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Marriage

Marriage is the union of a man and a woman as equal partners in society. The Bible teaches God’s expectations regarding marriage and also gives practical relationship advice and counsel on marriage.

5 things to know about marriage

It has been a time-honored custom throughout history, one whose importance has crossed both cultural and geographic borders. More than a civil contract with legal benefits, marriage also carries spiritual and emotional significance. Marriage is an essential part of God’s plan, and the relationship between husband and wife is a common theme in scriptures. 

Marriage is a relationship

The family unit starts with husband and wife and is recognized by all cultures; its history stretches back to the initial creation of man and woman. In fact, the first commandment God gave to Adam and Eve concerned their family relationship and their role as a couple (see Genesis 1:28). Marriage is an eternal concept, and the purposes of marriage have not changed. 

A Relationship of Love

The Bible is clear about this. It teaches, “Husbands, love your wives” (Ephesians 5:25) and “teach the young women . . . to love their husbands” (Titus 2:4). Love is probably the first thing that comes to mind when you think of marriage. And in many cultures, attraction and fondness are where this union begins. However, long-married couples (and studies) confirm that love within marriage has a caliber that is deep and selfless. It is this type of love that Jesus expects of His followers, and it is the virtue couples need most.

A Relationship of Sex

Yes, marriage is also an intimate, physical relationship. God made sex an integral part of being married (see Genesis 2:24), and He commands that sex be exclusive between husband and wife (see Exodus 20:14, 17). Sexual intimacy is an expression of love that brings happiness and unity into a marriage. Sex is also the power by which married couples can “multiply, and replenish the earth” (Genesis 1:28). As a fundamental physical and spiritual uniting force for spouses, sex is a blessing that can lead to the incomparable joy of children as part of the family. 

A Relationship of Selflessness

The Savior taught, “Greater love hath no man than this, that a man lay down his life for his friends” (John 15:13). While Jesus spoke of His sacrifice in the context of giving your life for a friend, the amazing power of “greater love” is similar for couples. As a spouse, you lay down your old life, sacrificing your individual wants and needs for your closest friend—your husband or wife. The more you are able to put your spouse first and keep your focus on the success of your partnership, the stronger your marriage will be.

Marriage is a commitment

Although most marriages are founded on love, there’s more to it than mere emotion. The fact is, falling in love is pretty easy; it’s staying in love that’s the challenge. That’s where commitment comes in. When married, a man and woman literally vow to respect their union “for better or for worse,” as tradition says. God considers marriage an agreement between a husband and wife as well as a solemn covenant with Him. He expects you to dedicate yourself to your relationship, recognizing its responsibilities, duties, and loyalties. Fortunately, the scriptures help teach us how.

Be Patient

Marriage is hard work. But remembering that it’s founded on love helps give us direction. “Above all things have fervent charity among yourselves,” counsels Peter in the New Testament, “for charity shall cover the multitude of sins” (1 Peter 4:8). You’ll make mistakes. Your spouse will, too. Be patient with and considerate of each other. Take on the hard times in your partnership “with longsuffering, forbearing one another in love; endeavouring to keep the unity of the Spirit in the bond of peace” (Ephesians 4:2–3).

Be Kind

Being married means you’ll see every side of your spouse: the good, the bad, the flaws and imperfections. Just remember, your faults are on display, too. “Let every [one] be swift to hear, slow to speak, slow to wrath” (James 1:19). Help build your partner’s confidence. Give strength to his or her weaknesses. Give compliments instead of criticism. “Be ye kind one to another, tenderhearted, forgiving one another, even as God for Christ’s sake hath forgiven you” (Ephesians 4:32).

Be a Refuge

Life in general is hard. Marriage offers the blessing of having someone in your corner. Entrust your feelings and worries to your spouse, and be welcoming also when he or she shares thoughts and fears with you. Be loyal. Be tender. Be true to your loved one’s confidences.

