Choosing who you marry is one of the most important decisions of your life. It is a decision that deserves careful consideration, prayer, and wise counsel. What does the Bible say about relationships?
First of all, do not pressure anyone against being single! There is nothing wrong with being single. In fact, the Bible suggests that it is better to be single. You can read Paul the Apostle's words on purity, marriage, and singleness here: 1 Corinthians 7
See also Jesus’ words on divorce and singleness: Matthew 19:3-12
Likewise, do not forbid marriage. The Bible says, “He who finds a wife finds a good thing, And obtains favor from the LORD.” (Proverbs 18:22). It is one thing to forbid or postpone an unwise marriage, but if you forbid all marriage, then you might be in danger of having departed from the faith (1 Timothy 4:1-3).
Marriage is hard work! Respect is perhaps one of the most important, yet least understood foundations for a successful marriage. You can read Paul the Apostle's words on love and respect here: Ephesians 5:22-33
Be a friend to your spouse: “His mouth is most sweet, Yes, he is altogether lovely. This is my beloved, And this is my friend, O daughters of Jerusalem!” (Song of Solomon 5:16).
Sex between a married couple is a good thing. It can truly be a beautiful expression of love when the husband and wife are more concerned about each other rather than their own wants and desires. See (1 Corinthians 7:3-5).
However, sex outside of marriage is sin. If you call yourself a Christian, yet you have no desire to abstain from sexual sin, then you are defrauding the one you love and you are rejecting God:
“...each of you should know how to possess his own vessel in sanctification and honor, not in passion of lust, like the Gentiles who do not know God; that no one should take advantage of and defraud his brother in this matter, because the Lord is the avenger of all such, as we also forewarned you and testified. For God did not call us to uncleanness, but in holiness. Therefore he who rejects this does not reject man, but God, who has also given us His Holy Spirit” (1 Thessalonians 4:4-8).
See also 1 Corinthians 6:18-20.
Perhaps you are thinking “I want to abstain from sexual sin but the temptation is too great”. But that is not true. God has provided a way for you to bear the temptation, if you are walking with Him:
“No temptation has overtaken you except such as is common to man; but God is faithful, who will not allow you to be tempted beyond what you are able, but with the temptation will also make the way of escape, that you may be able to bear it.” (1 Corinthians 10:13).
See also Galatians 5:16 and Romans 12:2.
What does the Bible say about divorce?
“But I say to you that whoever divorces his wife for any reason except sexual immorality causes her to commit adultery; and whoever marries a woman who is divorced commits adultery.” (Matthew 5:32)
God hates divorce (Malachi 2:15-16). There are many passages in the Bible encouraging us to try to remain with our spouses (1 Corinthians 7:10-16) and make peace with them (Romans 12:17-21). But what if you are in an abusive relationship? You must not ignore abuse (Matthew 18:15-17). And if your spouse is violent, then you must call the police (Romans 13:1-2), especially if children are involved (Matthew 18:6, Proverbs 31:8). Let this be a warning to those who are single to avoid getting into a relationship with an angry or controlling person (Proverbs 22:24-25, Proverbs 21:9). If you are in an abusive relationship, I highly recommend you read James Dobson's book "Love Must Be Tough".
Here are my top recommended resources on relationships:
Love And Respect - Respect is of vital importance (Ephesians 5:33). If there was only one resource I could recommend to couples, this would be it.
Abstaining from Sexual Sin - sermon by John MacArthur
Love Must Be Tough - It is not loving to compromise on certain things. By James Dobson
Dateable: Are You? Are They? - I especially recommend this book for people who are too young to start dating. You don’t want to get involved with someone when the possibility of marriage is ridiculously far off (don’t “fling” with people or you may live to regret it.)
Boundaries in Dating - one of the better books on dating, in my opinion