What Does The Bible Say About Marriage Problems?

Is it possible to have a marriage without problems? The answer is no. However, here are a few things the Bible says about marriage problems and how you can deal with them when they come.

Simply put, marriage is the relationship between two adults, who are legally married. It is a sacred institution ordained by God to serve His purpose for companionship, enjoyment, protection, procreation, and completeness. Marriage typifies Christ and the Church.

However, because marriage occurs between two imperfect people from different backgrounds, and different levels of growth, there is bound to be problems that will arise from time to time that will threaten the union.

It is therefore, important for Christian couples to know what God says about this, and learn from the Source of all wisdom how to handle them.

What Does The Bible Say About Marriage Problems?

When we read the Bible, we will see that it is full of different situations for all kinds of people no matter who you are or where you are. One of those many situations is marriage and the problems in it.

For instance, we saw communication problems in Abraham’s marriage. We saw lies in Isaac’s marriage, and we saw disagreement and competition in Jacob’s marriage too.

These from the patriarchs alone. Men like David, Job, prophet Hosea, are some other examples we might see from scripture of people who had one or two problems in their marriage.

What Does The Bible Say About Marriage Problems KJV?

The KJV shows us some things about marriage problems both in practical examples, in the Law, and in teachings.

Here are some examples of verses that talk about problems that may arise in a marriage:

“Suppose ye that I am come to give peace on earth? I tell you, Nay; but rather division: For from henceforth there shall be five in one house divided, three against two, and two against three. The father shall be divided against the son, and the son against the father; the mother against the daughter, and the daughter against the mother; the mother in law against her daughter in law, and the daughter in law against her mother in law.”Luke 12:51-53
“A foolish son is the calamity of his father: and the contentions of a wife are a continual dropping.”Proverbs 19:13
“It is better to dwell in the wilderness, than with a contentious and an angry woman.”Proverbs 21:19

The list can go on, but I am sure that we agree that the Bible does contain citations of the subject in question, don’t we?

What Does The Bible Say About Unhealthy/Struggling Marriages?

Were there unhealthy/struggling marriages in the Bible? Yes. We can find some.

Struggling in marriages or having an unhealthy marital relationship can arise from many reasons. Fear, anger, bitterness and unforgiveness, infidelity, lack of attention, and so on. In addition, they can have heavy impact of not just the individuals involved, but also others around them.

David and Michal, for instance, started well in love (at least the Bible records that she loved him greatly), but over time, they struggled with many issues, and their fondness and need of each other waned, until their last confrontation where she lashed out at him. From there, we never heard about her anymore, other than the fact that she never had children until the end of her days (kind of like the only well-known person I know in the Bible who died barren).

Many other marriages struggled or were just plain unhealthy. For some of these marriages, it ended well eventually like that of Hosea and Gomer, but some others didn’t end that way, e.g. Nabal and Abigail (Nabal died actually).

How Does The Bible Say To Resolve Conflict In A Marriage?

Although conflicts have the potential to destroy your marriage, knowing what God says about resolving them will help you salvage each situation, and in turn save your marriage from Satan’s attacks.

Here are some Biblical ways to resolve conflict in marriage:

  • Be the first to make a move to resolve the conflict as soon as possible.
“If your brother or sister sins, go and point out their fault, just between the two of you. If they listen to you, you have won them over. (NIV)”Matthew 18:15
  • Be willing to communicate, listen objectively, and don’t jump to conclusions. 
“My dear brothers and sisters, take note of this: Everyone should be quick to listen, slow to speak and slow to become angry, (NIV)”James 1:19
  • Be willing to value your marriage over your ego, and choose peace instead.
“A gentle answer turns away wrath, but a harsh word stirs up anger. (NIV)”Proverbs 15:1
  • Pray for your spouse and over the issue in question.
“Therefore confess your sins to each other and pray for each other so that you may be healed. The prayer of a righteous person is powerful and effective. (NIV)”James 5:16

Biblical Advice For Marriage Problems

Here are eight (8) Biblical advice for marriage problems that can help any couple going through a hard time in their marriage:

