Christians believe God instituted marriage between Adam and Eve but often fall to secular views on marriage. Secular refers to attitudes, activities, or other things without a religious or spiritual basis. Secular views such as "should a woman feed her husband or the children first?" The implications are the wife must choose one over the other, the husband does not participate in the daily family's well-being, and possibly the family does not eat together. Look at the undue pressure added to the wife. Where is the Biblical premises? How does this ideology serve the purposes of Christian marriage?
The Christian marriage's foundation is the belief that God instituted marriage through Adam and Eve. God did not get Adam's permission but created a woman after Adam named the animals, and no suitable mate for found for Adam. Adam accepted who God brought to him and called her woman. In marriage ceremonies, one of the popular scriptures is Adam's response to God: "This is now bone of my bones and flesh of my flesh, she shall be called woman, for she was taken out of man" (Genesis 2:21-24).
The word "religious" has taken a hit because many Christians do not understand it. To be religious simply means pious, godly, loving, reverencing the Supreme Being, and obeying His precepts (KJV dictionary). Many Christians prefer spiritual over religious. However, those who married under the Christian faith are practicing religion. Honoring the vows taken is religious. Reading the Bible daily or consistently is religious. Attending church regularly is religious. Fellowshipping with other believers is religious. These are good religious practices and nothing to denounce or be ashamed of. So when you hear the old spiritual song, "Have You Gotten Good Religion?" you can definitively say, "Certainly, Lord!"
Another secular view that is very dangerous to a man's mental health is "happy wife, happy life." For many, the belief is the only way a man can expect to be happy within his marriage is to subject himself to his wife's every desire. It implies that she cannot self-regulate or his emotions are tied to her feelings and actions. Abraham submitted to his wife's desire to produce a child with her maidservant. He listened to Sara disregarding God's promise. All appeared well. However, Sara's actions brought discord and hurt (Genesis 16: 1-16; 17:18-26; 21:1-21). Spouses must communicate needs and desires but make sure those desires are healthy, realistic, and under God's authority.
In God's Image
"He married up" and "I'm the prize" also reflect a worldly perspective that demeans a person's value. What is "marrying up" based on scripturally? What measurements are used to determine who the prize is? Why would a spouse look at the other spouse as "the one I married down" or "the loser"? This perspective divides and opens the door for disharmony. It tears down instead of building up. Jesus taught, "He (Jesus) said to them, 'Have you not read that He who first made them first made them man and woman? It says, For this reason, a man will leave his father and mother and will live with his wife. The two will become one. So they are no longer two but one. Let no man divide what God has put together Matthew 19:1-12). To honor God, we must stay in the mindset of each man and woman were created by God. Each spouse is created with purpose, by His love, and eqiupped to complete God's will.
Marriage is a process. It is not complete after the words "I do" but is initiated by the commitment given at the wedding. Each person comes to the marriage incomplete, imperfect, with insecurities and uncertainties. From those imperfections, we will make mistakes and fall short of God's desire. However, Christ promises to send the Helper, the Holy Spirit. The Holy Spirit will guide and teach if we allow the space for guidance, corrections, convictions, and training in righteousness.
To fulfill God's purposes for marriage, we must follow God's plan. We will come across many ideas and messages as we live in this world. Before we accept any concepts, test them against the Bible. If possible, consult with seasoned and Bible-believing couples. Although there are no marriages in heaven, we will have to give an account of all we were entrusted with.
Let us not allow secular views to divide or have a hostile perspective against one another. Secular views have no merit in Christian marriages where we are commanded to love and respect one another.
To read about God's plan and marriage purposes, visit the links.