God saw that is was not good for man to be alone. Genesis 2:18. Therefore, He established the marriage institution and enunciated the law of marriage for all the children of Adam to the close of time. God Himself gave Adam one wife as a companion. "He ordained that men and women should be united in holy wedlock, to rear families whose members, crowned with honor, should be recognized as members of the family above." Ministry of Healing, p. 356. According to the plan of God, in the marriage relationship, every man should consider his wife as his second self, "bone of his bones and flesh of his flesh." Genesis 2:18, 23, 24; Mark 10:6-8; Ephesians 5:28, 29; Colossians 3:19.
Although it was degraded by sin, this divine institution must be restored to its original condition among God's people before the second coming of Jesus. Acts 3:20, 21; Mark 10:5-9.
When marriage is conducted according to the will of God:
a. It guards the moral purity of men and women and ensures the happiness of mankind. Hebrews 13:4; 1 Corinthians 7:2-9; Psalm 128:1-6; Proverbs 5:18; 31:10-31.
b. It provides for man's social needs. Genesis 2:18.
c. It elevates the physical, the intellectual, and the moral nature of the human beings. Proverbs 18:22; 19:14; 1 Peter 3:1, 7.
d. It ensures the survival and multiplication of the human race in a moral and healthy manner. Genesis 1:27, 28.
It has been God's purpose from the very beginning that the marriage vow should bind both man and woman to each other by indissoluble ties "for life." Matthew 19:6; Mark 10:11, 12; Luke 16:18. Therefore, divorce is not in harmony with the will of God. Malachi 2:14-16. In case of separation, both are to remain single until the death of the other partner or until they are reconciled to each other. Romans 7:1-3; 1 Corinthians 7:10-15, 39. (Matthew 5:32 and 19:9 are explained in separate publications.
Christians should be united in marriage only with those of like faith. Marriage with an unbeliever (non-member) is a serious sin and a separation from Christ. Exodus 34:12, 16; Deuteronomy 7:3, 4; Nehemiah 13:23-27; 2 Corinthians 6:14.
"As a child of God, a subject of Christ's kingdom, the purchase of His blood, how can you connect yourself with one who does not acknowledge His claims, who is not controlled by His Spirit? The commands I have quoted are not the word of man, but of God. Though the companion of your choice were in all other respects worthy (which he is not), yet he has not accepted the truth for this time; he is an unbeliever, and you are forbidden of heaven to unite yourself with him. You cannot, without peril to your soul, disregard this divine injunction." —Testimonies, vol. 5, pp. 364, 365.
"In the youthful mind, marriage is clothed with romance, and it is difficult to divest it of this feature, with which imagination covers it, and to impress the mind with a sense of the weighty responsibilities involved in the marriage vow. This vow links the destinies of the two individuals with bonds which nought but the hand of death should sever."—Testimonies, vol. 4, pp. 506, 507.
Although polygamy was tolerated in the Old Testament times contrary to God's original purpose, only monogamous marriages are accepted under the Christian Dispensation. 1 Corinthians 7:2; Ephesians 5:23, 33; Matthew 19:4-6; Malachi 2:15.
"Polygamy was practiced at an early date. It was one of the sins that brought the wrath of God upon the antediluvian world."—Patriarchs and Prophets, p. 338.
The marriage relationship represents the union that exists between Christ and His church. Isaiah 54:4, 5; Jeremiah 3:14; Ephesians 5:24-28; Hosea 2:19, 20.
"God celebrated the first marriage. Thus the institution has for its originator the Creator of the universe. 'Marriage is honorable' (Hebrews 13:4); it was one of the first gifts of God to man, and it is one of the two institutions that, after the Fall, Adam brought with him beyond the gates of Paradise. When the divine principles are recognized and obeyed in this relation, marriage is a blessing; it guards the purity and happiness of the race, it provides for man's social needs, it elevates the physical, the intellectual, and the moral nature." —Patriarchs and Prophets, p. 46.
"The family tie is the closest, the most tender and sacred, of any on earth. It was designed to be a blessing to mankind. And it is a blessing wherever the marriage covenant is entered into intelligently, in the fear of God, and with due consideration for its responsibilities."—The Ministry of Healing, pp. 356, 357.
"Before assuming the responsibilities involved in marriage, young men and young women should have such an experience in practical life as will prepare them for its duties and its burdens. Early marriages are not to be encouraged. A relation so important as marriage and so far‑reaching in its results should not be entered upon hastily, without sufficient preparation, and before the mental and physical powers are well developed.
