Are Biblical Precepts Relevant In Modern Day Marriages?

by Reginald Williams In responding to Ayize Ma’at’s post , “Women Today Ain’t like the Women of Yesterday,” I found myself between the lines of a lively thread. The crux of the discussion strongly revolved around the belief and non-belief in biblical precepts especially as it relates to marriage.

Today I’m not here to defend any biblical principle, instead I choose to briefly speak on the importance of the bible. Trust me – that last sentence isn’t an oxymoron.

Most folks, whether they are a proponent or an opponent, think the bible is or assumed to be a sacred document based on a religious indoctrination. For the sake of this writing one’s definition has no importance. Instead I want to focus on the Webster Dictionary designation of the bible that reads, “A publication that is preeminent especially in authoritativeness . . . .”

This past Sunday four National Football League teams played in two conference championships. Each team built the principles of their team play on their biblical precept called a “Playbook.” Each of you reading this writing potentially is employed by an organization, who, upon hiring you handed you a bible called the “Employee Handbook,” which includes their “Code of Conduct.” The laptop which I authored this article with included a bible called “The Instruction Manual.” If there’s a miscue on the football field; if you have a problem with your employer or they have one with you, or if my laptop fails to work properly – in each situation the bible (the publication that is preeminent in authoritativeness that provides the indoctrination for that situation) is referred to for answers. Those preeminent publications serve as a proven source of knowledge greater than the individuals that rely upon them.

So I ask what preeminent publication of authority do you rely on in your marriage?

Where do you and your spouse go to secure solutions to issues and practices for how your marriage will operate? Or do you just enter into your union carrying the luggage of your individual indoctrinations about marriage. Some folk might suggest that their principles will evolve over time – and there is some truth to that. However with divorce in America hovering north of 45 percent, too often waiting for principles to evolve marks the death of a marriage.

So how does a society with a rising divorce rate, especially in the African-American community, stem the tsunami of broken marriages? When your marriage hits that crossroad – and it will – where you possess one belief and your spouse owns a polar opposite disposition, what will serve as your preeminent publication back to love? Will any authority be referenced?

Can your marriage survive without a preeminent publication – a “Love Book” that lays out a strategy for how to love; a “Marital Handbook” that clearly states the “code of conduct” or an “Instruction Manual” that provides authentic insight of how to correct issues when marital problems arise? Or are biblical precepts nothing more than “religious indoctrinations” that don’t account for the cultural differences of modern day – subsequently making them irrelevant?

If football teams rely on playbooks to achieve championship success and employers issue handbooks to ensure that the code of conduct is clearly understood, and manufacturers issue instruction manuals to enhance product productivity for the user, and building contractors utilize blueprints to build massive structures based on century old percepts, then why would husbands and wives choose against relying on a preeminent publication of authoritativeness? I’m just asking!

Reginald Williams, an Award-winning journalist and Certified Relationship Coach, is the co-founder of Marriage Nectar, a marriage and relationship enrichment company and the author of the blog You can follow Reggie on Twitter at or contact him at

20 replies
  1. Ifetayo
    Ifetayo says:

    I'm not Christian. The Bible is not the book that I live my life by. I practice an African Traditional Religion. We also have a sacred text that provides much wisdom on living life. I believe that whatever your spiritual beliefs/practices, that should serve as a foundation for YOUR family and not a whole institution. Marriage is not a Christian concept. Marriage exists as an institution around the world. Every group of people have a code that supports their families and ultimately their community. I think we need to be careful when some folks present Christianity as the moral authority on life. It is one path to God.

  2. ruleyourwife
    ruleyourwife says:

    To begin I always try to keep it positive and moving in an upward position, but I'm just about tired of the ignorance of folk who either can't read or possess poor comprehension. I wasn't subtly trying to oppose anyone. Mr. Ma'at and I are friends and we are soldiers in this fight for marriage. Mrs. Ma'at and my wife are friends who are also soldiers in this fight for healthy marriages. Because you lack the ability to see beyond your short sightedness, don't attribute to me what you are. And further more why don't you ask Mr. Ma'at what his opinion of the article was becasue HE LOVED IT.

