Is Marriage Only Between A Man And A Woman?

We live in a day and culture where marriage is something that it never used to be. What used to be something guarded and sacred is now unprotected and ungodly. Even the definition of marriage is up for grabs for whatever seems to be the most popular in any given year or decade. Most of our culture would prefer not to even get married and just live together. When subjects like these tend to spiral out of control, how are we supposed to make sense of it? What is marriage and is it only between one man and one woman?

These are questions that we need to answer. Can you imagine if there was no answer or definition of marriage, what that would look like? It seems that it would constantly change its meaning and sway in one direction or another based on popular opinion. Is that what’s happening in our culture and in our nation today?

Is marriage only between a man and a woman? Before we answer that, let’s look at some popular viewpoints on marriage and help bring clarity to what a real marriage is.

Same-Sex Marriage

This type of marriage can be defined as a man marrying another man or a woman marrying another woman. Most of the battles in favor of this is to allow two men (or two women) to have spousal benefits and parenting rights and not to discriminate against them since these were only previously available in marriages with one man and one woman.

In 2004, Massachusetts was the first state to legalize same-sex marriage over spousal benefits and parenting rights. What happened next was a spark across the country of people stepping up in order to receive the same benefits in marriage and to express their love for one another.

Plural Marriage

Plural marriage (also known as polygamy) has been around for quite some time, but is only gaining traction lately because of the legal victories of same-sex marriage. This is where a man can have multiple wives or a woman can have multiple husbands. One of the many thoughts behind this is why just have one man or one woman when you can have multiple?

We shouldn’t be surprised by this and should more than likely expect the laws of the land to legalize plural marriage across the nation not too long from now. Reason being that as we legalize same-sex marriage in the name of not discriminating others and allowing them to have spousal benefits, where can you draw the line? It opens the doors for many types of “marriages” and this is something I believe we will start seeing very soon.

Real Marriage

To define real marriage, we must turn to the Bible. The Bible is 100% truth. Yes, men wrote down the words but the Holy Spirit led them the entire way making it absolutely perfect (2 Timothy 3:16-17, 1 Peter 1:21). It has never been proven wrong and it never will be. So in the midst of a culture where the definition of marriage is all over the place, we must turn to scripture. Let’s let the Bible do the talking.

The first marriage in human history came from Adam and Eve. God made it clear in the beginning when there were only two people, one male and one female, that man would leave his father and mother and hold fast to his wife (Genesis 2:22-24). From the very beginning, God created us male and female and made mention that as we become married as male and female, man can not separate it (Mark 10:6-9).

Marriage is between a man and a woman, only. Even in regards to temptation the Bible speaks about how each man should have his own wife and each woman her own husband (1 Corinthians 7:2). There is no such thing as a same-sex, plural, or any other type of marriage in the Bible except for one that is only between one man and one woman.

Loving Others Instead Of Condemning Them

It’s important to note even though we find ourselves in a culture that doesn’t value the things of God or respect the way He has created and designed things (marriage, value of life, our world, our bodies, etc.), that doesn’t give us the right to not love others.

Christians who believe what the Bible says about marriage can often slip into condemning others when sin is present and people are engaging in marriage that isn’t Biblical. As followers of Christ, we must remember that we love others because He first loved us (1 John 4:19) and that every life has value in the sight of God.

Since we are forgiven through the finished work of Jesus, how could we not love others including those who practice same-sex marriage or plural marriage? There will be all sorts of marriages down the road and the way we love people and build relationships with them shouldn’t be any different. We shouldn’t be shocked that we live in a culture that practices intolerance as the new tolerance.

On top of that, if people aren’t following Christ or believing in anything the Bible says, why would we expect them to treat marriage the way God tells us to? If they wouldn’t agree God is the creator of life, then surely they wouldn’t agree that God is the creator of marriage.

Yes, marriage is only between one man and one woman, period. That’s what the Bible says and the Bible is the authority. That’s what God says and He is the creator and designer of marriage so I think He knows what’s best and how it all works. That’s the only way marriage and families work and we’ll continue to see that play out as real marriages will produce real families and other marriages will produce major consequences within families.

This is the time for the Church to be bold and speak up about what real marriage is in a day where the definition can be confusing to so many. These are the moments all of us as believers need to love and minister to those who don’t have an accurate understanding of marriage. Before we write someone off with their sin, let’s remember just how sinful we still are and how much all of us need Jesus.

Here are other Frequently Asked Questions and how the Bible answers them.

Questions: How would you define marriage? Do you think it’s only between one man & one woman? Please comment below and join the conversation.

Saved by Grace through Faith. In love with Jesus, His Glory, and obviously my beautiful wife Joelle, daughter Peyton, and son Matthew! Seeking Him in everything to glorify Him and spread the Gospel of Jesus Christ. Pastor at Austin Life Church.

Please note: We reserve the rights to delete comments that are offensive or off-topic.

  • steve poirot

    How do you deal with the fact of People like Solomon having multiple wives?

    • Just because Solomon had many wives, doesn’t mean God approved of his behavior. In fact, in Deuteronomy 17:16-17, God talked about not doing that.

      It’s the same with many examples in Scripture where sinful men acted in sinful ways…that doesn’t mean just because it’s in the Bible..that God approves it. We should take this opportunity to examine Scripture as a whole to get the context and really understand what God is telling us.

      Great question, appreciate the comment!