"The parties may not have worldly wealth, but they should have the far greater blessing of health. And in most cases there should not be a great disparity in age. A neglect of this rule may result in seriously impairing the health of the younger. And often the children are robbed of physical and mental strength. They cannot receive from an aged parent the care and companionship which their young lives demand, and they may be deprived by death of the father or the mother at the very time when love and guidance are most needed.
"It is only in Christ that a marriage alliance can be safely formed. Human love should draw its closest bonds from divine love. Only where Christ reigns can there be deep, true, unselfish affection."—The Ministry of Healing, p. 358.
"Though difficulties, perplexities, and discouragements may arise, let neither husband nor wife harbor the thought that their union is a mistake or a disappointment. Determine to be all that it is possible to be to each other. Continue the early attentions. In every way encourage each other in fighting the battles of life. Study to advance the happiness of each other. Let there be mutual love, mutual forbearance. Then marriage, instead of being the end of love, will be as it were the very beginning of love. The warmth of true friendship, the love that binds heart to heart, is a foretaste of the joys of heaven.
Purity and Happiness
"To avoid fornication, let every man have his own wife, and let every woman have her own husband." 1 Corinthians 7:1.
"Marriage is a blessing; it guards the purity and happiness of the [human] race." —Patriarchs and Prophets, p. 46.
"Marriage is honourable in all, and the bed undefiled: but whoremongers and adulterers God will judge." Hebrews 13:4.
Every Christian should carefully consider the guidelines contained in the Bible and in the Testimonies. 1 Corinthians 6:18; 7:1-13, 27, 28, 39; Colossians 3:18, 19.
"Around every family there is a sacred circle that should be kept unbroken. Within this circle no other person has a right to come. Let not the husband or the wife permit another to share the confidences that belong solely to themselves."—The Ministry of Healing, pp. 360, 361.
"Avoid the first approach to danger. The soul's interests cannot be trifled with. Your capital is your character. Cherish it as you would a golden treasure. Moral purity, self-respect, a strong power of resistance, must be firmly and constantly cherished. There should not be one departure from reserve; one act of familiarity, one indiscretion, may jeopardize the soul in opening the door to temptation, and the power of resistance becomes weakened."—Adventist Home, p. 404.
"How careful should the husband and father be to maintain his loyalty to his marriage vows! . . . Here is where many are delinquent. Their heart imaginings are not of the pure, holy character which God requires. . . . To married men I am instructed to say, It is to your wives, the mothers of your children, that your respect and affection are due."—Ibid., pp. 336, 337.
"If [our sisters] occupy this position [of humbleness, modesty, reserve], they will not be burdened with undue attention from gentlemen in the church and out. All will feel that there is a sacred circle of purity around around these God-fearing women. . . ."— Ibid., p. 334.
"Many parents do not obtain the knowledge that they should in the married life. They are not guarded lest Satan take advantage of them and control their minds and their lives. They do not see that God requires them to control their married lives from any excesses. But very few feel it to be a religious duty to govern their passions. They have united themselves in marriage to the object of their choice, and therefore reason that marriage sanctifies the indulgence of the baser passions. Even men and women professing godliness give loose rein to their lustful passions, and have no thought that God holds them accountable for the expenditure of vital energy, which weakens their hold on life and enervates the entire system."—Testimonies, vol. 2, p. 472.
"Those professing to be Christians . . . should duly consider the result of every privilege of the marriage relation, and sanctified principle should be the basis of every action. In very many cases the parents . . . have abused their marriage privileges, and by indulgence have strengthened their animal passions. It is carrying that which is lawful to excess that makes it a grievous sin." —The Adventist Home, p. 122.
"By accepting Christ as His personal Saviour, man is brought into the same close relation to God, and enjoys His special favor as does His own beloved Son. He is honored and glorified and intimately associated with God, his life being hid with Christ in God. O what love, what wondrous love! This is my teaching of moral purity."—Education, p. 255.
"The grace of Christ, and this alone, can make [the marriage] institution what God designed it should be—an agent for the blessing and uplifting of humanity. And thus the families of earth, in their unity and peace and love, may represent the family of heaven."—Thoughts From the Mount of Blessing, p. 65.
All immoral sexual practices, such as homosexuality, lesbianism, bestiality, and incest are condemned in the word of God as an abomination. Romans 1:26, 27; 1 Corinthians 6:9, 10; Leviticus 18:6–24; Jude 7.