What These 5 Marriages in the Bible Teach Us Today

What can the marriages of Adam and Eve, Boaz and Ruth, Zechariah and Elizabeth, Joseph and Mary, and Aquila and Priscilla in the Bible teach us today? Quite a bit. Many characteristics are involved in creating a successful marriage, and the couples listed illustrate them beautifully. Let’s delve deeper into the traits of forgiveness, selflessness, compassion, kindness, communication, trust, and mutuality using biblical relationships as examples.

Adam and Eve (Forgiveness)

How can we discuss biblical examples of marriage without touching on the very first one?

Genesis 2:15-3:13 discusses the creation of Eve as Adam’s helpmate and continues the story of their sin and subsequent fall.

Immediately following the consequences of their choice to eat from the tree, in Genesis 3:20, the scripture states, “Adam named his wife Eve because she would become the mother of all the living.” I imagine there were conversations between the two that went undescribed, yet Adam named his wife and referred to her as the mother of future generations.

It could be argued that the act of naming her with their future kids in mind demonstrated the definition of forgiveness in marriage. Eve made a mistake, and while the couple would suffer the consequences of that mistake together, they would persevere through it together as one flesh, as the doctrine mandates they should.

The original sin would not be this couple’s only sufferance, either. They would suffer the worst loss a marriage can face. Not only the death of a child but that their other child committed the murder.

Boaz and Ruth (Selflessness)

An entire article could be dedicated to unpacking the story of Jesus’ great-grandparents Boaz and Ruth, both as individuals and as a couple. Selflessness is a trait they have in common.

Marriage requires a selfless mindset in both the husband and wife regarding how they view and treat one another and others. Interestingly, after Ruth’s first husband died, she stayed with her mother-in-law, Naomi, rather than following the traditional custom of returning to her family of origin.

This commitment to staying with Naomi and seeing to her well-being would be rewarded as time marched on.

At Naomi’s instruction, Ruth went to Boaz, a relative redeemer (Ruth 3). The respect between these two and the sense of responsibility and loyalty is vast, not to mention kindness and compassion. Ruth was sure to take care of her mother-in-law, who, in turn, was determined to take care of her.

Boaz’s response was both kind and noble in Ruth 3:10-13, “‘The Lord bless you, my daughter,’ he replied. ‘This kindness is greater than that which you showed earlier: You have not run after the younger men, whether rich or poor. And now, my daughter, don’t be afraid. I will do all you ask for me. All the people of my town know that you are a woman of noble character. Although I am indeed a guardian-redeemer of our family, there is another who is more closely related than I. Stay here for the night, and in the morning, if he wants to do his duty as your guardian-redeemer, good; let him redeem you. But if he is not willing, as surely as the Lord lives, I will do it. Lie here until morning.'”

When the other redeemer declined, Boaz kept his promise to Ruth, and Ruth not only kept hers but saw to it that Naomi was also taken care of.

Zechariah and Elizabeth (Communication)

This couple lived righteous lives in the eyes of God. In fact, Zechariah was a priest. Being of an advanced age, they accepted that they were not meant to have children, yet the Lord chose them to become the parents of John the Baptist.

When the angel first appeared and told Zechariah the good news, he was speechless. Well, not at first. His disbelief at the proclamation led the angel to make him mute. In my mind, these two had to have had some interesting communications throughout Elizabeth’s pregnancy.

According to Luke 1:59-64, “On the eighth day, they came to circumcise the child, and they were going to name him after his father Zechariah, but his mother spoke up and said, ‘No! He is to be called John.’ They said to her, ‘There is no one among your relatives who has that name.’ Then, they made signs to his father to find out what he would like to name the child. He asked for a writing tablet, and to everyone’s astonishment, he wrote, ‘His name is John.’ Immediately, his mouth was opened and his tongue set free, and he began to speak, praising God.”

Joseph and Mary (Trust)

Matthew 1:19-21 tells us, “Because Joseph her husband was faithful to the law, and yet did not want to expose her to public disgrace, he had in mind to divorce her quietly. But after he had considered this, an angel of the Lord appeared to him in a dream and said, ‘Joseph, son of David, do not be afraid to take Mary home as your wife because what is conceived in her is from the Holy Spirit. She will give birth to a son, and you are to give him the name Jesus because he will save his people from their sins.'”

That is a quintessential example of a step-up guy.

But let’s not discount Mary. Imagine being that young, a virgin, and told by an angel that you are going to have a baby.

Mary had to have felt some level of anxiety over the entire situation. But this young woman accepted what the angel said without hesitation.

She demonstrated an extreme trust in God’s provision and protection of her and her soon-to-be husband that he would accept and support her and the baby. We see her response in Luke 1:38, “‘I am the Lord’s servant,’ Mary answered. ‘May your word to me be fulfilled.’ Then the angel left her.”

Aquila and Priscilla (Mutuality)

Aquila and Priscilla of the New Testament became close friends with Paul.

Priscilla was not the traditionally passive wife. She was a teacher, and her husband Aquila respected her and encouraged and assisted in their ministry. They held church in their home and often helped Paul.

He even mentions them by name in his letters.

In Romans 16:3-4 he says, “Greet Priscilla and Aquila, my co-workers in Christ Jesus. They risked their lives for me. Not only I but all the churches of the Gentiles are grateful to them.” The takeaway from Aquila and Priscilla is to support our spouse and serve Christ together.

These five marriages teach us how to persevere through the rough periods of marriage, forgive, and show selflessness to our spouses. Communication, trust, faith, and mutuality without ego were all essential factors in these biblical marriages, and we can still learn lessons from their stories and other scriptures. I can’t help but think of 1 Corinthians 13:4-5, “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.”

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