Be Joyful

The world implies that our spouse should make us happy. When you think about it, that’s a lot of pressure on a person. The truth is, simply being married doesn’t make you happy. Each person creates happiness in marriage. So take time to talk, to date, to laugh, to have fun. “Rejoice with the wife [or husband] of thy youth” (Proverbs 5:18) and “live joyfully with the [spouse] whom thou lovest all the days of [thy] life” (Ecclesiastes 9:9).

Marriage is a reflection of your values

In business, often two companies merge to complement common interests, to strengthen a position, and to fulfill a larger vision and mission. The same often holds true when two people get married.

Before Marriage

Before you marry, it’s important to think about values that define who you are. Will your potential spouse complement them? Having similar standards and views regarding faith, how to raise children, extended family, money management, and life priorities will strengthen a union, while competing or conflicting values can cause challenges and keep a couple from truly working together. 

After Marriage

After you marry, remember to talk about what’s most important to you both—and let those values guide you. When you have a spouse with the same long-term goals, you “[find] a good thing, and [obtain] favour of the Lord” (Proverbs 18:22).

Marriage is widely beneficial

Although functionally marriage is the union of a man and a woman, it fulfills more than physical and emotional needs or desires. This important institution benefits your spirit, your well-being, and society as a whole.

Marriage Benefits Your Spirit

“It is not good that the man should be alone” (Genesis 2:18), said God after creating Adam. Your greatest opportunity for growth, for support, and for happiness is with another person. God made marriage the ultimate companionship between two souls. As the Apostle Paul stated in the Bible, “Neither is the man without the woman, neither the woman without the man” (1 Corinthians 11:11). In fact, God intends this partnership to last beyond death—to unite husband and wife for eternity.

Marriage Benefits Your Well-Being

Social scientists have repeatedly reported the positive effects of marriage on people’s lives. A study of 18 countries notes, “People who are married not only have higher incomes and enjoy greater emotional support, they tend to be healthier . . . and live longer than unmarried ones.” 

Marriage Benefits Society

From a purely practical view, marriage is the ideal way to build and support a community. It is a remarkably efficient way to share work and resources. It helps ensure the welfare of adults and children without unduly burdening others. It establishes definable rights and obligations between a married couple, their children, and their in-laws. And the family is a natural conduit for learning and support that self-sustains through generations.

Marriage is ordained of God

Marriage is important to God. God instituted the husband-wife relationship as an equal partnership from the very beginning with Adam and Eve (see Genesis 2:24). So why is this relationship so crucial?

Marriage is Essential to God’s Plan

Your life here on earth has a purpose; you are here as part of God’s plan. Before any of us were born, we existed in heaven as spirits. To give us an opportunity to grow and reach a greater potential, God created this earth where we would need physical bodies to live. Marriage between a man and a woman provides not only the God-sanctioned means to bring about children, but the spiritual and societal means to care for them. Because God loves His children, He desires each one of us to receive love, support, and care while we experience mortality. This happens best through marriage.

Marriage Can Last Forever

Your life on earth is not the beginning or the end of your existence. After you die, your spirit will be reunited with God—and reunited with the people you love, including your spouse. Since God designed marriage as a way for people to be together now, it makes sense that He would want this loving relationship to continue after death. He recognizes society’s civil marriages, and He offers the opportunity for these unions to last for eternity. This eternal union is possible when couples and families are sealed in holy temples, where those with authority from God fulfill Jesus’s promise that “whatsoever thou shalt bind on earth shall be bound in heaven” (Matthew 16:19).

The Blessings of Marriage Can Still Come

For a variety of reasons, not all of God’s children are able to marry in this life. Or perhaps you have been married but the relationship ended, leaving you to manage alone what two were meant to sustain. Not all children are born to a married mother and father, and not all who are married are able to have children.

However, God loves every one of His children. Through the Atonement of Jesus Christ, God has anticipated and will compensate for every loss and deprivation (see Revelation 7:17) we experience in this life. When you turn to Him, you will be rewarded with happiness and peace now and after death. No one is predestined to receive less than all that the Father intends for His children. And that means that those who seek to follow God and live good lives and who want to marry or have children but do not have that opportunity in this life will have it in the next.

Learn more about marriage by studying the verses from this article.

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