    You don't like what I wrote, I good with that. But your poor disposition of attacking me is an indication of just who you are. I've always been taught that eyes looking through dirty lens can never see a clean picture. Clean your lens and you'll then see clearer. And one last point, be bold enough to put who you are and not hiding behind a guest post.
    My recent post The healing of kind words

    • Guest
      Guest says:

      Sayeth the man who wrote an article on the healing of kind words. Anyhow, if you are tired of the controversy you are recieving (which sounds like a lot) then maybe you should clean your own foggy lens a bit. And, does it matter if I disclose who I am on this post? Would a name like ruleyourwife identify who I am?

  3. Ast
    Ast says:

    Personally, I feel that too many of us rely too heavily on "precepts" as the author calls them. Yes, I think they are important to a degree. But, I feel like God is within (as someone else mentioned) and sometimes as people we get too damn hung up on "following the rules"–what ever those rules may be. Religion in general and Christianity in particular has done a great job at instilling shame, fear, and guilt in so many and without realizing it we begin to follow the Religion, the Preacher, the so-called "Way", and even the "Word" without referencing our own Divine Relationship with God. So, I am certainly impacted by Spiritual Precepts (some biblical and some not) but in the end I rely on my intuitive knowing, my Higher self, and the God who shows Herself to me daily to guide my life and my marriage.

    • ruleyourwife
      ruleyourwife says:

      Question! When you "rely on your intuitive knowledge of your higher self," and your wife relys on her intuitive knowledge of her higher self, and those two higher -selves are polar opposite – how is that situation ratified?

  4. harriethairston
    harriethairston says:

    Great article, Mr. Williams!

    My first point is this: if, as a whole, we were to use society as the standard by which we live our lives, then rampant dysfunction and divorce would be taking place today.

    …Wait a minute…that's exactly what IS taking place today!

    I believe that moral relativism (what's right and true for me may not be what's right and true for you…you do you, and I'll do me) is the source of much confusion when it comes to marriage. There has to be an ABSOLUTE standard for morality regarding marriage, and that standard creates the boundaries we interact with our spouses around.

    Although I don't subscribe to all the denominationalism and flakiness running rampant within modern day churches, the basic principle of being Christ like and becoming more like Him each day cannot be refuted.

    • ruleyourwife
      ruleyourwife says:

      "Moral relativism," well said Harriet. The beautiful thing about God is He allows you to have free will, so you get what you get when you do what you do.
      <a href="” target=”_blank”>

  5. Vickie S.
    Vickie S. says:

    Does the Bible have relevancy in modern day marriage? I say yes, absolutely. Marriage is intended to be an order in which family is to be created and is equally ordained by God amongst other things. Since His word is the same yesterday, today and forevermore, it is relevant today. Also, marriage is not only sacred but it is a covenant entered into with God. Once we understand the covenant, when challenges arise, we begin to see that it only takes one spouse who believes to oftentimes save a marriage from divorce. Marriage is for very mature minded people. Marriage takes work and it is ultimately designed to reconcile us closer to Him so that we may be more like Him and ultimately let our union minister and reconcil those around us to Him. #Imjustsaying

  6. Lynette
    Lynette says:

    Are Biblical precepts relevant in modern day marriages? Good question. I would say Biblical Precepts are probably most relevant to Christians. I think an even better question is: Are Universal Principles relevant in modern day marriage? When you study different religions you will find that most of them share many of the same universal spiritual laws just expressed in their own culture specific ways.
    So, I agree that it is imperative to have a manual on how to live. But, should it be the Bible? Not necessarily. I agree that the Bible is one authoritative reference but don't we know that there are many others as well? What about the Book Of Coming Forth By Day And By Night (also known as the Book Of The Dead or Pert Em Heru), the Tao Te Ching, the Qu'ran, the Torah, and so many others?
    I think one of the failures of Christian Doctrine (although I know all Christians don't feel this way) is that Christian teachings assume a sense of supernatural superiority to all other religions. Even the fact that the author's question was about "Biblical Precepts" (and of course he has a right to ask if that's what his reference point is…I'm just saying) in a way communicates "Biblical Precepts" are the standard.
    I actually do use the Bible to guide my life and my marriage. But, I do not see it as THE pre-eminent authority. I respect it for what it is: one of many inspired sacred texts that we, human beings, have at our disposal to raise our awareness of ourselves and the God in each of us.
    My 2 Cents.

