Love and relationships are central to the human experience. We all desire to love and be loved. But what does the Bible say about how we should approach romantic relationships and love? As Christians, God’s Word should be our guide when it comes to relationships.
In this comprehensive blog post, we will explore key biblical principles about love and relationships. We will look at God’s design for marriage, how to develop Christ-centered relationships, keys to loving others well, and more. Whether you are single, dating, engaged, or married, there is much wisdom from Scripture that can help strengthen your approach to relationships.
- God designed marriage and intimacy to be enjoyed between one man and one woman within the covenant of marriage.
- We are called to pursue relationships that honor Christ above all else.
- Loving others, as Christ loved us, should be the motto for all of our relationships.
- Working through conflict in a biblical manner is key to healthy relationships.
- God cares deeply about our relationships and wants us to find joy and purpose within His design for love and intimacy.
God’s Design for Marriage
The Bible begins and ends with a wedding. God is the author of marriage and designed it to be a lifelong covenant relationship between one man and one woman.
“Then the Lord God made a woman from the rib he had taken out of the man, and he brought her to the man. The man said, “This is now bone of my bones and flesh of my flesh; she shall be called ‘woman,’ for she was taken out of man.” That is why a man leaves his father and mother and is united to his wife, and they become one flesh.” (Genesis 2:22-24 NKJV)
Human intimacy and sexuality was created by God to be enjoyed exclusively within the marriage relationship.
“Marriage should be honored by all, and the marriage bed kept pure, for God will judge the adulterer and all the sexually immoral” (Hebrews 13:4 NKJV).
The Bible speaks clearly against sexual immorality of any kind, including premarital sex, adultery, homosexuality, and pornography. God designed the intimacy of marriage to be a reflection of the intimate relationship between Christ and the church.
“Husbands, love your wives, just as Christ loved the church and gave himself up for her…In this same way, husbands ought to love their wives as their own bodies. He who loves his wife loves himself.” (Ephesians 5:25, 28 NKJV)
As Christians, we must uphold God’s design for marriage and sexuality and honor marriage by keeping the marriage bed pure. This honors God and allows for true intimacy to grow between a husband and wife.
Developing Christ-Centered Relationships
All human relationships are meant to be centered around Jesus. He desires intimacy with us, so that out of our love relationship with Christ we can better love others.
If you are single, God may be calling you to a season of singleness and undivided devotion to Him.
“An unmarried man can spend his time doing the Lord’s work and thinking how to please him. But a married man can’t do that so well… So I say to those who aren’t married and to widows—it’s better to stay unmarried, just as I am.” (1 Corinthians 7:32-33, 8 NKJV)
Singleness is a gift that allows unique opportunities to serve God. However, marriage is also honorable before God.
For those dating or seeking marriage, it is essential that Christ be at the center. Do not be unequally yoked with someone who does not share your devotion to Jesus.
“Do not be yoked together with unbelievers. For what do righteousness and wickedness have in common? Or what fellowship can light have with darkness?” (2 Corinthians 6:14 NKJV)
Look for a potential spouse who is growing in their faith, active in church, and eager to follow Jesus above all else. Pray together and honor Christ in your relationship. Let your love reflect the love between Christ and the Church.
Married couples must also make Christ the foundation. Keep Jesus at the center of your marriage through prayer, Bible study, and weekly church attendance together. Make your home a place where you and your spouse grow closer to each other and closer to God. Model His unconditional love.
“However, each one of you also must love his wife as he loves himself, and the wife must respect her husband.” (Ephesians 5:33 NKJV)
When Christ is truly at the center of any relationship, it will thrive. Make pursuing Jesus your highest priority.
Loving Others as Christ Loves Us
Christ taught that the two greatest commandments are to love God and love others.
“Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind and with all your strength. The second is this: ‘Love your neighbor as yourself.’ There is no commandment greater than these.” (Mark 12:30-31 NKJV)
We are called to love others in the same way that Christ loved us. He demonstrated unconditional, sacrificial, and merciful love when He willingly died on the cross for our sins.
As His followers, we are called to lay down our own desires and humbly love and serve others. This applies in all relationships, including marriage, dating, friendships, family, church community, coworkers, and neighbors.
