He created them male and female.
—Genesis 5:2

A successful marriage requires unconditional loyalty. I know the subject of divorce is a touchy one, but as we look at the requirements of a strong marriage, we need to understand what Jesus says about it. In Matthew 19:3-6, the Pharisees said to Jesus, “Is it lawful for a man to divorce his wife for any reason at all?” Jesus answered, “Have you not read that He who created them from the beginning made them male and female, and said, ‘For this reason a man shall leave his father and mother and be joined to his wife, and the two shall become one flesh’? So they are no longer two, but one flesh. What therefore God has joined together, let no man separate.”

Jesus says, if you want to know what God thinks about marriage, look at Genesis 2:24. That verse says, “A man shall leave his father and mother.” And in Genesis 5:2 we learn, “He created them male and female.” A lot of people use that verse as a case against homosexuality. Of course, the Bible does speak against homosexuality. But that is not the major significance of this particular passage. What is important about this passage is not the gender; it’s the number. Think about it: Jesus is talking about divorce, so why would He say God made the first couple male and female? His point is not gender; it’s number. He did not say God made males and females–He says God made one man for one woman. God made Adam and Eve–He didn’t make Adam and Eve, and Ted and Janet, and Sarah and Bill. In other words, there were no spares in the Garden. Adam was going to have to work things out with Eve when they ran into difficulty, because there were no spares out there. It was either Eve or no one.

By the way, it’s amazing what happens when you remind people that God’s Word says if they divorce for any reason except adultery and desertion, then they cannot get remarried. People come to me and say, “I am miserable in my marriage. I’ve got to get out.” And I say, “Well, unless adultery or desertion is involved, God’s Word says if you leave, you cannot marry anybody else.” When they are faced with the prospect of a lifetime of singleness, suddenly their mate does not seem quite so bad. Maybe the situation isn’t quite that desperate. God created marriage as a permanent, unbreakable bond. And when you go into a marriage understanding that divorce is not an option, you will learn how to get along with each other. If people go into marriage thinking there’s an out to the marriage, eventually they will take that out. But if you go into marriage understanding you are making a lifetime commitment to that person and to God, it changes your whole attitude toward marriage. You need to have unconditional loyalty in order to build a strong marriage relationship.

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Today’s devotion is excerpted from “Marriage: Vacate or Renovate?” by Dr. Robert Jeffress, 2009.

Scripture taken from the NEW AMERICAN STANDARD BIBLE®, Copyright © 1960,1962,1963,1968,1971,1972,1973,1975,1977,1995 by The Lockman Foundation. Used by permission.