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What Does the Bible Say About..Love and Marriage?

Is it wrong to be married to someone you are not, and never have been, in love with? Should you stay married even if you don't love them?


There was a song by Tina Turner about twenty years ago that answers your question: What's love got to do with it? Love in a marriage is a relatively modern, western concept. Throughout much of history if spouses loved one another that was a good, unexpected bonus. Even today, arranged marriages are the norm in many places. I have even known it to happen in the United States.

Throughout much of scripture marriages were arranged between people who had never seen each other before. In Genesis 24, for instance, Abraham sends his servant to find a wife for Isaac. God told Hosea to marry a prostitute (Hosea 1:2). Even Adam and Eve had an arranged marriage. When Samson wanted to marry for love (or lust) it resulted in all sorts of problems (Judges 14-16). Love has never been a requirement for marriage.

In spite of that, many couples have learned to love one another. They may not always, or even often, like each other but they learn to love one another. I don't mean an emotional, I-feel-all-strange-when-I-am-around-him kind of love. Instead I mean real love; thinking of what is best for the other person, respecting their thoughts, giving up your own desires because you are thinking of their best interests.

Even if that never happens, though, God intended for marriage to be permanent. "And he answered and said unto them, Have ye not read, that he which made them at the beginning made them male and female, and said, For this cause shall a man leave father and mother and shall cleave to his wife: and they twain shall be one flesh? Wherefore they are no more twain but one flesh. What therefore God hath joined together, let not man put asunder." (Matthew 19:4-6) This applies to all marriages, not just those "for love." Even in a marriage in which love was never a consideration, God's plan is that the marriage continue.

Perhaps one of the reasons for the high divorce rates in various countries today is the concept of marrying for love. In many countries where marriages are arranged, the divorce rate is low because expectations are different. People expect to marry the one chosen for them and stay with them. Because of the expectation of a permanent marriage, regardless, the people stay married.