“My command is this: Love each other as I have loved you. Greater love has no one than this: to lay down one’s life for one’s friends.” (John 15:12-13 NKJV)
Loving others requires choosing to be patient, kind, forgiving, gentle, and selfless. It means bearing with others’ faults and not keeping a record of wrongs.
“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.” (1 Corinthians 13:4-5 NKJV)
We must see others as God sees them. He sent Jesus because He loved the world. We can love difficult people by choosing to see them as precious souls that Jesus died for. Pray for them and let God’s love flow through you to them.
As Christians, our relationships should point people to the love of Christ. By loving others sacrificially, we bear witness to the Gospel.
Resolving Conflict Biblically
Even in amazing relationships, conflict will occur. We live in a fallen world with selfish hearts prone to sin. The Bible gives much wisdom on how to handle conflict in healthy ways that honor God and others.
First, check your own heart when conflict arises. Be quick to listen, slow to speak, and slow to anger. Examine if you need to confess any sinful attitudes to God.
“My dear brothers and sisters, take note of this: Everyone should be quick to listen, slow to speak and slow to become angry” (James 1:19 NKJV)
Approach the situation in humility, seeking to truly understand the other person’s perspective.
“Do nothing out of selfish ambition or vain conceit. Rather, in humility value others above yourselves” (Philippians 2:3 NKJV)
Pray together and individually throughout the conflict. Submit it to the Lord, asking Him for wisdom and unity.
“If two of you on earth agree about anything they ask for, it will be done for them by my Father in heaven.” (Matthew 18:19 NKJV)
Confess your faults to one another and extend grace and forgiveness, just as Christ forgave you.
“Bear with each other and forgive one another if any of you has a grievance against someone. Forgive as the Lord forgave you.” (Colossians 3:13 NKJV)
Keep short accounts. Do not let anger or hurt feelings simmer. Address issues openly, but in love and humility.
“In your anger do not sin”: Do not let the sun go down while you are still angry” (Ephesians 4:26 NKJV)
With the guidance of Scripture and the Holy Spirit, you can resolve conflict in ways that honor God and strengthen relationships.
God Cares Deeply About Our Relationships
It can be tempting to think that God only cares about our devotional life or church attendance. But we serve a God who is passionately invested in all areas of our life, including our relationships.
In the Bible we see God bringing people together in marriage:
“The Lord God said, “It is not good for the man to be alone. I will make a helper suitable for him.” (Genesis 2:18 NKJV)
We also see God reconciling relationships. Jesus appeared to Peter after the resurrection to forgive and restore their relationship after Peter’s betrayal.
God also warns strongly against divorce because it tears apart relationships that He wants to preserve.
“‘I hate divorce,’ says the Lord God of Israel.” (Malachi 2:16 NKJV)
Clearly, relationships matter deeply to God. He cares about who and how we love. We honor Him when we love others as Christ loved us.
No relationship is perfect. We will make mistakes. But we serve a merciful Savior who forgives and redeems. He can heal and strengthen our relationships if we submit them to Him.
Ultimately, all human relationships are meant to draw us closer to Christ. Our satisfaction must come first from our relationship with Him.
“Delight yourself in the Lord, and he will give you the desires of your heart.” (Psalm 37:4 NKJV)
As we pursue intimate friendship with Jesus, we become empowered to love others as He has loved us. Our relationships become a beautiful reflection of God’s love.
The Bible offers much wisdom to guide our approach to romantic relationships and love. When we build relationships upon Biblical principles, we honor God and discover deeper joy.
This brief overview looked at God’s design for marriage, pursuing Christ-centered relationships, loving others as Jesus loves us, resolving conflict biblically, and recognizing God’s care for our relationships.
There is so much more that could be explored about what Scripture teaches concerning relationships and love. But these key themes offer a solid, biblical foundation.
May we humbly submit all of our relationships to the Lord. As we look to Jesus as the ultimate example of selfless love, we become empowered to faithfully love others and reflect God’s heart to the world. By His grace, our relationships can point people to the transforming love of Christ.