    • ruleyourwife
      ruleyourwife says:

      In my story I originally had a line that said (insert your religion). I am devastated that I somehowe edited it out; your comments brought this to my attention.
      I am a Christian and live my live my life by the doctrines of the bible. But I did not want this piece to be about the bible I believe in, but the concept of believing in the bible (whatever your religion/bible to be). Now I'm not smart enough to know what the books of the other religions are called, but at the end of the day whatever religion you believe in and whatever book is attached to the belief the bible remains the preeminent publication of authority for that religion.
      And my questions remains. Does the bible (whatever book or religion believe in) have relevancy in modern day marriage.

  7. Cynthia
    Cynthia says:

    The author of this post is simply saying what will you use as a compass for your marriage? In the Christian community, the Bible is seen as an instruction manual with principals that do not change. I have found that when you follow those principals, life is a lot less complicated. People seem to get all bent out of shape when you say "Bible" for various reasons but it doesn’t change the fact that God created us all. He didn’t make robots; he gave us a free will to choose and to think. He left us an instruction manual to guide us through the processes and choices that we will make in life. Ignoring those instructions has played a major role in our conditions today.

  8. E. Volve
    E. Volve says:

    Asante sana to the Ma'at's for creating this site. It's really refreshing to see a young couple holding it down and representing real love. A friend from the UK recommended I check yall out and it was based on how he was impacted by Ayize's post from last week. So I'm here and definitely pleased by what I see. To the author of this post……I appreciate your position however if your take is supposed to be a counter to Ayize's post I think you may have missed the point of his post all together. He mentioned several times that we aren't listening to our women because we aren't talking to our women. He suggested that we need to pay more attention to our women. He also told us the reason why we don't pay enough attention to our women…..PATRIARCHY. The patriarchal mindset has greatly influenced religion. It was so funny when the conversation shifted from listening and understanding our women ……Patriarchy and the Bible. That shift kinda reinforced the fact that we men get uncomfortable lifting up and talking about women and that we have to ALWAYS make it about us. There's a problem when we can't talk about women without talking about us. Regarding your post today….I agree we do need a manual or some sort of reference point upon which we build our relationship success. I thought it was an excellent point when you brought up the electronic devices. However please know that each time a product is upgraded a new manual is released to deal with the current installment. You use a 2010 iphone instruction manual for a 2010 I phone. You don't use a 2006 instruction manual for a 2010 phone because the features have changed drastically in 4 short years. Therefore how do we look using a 2000 year old text for current problems knowing the times have changed so drastically. We can't unless we make modifications. If we didn't make modifications we would still be "obeying our masters". So to answer your question….SOME of the biblical precepts are IRRELEVANT and need to be MODIFIED to the match up with the modern world. I suggest that when it is "truly" modified that both men and women sit at the table and do it together. The woman's voice and experience needs to be more holistically reflected in the "Good Book". This will help our community to be more health and more whole.

  9. Ryan
    Ryan says:

    As for me and my house, we will serve the Lord. And for me that means His Son Jesus Christ and His Word: The Bible. The Bible is something you have to study for yourself and there are so many jewels in it when it comes to its instruction for marriage. It has kept me and my wife on track for over 20 years and it will continue to be our guide until we die. B. I.B.L.E. Basic Instructions Before Leaving Earth!

  10. Tiana P.
    Tiana P. says:

    I love this article. Because it speaks to having core values and principles that guide your life. At least that's how I'm interpreting it. I think that the Bible is relevant in many ways. But, I also feel that it depends on who you are, how you were socialized as a child, and what denomination you belong to. Some people interpret the Bible literally, others don't. Some people take what they feel is truth from it and others use every single word as if it cannot be challenged. I think what's MOST IMPORTANT to a marriage is both individuals personal relationship with God. While I cherish the Bible, I cherish my relationship with God even more. Good read!

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