was taken directly from Adam’s side, husbands and wives can be one flesh.
  3. Should the marriage relationship be viewed as the man and woman completing one another spiritually, mentally, emotionally, and physically? Genesis 2:18; Ephesians 5:28-32.
    Note: In the one flesh relationship, the husband and wife compliment one another’s strengths and weaknesses, enabling each to grow in ways they wouldn’t be able to grow individually.
  4. Why is it important to recognize marriage as a covenant, rather than a revocable agreement? Matthew 19:3-6; Genesis 2:24; Romans 7:1-3.
  5. Why is it dangerous to believe marriage is a “50-50” agreement? Ephesians 5:22,25; I Peter 3:1,7; I Corinthians 10:31.
    Note: Marriage is not a “50-50” agreement, with both partners making up half of the relationship. Correctly put, marriage is a “100-0” agreement, with both partners responsible to commit everything, regardless of their spouse’s commitment or response. Our obligation and ability to serve faithfully as a husband or wife doesn’t depend on our spouse. It depends only on our reliance upon Jesus Christ.
  6. Genesis 2:24 says a man must leave his father and mother. What does this mean and how is it accurately applied? Exodus 20:12; 18:13-22; Mark 7:9-13.
  7. How do we reconcile Paul’s statement about marriage in I Corinthians 7:8-9, 38 with the narrative in Genesis 1:28 and 2:18-24?