  • Understand that there are healthier ways to deal with issues, and you must take as much time as you need to seek it and settle for peace
“If it is possible, as far as it depends on you, live at peace with everyone. (NIV)”Romans 12:18
  • Make sure that the reason for the conflict isn’t about you putting your interest ahead of your spouse
“not looking to your own interests but each of you to the interests of the others. (NIV)”Philippians 2:4
  • Seek wise and godly counsel
“For lack of guidance a nation falls, but victory is won through many advisers. (NIV)”Proverbs 11:14
  • Husbands, remember your sole responsibility to your wife is to love her above all things like you do your own self, and as Christ loved the Church enough to die for it
“Husbands, love your wives, just as Christ loved the church and gave himself up for her (NIV)”Ephesians 5:25
  • Wives, submission is not slavery. It means reverence, respect, and humility before your spouse, just like the Church to Christ as well.
“Wives, submit yourselves to your own husbands as you do to the Lord. For the husband is the head of the wife as Christ is the head of the church, his body, of which he is the Savior. Now as the church submits to Christ, so also wives should submit to their husbands in everything. (NIV)”Ephesians 5:22-24
  • Practice consistent forgiveness
“Then Peter came to Jesus and asked, “Lord, how many times shall I forgive my brother or sister who sins against me? Up to seven times?” Jesus answered, “I tell you, not seven times, but seventy-seven times. (NIV)”Matthew 18:21-22
  • Pray constantly, and if possible, do it together
“Then Jesus told his disciples a parable to show them that they should always pray and not give up. (NIV)”Luke 18:1
  • Learn how to limit the involvement of third parties in marriage. Many do not mean well
“That is why a man leaves his father and mother and is united to his wife, and they become one flesh. (NIV)”Genesis 2:24

Bible Verses On Marriage And Divorce

Here are four (4) Bible verses on the subject of marriage and divorce in addition to all that we have been looking at thus far:

“Marriage should be honored by all, and the marriage bed kept pure, for God will judge the adulterer and all the sexually immoral. (NIV)”Hebrews 13:4
“To the rest I say this (I, not the Lord): If any brother has a wife who is not a believer and she is willing to live with him, he must not divorce her. And if a woman has a husband who is not a believer and he is willing to live with her, she must not divorce him. For the unbelieving husband has been sanctified through his wife, and the unbelieving wife has been sanctified through her believing husband. Otherwise your children would be unclean, but as it is, they are holy. But if the unbeliever leaves, let it be so. The brother or the sister is not bound in such circumstances; God has called us to live in peace. How do you know, wife, whether you will save your husband? Or, how do you know, husband, whether you will save your wife? (NIV)”1Corinthians 7:12-16
“The man who hates and divorces his wife,” says the LORD, the God of Israel, “does violence to the one he should protect,” says the LORD Almighty. So be on your guard, and do not be unfaithful. (NIV)”Malachi 2:16
“I tell you that anyone who divorces his wife, except for sexual immorality, and marries another woman commits adultery.” (NIV)”Matthew 19:9

Does God Want You To Stay In An Unhappy Marriage?

When is it right to walk away from a marriage?

If we are to follow the directive of the scriptures and common sense, we know that there are some listed. Let me point them out to you below:

  • When there is physical abuse and life is being threatened
  • Infidelity
  • Desire of an ungodly spouse to leave

Other than these three above, I can’t find any reason to leave your marriage.

Marriages can be unhappy for many reasons, just like one can be unhappy as a single. Hence, we can trust God to guide us by His word, comfort us by His Spirit, and heal our home by His power.

Leaving an unhappy home may not be the best solution. If we can let God in, He can change our homes for good, and bring back colour and light into it.

Bible Verses For Couples In Hard Times

The word of God should be the base of comfort and guidance for every child of God, every marriage, and every family going through hard times. That is how God set it to be.

Here are a few verses for couples in hard times:

“May the God who gives endurance and encouragement give you the same attitude of mind toward each other that Christ Jesus had, so that with one mind and one voice you may glorify the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ. (NIV)”Romans 15:5-6
“By wisdom a house is built, and through understanding it is established; through knowledge its rooms are filled with rare and beautiful treasures. (NIV)”Proverbs 24:3-4
“Love is patient, love is kind. It does not envy, it does not boast, it is not proud. It does not dishonor others, it is not self-seeking, it is not easily angered, it keeps no record of wrongs. Love does not delight in evil but rejoices with the truth. It always protects, always trusts, always hopes, always perseveres. (NIV)”1Corinthians 13:4-7
“Do not let any unwholesome talk come out of your mouths, but only what is helpful for building others up according to their needs, that it may benefit those who listen. (NIV)”Ephesians 4:29
“Do nothing out of selfish ambition or vain conceit. Rather, in humility value others above yourselves, not looking to your own interests but each of you to the interests of the others. In your relationships with one another, have the same mindset as Christ Jesus: (NIV)”Philippians 2:3-5

Examples Of Bad Marriages In The Bible

Find below my list of some bad marriages or marriages that struggled through hard times in the Bible plus scripture references, in case you wish to check them out

  • Nabal and Abigail (1Samuel 25)
  • Ahab and Jezebel (1Kings 16:31; 19:1-2; 21:1-26)
  • David and Michal (2Samuel 6:16-26)
  • Jacob and Laban’s daughters: Rachel and Leah (Genesis 29-30)
  • Hosea and Gomer: a challenging love story (Hosea 1-14)

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