  • cassie

    How do you handle this if you’re a lesbian who a) has not EVER acted on it at all and never plans to and b) is REALLY grossed out at the idea of doing anything with a male when your parents/friends/church is constantly pressuring you to date? In high school, I got away with not dating because I wasn’t allowed to but I was bummed out that I couldn’t hae male friends. (Trust me, I saw them as brothers, I always dressed appropriately, and the males in my school (if they ever talked about sex and women) never talked about that in front of us girls). They essentially treated me like a sister (joked around/teased etc.) I was told that growing up, I was too assertive (needed to keep my opinions to myself, even if my brotherse got to state their opinions), not to debate any male on anything because it emasculated them and I kept being told ever since I was little that I walked and talked like a boy. I honestly don’t know what that means and never did because no one can quite explain it!
    I don’t think I could ever consider myself to have lusted after women at all because I really don’t think of anything sexual about them unless I haev a dream or something. I just call myself a lesbian (although I would NEVER tell anyone who knows me) because they automatically think it’s a lust-thing. It’s not! How can it be a lust thing if I never done anything and don’t plan to and really don’t think about it in my waking hours at all? I mean, I’m uncomfortable with watching anyone make out, even in movies, and I get uncomfortable when anyone gets too physically close to me. The idea of sex at all with a man makes me sick. In college, I didn’t date but claimed I was too busy and there were LOTS of women in the chuch group I attended who were always talking about how great this man was or that man was and how he liked me and how I was acting like, “The ag ressor” for approaching men and how I shouldn’t do that and let the men approach me … I wasn’t approaching them like that! It was as friendship! No one believed me. But when I did deflect men who approached me, they chastised me for it because they wanted me to give whoever that man was a chance (I wasn’t interested and said I did not want to string him along)
    I live on my own now and I have friends of both genders, but not too many. It’s hard becuse my church friends really come down on me (where they come over unannounced or confront mme in church for hanging out with people who don’t go to church) and my non-church friends think I’m too uptight for not letting anyone stay the night and for not drinking or not wanting to date. I get pressure to date from BOTH groups. I really don’t want to announce that I’m a lesbian because no one understands. I mean, I think that if I could force myself to marry a man, I would be lying anyway. And if I were not a Christian, I would feel bad doing that because it would mean hiding the girl and that would be disrespectful to her and it would be disrespectful to my parents. because T HEY would have to get harrassed if I did something like that.
    How do I get people to back off on trying to set me up and what do I say to men who approach me in c hurch or act like they’re trying to get me to date them or get to know them (and I swear, any time a man approaches me in church just to chat it’s “all abuzz” and I’m being pressured to “follow god” which is code for “he likes you, maybe you should talk to him”).
    Does any of this make sense? I mean, it’s not that I have an issue with being attracted to women, it’s the issue of being repulsed by men or anything that even SEEMS like being with a man. Including kissing. I am 25 and have NEVER wanted to do anything like that.

    • Thanks Cassie for sharing your thoughts and questions, appreciate you being vulnerable in this.

      There’s no quick answer to your questions and it’s a tough situation you’re in..especially with the Church acting the way it is (in your writing) and with people outside of the Church acting the way they are. Instead of me answering you in a way that puts the focus on those other things, let’s talk about you specifically since that’s the best route to take.

      I would start with this. Who is Jesus to you? Are you following Christ? Meaning, in everything you do, are you reading and praying and following how Jesus lived, treated people, and staying away from sinning? Are you constantly learning how to live your life for Christ and deny yourself in everything?

      You’re a sinner. I’m a sinner. We’re all sinners. That’s why Christ had to die. He paid the price for all of your past, present, and future sins. Do you believe this? Do you trust that He really did that? If so, then I would encourage you to pray that to God, believing that salvation is only through Christ alone, and then from that point on…live your life for Jesus Christ in everything you do.

      Along with that, that means you’ll study and read the Bible, you’ll pray, and you’ll be part of a Church that teaches that Jesus is the only way and teaches out of the Bible.

      This includes taking sin seriously. It includes turning away from sin and making changes in your life because you can’t follow Jesus and your life look the same as it did before. You’ll still sin, but will spend the rest of your life fighting your sin and becoming more like Christ (if you follow Him and are obedient to what the Bible says).

      Read Galatians 5:19-24. This lists out an example of some sins and an example of what it means to walk by the Spirit (follow Jesus). This includes things like sexual immorality (and a bunch of others too). God made it clear in the Bible that sex/marriage is to be between one man and one woman. Outside of that, it’s sin because that’s what the Bible says and that’s how He created it.

      We all sin. Christians still sin. That’s why we all need Jesus and Christians still need the Gospel/Jesus just the same as the very first day they chose to follow Him.

      I would first start with your identity. Are you a follower of Jesus?

  • Allie

    I think you forgot to read the bible. There absolutely IS polygamous marriage in the bible. All over the place.
    I don’t think your god appreciates your lies. Especially since you’re lying about “his” scripture.

    • Appreciate you sharing your opinion Allie. I’m sure you can tell from the post but we would disagree and we believe from what the Bible teaches on, that marriages is between one man and one woman. Thanks again for sharing.

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  • Keith Ainsworth

    Where in the bible to Jesu actually condemn same sex marriage?I have read where others did, Paul for example, but never Jesus.

    • Hey Keith, thanks for the question.

      Jesus addresses and defines marriage in Matthew 19:4–6 and Mark 10:6–9 using both Genesis 1:26–27 and Genesis 2:24. Here Jesus defines and affirms marriage as between a man and a woman. With this definition, same-sex marriage is excluded. Jesus never discussed same-sex marriage because the way he defined marriage already excluded it.