The ordinance of marriage was sanctioned in Paradise (Ge 2:24; Mt 19:4-6). Monogamy was the original law under which man lived, but polygamy early commenced (Ge 4:19), and continued to prevail all down through Jewish history. The law of Moses regulated but did not prohibit polygamy. A man might have a plurality of wives, but a wife could have only one husband. A wife's legal rights (Ex 21:10) and her duties (Pr 31:10-31; 1Ti 5:14) are specified. She could be divorced in special cases (De 22:13-21), but could not divorce her husband. Divorce was restricted by our Lord to the single case of adultery (Mt 19:3-9). The duties of husbands and wives in their relations to each other are distinctly set forth in the New Testament (1Co 7:2-5; Eph 5:22-33; Col 3:18-19; 1Pe 3:1-7).
And the Pharisees came to him, tempting him and saying, Is it lawful for a man to put away his wife for every cause? And he answering said to them, Have ye not read, that he who made them, made them male and female from the beginning?
And he answering said to them, Have ye not read, that he who made them, made them male and female from the beginning? And said, For this cause a man shall leave father and mother and cleave to his wife, and they twain shall be one flesh?
And said, For this cause a man shall leave father and mother and 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.
Wherefore they are no more twain but one flesh. What therefore God hath joined together, let not man put asunder. They say to him, Why then did Moses command to give a writing of divorce and put her away? read more. He saith to them, Because of the hardness of your hearts, Moses suffered you to put away your wives; but from the beginning it was not so. And I say to you, whosoever shall put away his wife, except for whoredom, and marry another, committeth adultery, and whoso marrieth her that is put away, committeth adultery.
Yet, to avoid fornication, let every man have his own wife; and let every woman have her own husband. Let the husband render the debt to the wife; and in like manner the wife also to the husband. read more. The wife hath not power over her own body, but the husband; and in like manner the husband also hath not power over his own body, but the wife. Withdraw not from each other, unless it be by consent for a time, that ye may give yourselves to prayer, and may come together again, lest Satan tempt you through your incontinence.
Wives, submit yourselves to your own husbands as unto the Lord. For the husband is head of the wife, as Christ also is head of the church: read more. (and he is the Saviour of the body) Therefore as the church is subject to Christ, so also let the wives be to their own husbands in every thing. Husbands, love your wives, as Christ also loved the church and gave himself for it; That he might sanctify it (having cleansed it by the washing of water) through the word: That he might present it to himself a glorious church, not having spot or wrinkle, or any such thing, that it may be holy and unblamable. Men ought so to love their wives as their own bodies: he that loveth his wife, loveth himself. Now no one ever hated his own flesh, but nourisheth and cherisheth it, as also the Lord the church. For we are members of his body, of his flesh, and of his bones. For this cause shall a man leave his father and mother, and shall be joined to his wife; and they two shall be one flesh. This is a great mystery; I mean, concerning Christ and the church. But let every one of you in particular so love his wife as himself: and let the wife reverence her husband.
Wives, submit yourselves to your own husbands (as is fit) in the Lord. Husbands, love your wives, and be not bitter against them.