Man and Woman (part 1)

· author: Thomas · reading time: ca. 7 min.

In Christianity, (monogamous) marriage is not simply a commandment. The individual stages of life, such as engagement and marriage, are symbolic of the path to a relationship with God. Christian faith is about surrendering oneself to God permanently.

This article is part of the series “Man and Woman”. Currently, there is one other article on this topic: Man and Woman (part 2).

As someone who already has a child without having been married, I can hardly serve as a role model when it comes to the question of how Christians relate to marriage. I have thought long and hard about whether I could write anything useful at all on this subject.

I could explain the practical and emotional challenges that parents face when they do not live permanently with their children in the same household. However, I also know Christians who started out in their marriage with the best of intentions but later failed.

In any case, these are examples of how God nevertheless accepts us again when we confess our failures to Him. The fact that our God is so gracious would certainly be worth a separate article. However, it is perhaps interesting to first explain why we Christians hold on to the ideal of marriage, even though we obviously do not always succeed in living up to it.

In this article, I want to draw a comparison of how the Christian faith is deeply intertwined with the idea of (monogamous) marriage. Marriage is not simply a religious prescription, but also in its essence also reflects the faith in God as well as His nature, as I will show with some examples.


Nowadays, when a person is born, they are separated from God at first. From the biblical point of view, the unconditional, direct connection with God existed only during the early days when Adam and Eve were still living in paradise and God spoke directly to them.

In today’s “broken” world, where people have turned away from God, everyone is on their own for the time being. It is the same when it comes to relationships: When a person comes into the world, according to our cultural understanding, they are not yet engaged or married.

Only after some time of growing up does a young person realize that he or she lacks a counterpart. For most people, a search for a suitable partner then begins. In the process, we look around here and there, perhaps get advice from those around us, but we have not yet made a firm decision for a particular person.

It’s the same with faith: when we realize that we are without a proper foundation in worldly life, we start looking for a higher being. Perhaps we have already grown up in an environment with a certain worldview, or we go on a religious search for meaning in which we want to find a worldview that gives us a reliable foundation.

Traditionally, “virgin” refers to a person who has not yet become involved with another person, especially physically. In today’s society, this applies to very few people. Unfortunately, this reflects all too well how God sees people in the world.

From a Christian perspective, everyone has made mistakes before God, whether it has been a physical connection outside of marriage, a lie, or something else. The saying “let the sinless one cast the first stone” from the well-known scene with the adulteress has been handed down from Jesus.

(Further reading: John 8:1-11)


When we get engaged, a concrete decision is made. After a more or less long period of searching, we are finally given a person with whom we are compatible, and we agree to spend the rest of our lives with this person.

This decision is mutual, it must also be accepted by the other person. Applied to God: First of all, God also has to accept us as we are, with our faults, and fortunately he does so – if we also accept his grace and admit our faults to him.

For engagement, there is no specific rule on exactly how it must happen. The essential point is that two people agree to get married. From a Protestant perspective, this reflects the principle of “sola fide”, which emphasizes that even with God, what matters is personal faith, not a formal ceremony.

When we get engaged, we commit ourselves to one specific person we want to marry. It is the same when we have found God: We make a decision for Him in which we profess our commitment to Him. Thus, as Christians, we believe in the hope that one specific person, Jesus Christ, will give us eternal life in heaven.

As the Apostle Paul explains in his letters, Christians receive the Holy Spirit as a “pledge” of their coming salvation. Similarly, it is still common today for a ring to be presented at the engagement as a symbol for the decision, to be worn until the wedding.

The engagement is (in most cases) a firm decision to actually get married. The engagement period is no longer used to evaluate the potential of the relationship, but rather to strengthen the bond with each other and to prepare together for the decided wedding.

If the engagement fails shortly before the wedding, it is seen as a tragic event that no one wishes for those involved. Thus, the decision to believe in Jesus Christ is also a firm decision to really go through life with him to the end.

Engagement period

The time between the engagement and the wedding is not yet the marriage itself. Even though both partners have decided for each other, they are not yet actually in a marriage. Likewise, as believing Christians, we are still here on earth and not yet with God in heaven.

We do not yet experience all the joy of heaven, but we can already guess what that will be like. The engagement period is also a time of anticipation. While we can already spend time with our partner and enjoy it, we long to finally be with them completely.

In a way, however, the engagement also marks the beginning of the real test. Although both partners have already made a firm decision for each other, new difficulties may now become apparent that need to be overcome. Perhaps doubts are also raised about the decision for the partner or even about the faith.

Thus, the engagement period is an opportunity to get to know and understand the partner with his or her peculiarities better. Metaphorically speaking, in our lives as Christians we are also still getting to know God better, for example by reading the Bible, and we are aligning ourselves with Him, just as we are aligning ourselves with our partner.

While as Christians we already have the assurance of going to heaven, we are still exposed to temptations to make mistakes in this world. Similarly, there are certain temptations during the engagement period, especially regarding physical closeness.


The wedding marks the beginning of marriage. Finally, the time has come: now the promise made at the engagement is fulfilled. Those who have been engaged until now come together as spouses for the first time. The wedding is usually associated with a celebration that expresses the great joy of it.

We also find weddings described in the Bible: In his Gospel, the apostle John reports the miracle of Jesus turning the water in the containers into wine at a wedding in the city of Cana. It is probably no coincidence that it is the first miracle Jesus performs. (Further reading: John 2:1-12)

Jesus himself says at the wedding that his time has not yet come. Nevertheless he lets himself be persuaded to create the wine, so that the guests can celebrate the wedding appropriately. I understand this also as a sign that God sees a special meaning in the event of the wedding.

On the level of faith, too, there is an event in which God’s promise to us is redeemed: With the resurrection, all who have died come back to life. As Christians, we believe that we will then be allowed to join God in heaven to spend eternity with Him. This will also be an event full of joy.


Eternal life in heaven is a permanent state – as the name implies, it is for eternity. In the same way, marriage, in terms of life here on earth, is also permanent. Whoever enters into a marriage does not do so with the intention of ending it again. This is how Jesus himself put it: “What therefore God has joined together, let not man separate.” (Further reading: Matthew 19:1-12)

In heaven, all our tears will be wiped away and we will be able to live in lasting bliss with God. We will have peace forever. Even if some things still seem unclear in life here on earth, in heaven we will be able to see God face to face and fully understand things.

Thus, in marriage, spouses may also finally enjoy each other completely. The family, as a place of retreat, can become a consolation for many difficulties in the world. The spouses also become more and more intimate with each other in the course of their marriage and are usually the people who know each other best.

While in heaven no one can separate us from God anymore, there are still challenges in a marriage between two people, of course, which may be more or less large. Therefore, the second part of this series of articles will be a bit more practical about the interaction between husband and wife in marriage.