Marriage is a covenant between two human beings who bring their unique backgrounds, personalities, experiences and priorities into their marriage.
It’s also not a fixed relationship. Both the husband and the wife are growing, changing, and maturing which can lead to beautiful growth in a healthy marriage AND a lot of conflict and issues to work through when one or both of the married couple aren’t in a healthy place.
Disclaimer: I have been married for 14 years, and have a Bachelor’s degree in Biblical Counseling. I am not a Licenced Professional Counselor. Please seek specific advice for your particular marriage struggles from a licensed professional.
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35 Best Bible Verses for Marriage Problems
A good marriage takes hard work, faithful commitment and steady love. This list of powerful Bible verses will help you see how Scripture addresses specific struggles and problems commonly found in marriage and relationships.
Not a Believer
If you become a follower of Christ Jesus and your spouse is not, it can create some conflict in your marriage. Scripture speaks to this specific situation telling the believing spouse to “live in peace” with their spouse and use your influence in your family for good!
1. And if a woman has a husband who is not a believer and he is willing to live with her, she must not divorce him. For the unbelieving husband has been sanctified through his wife, and the unbelieving wife has been sanctified through her believing husband. Otherwise your children would be unclean, but as it is, they are holy. But if the unbeliever leaves, let it be so. The brother or the sister is not bound in such circumstances; God has called us to live in peace.
-1 Corinthians 7:13-15
Now, if the question is “If you are already a believer should you marry an unbeliever?” the Bible speaks very clearly to that decision in a passage that is speaking in general to all relationships and agreements.
2. 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
God, in His wisdom, commands us to avoid being “yoked” in long term commitments (this could also apply to business ventures, friendships, etc.) with those who aren’t Christians. This will ultimately lead to less conflict in our futures if spouses are on the same page with their faith.
Sexual relations or activity outside of your marriage can wreak havoc on your marriage. It’s normal to have conflict around sex (timing, frequency, libido differences, preferences, etc.), but sexual promiscuity or lack of self-control around sexual urges can destroy your marriage.
Marital unfaithfulness is one of the clear grounds for potential divorce in the Bible as well. God takes sexual faithfulness in marriage seriously and so should we.
3. Jesus replied, “Moses permitted you to divorce your wives because your hearts were hard. But it was not this way from the beginning. I tell you that anyone who divorces his wife, except for sexual immorality, and marries another woman commits adultery.
4. Marriage should be honored by all, and the marriage bed kept pure, for God will judge the adulterer and all the sexually immoral.
5. Flee from sexual immorality. All other sins a person commits are outside the body, but whoever sins sexually, sins against their own body.
-1 Corinthians 6:18
In marriage our own bodies belong to each other, which is an incredibly vulnerable and beautiful gift. The Great Sex Rescue is a great resources about how messages about sex and mutual consent have been twisted in Christian circles and how to communicate about sex in marriage!
6. 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.”
7. Do nothing out of selfish ambition or vain conceit. Rather, in humility value others above yourselves, not looking to your own interests but each of you to the interests of the others.
8. The wife does not have authority over her own body but yields it to her husband. In the same way, the husband does not have authority over his own body but yields it to his wife.
-1 Corinthians 7:4
Many couples fight over finances and struggle to get on the same page with spending and saving. Here are a few principles from God’s Word about finances. This is a great podcast to get a helpful overview on the topic of money in marriage.
This book Money Problems, Marriage Solutions may be an incredibly helpful read for you too!
9. For the love of money is a root of all kinds of evil. Some people, eager for money, have wandered from the faith and pierced themselves with many griefs.
-1 Timothy 6:10
10. But remember the Lord your God, for it is he who gives you the ability to produce wealth, and so confirms his covenant, which he swore to your ancestors, as it is today.
11. The wicked borrow and do not repay, but the righteous give generously.
Lack of love
Unlike our modern American culture that romanticizes being “in love” with all the butterflies and big shows of emotion, Biblical love is a choice we enter into as a response to God’s great love for us.
While it is difficult to both experience lack of love from your partner or feel a lack of love for your partner, choosing to keep loving and rebuilding your love is part of what makes a strong marriage. Our emotions may ebb and flow, but our commitment to faithfully love our spouse should remain steady, just like God’s love for us.
12. A new command I give you: Love one another. As I have loved you, so you must love one another. By this everyone will know that you are my disciples, if you love one another.
13. In this same way, husbands ought to love their wives as their own bodies. He who loves his wife loves himself.
14. Follow God’s example, therefore, as dearly loved children and walk in the way of love, just as Christ loved us and gave himself up for us as a fragrant offering and sacrifice to God.
The Word of God is clear about the destruction that comes when substances control us rather than the Lord.
15. Like a city whose walls are broken through is a person who lacks self-control.
16. Do not get drunk on wine, which leads to debauchery. Instead, be filled with the Spirit.
17. Wine is a mocker and beer a brawler; whoever is led astray by them is not wise.
Abuse (Physical, Sexual, Verbal or Emotional)
Any kind of abuse is against God’s heart for his children and His plan for marriage. If you are experiencing abuse in your marriage, get yourself safe, set boundaries, and follow through with them.
Please call the National Domestic Violence Hotline: 800-799-7233 if you are unsafe or need help dealing with domestic abuse. You can receive 24/7 free and confidential assistance.
Check out A Biblical Response to an Abused Wife for more information and resources for dealing with abuse in Christian marriage.
18. Bring to an end the violence of the wicked and make the righteous secure— you, the righteous God who probes minds and hearts.
19. The Lord examines the righteous, but the wicked, those who love violence, he hates with a passion.
20. “In your anger do not sin”: Do not let the sun go down while you are still angry.
Communication is a common hurdle in marriages. Keeping lines of communication helpful and respectful is key.
21. Do not let any unwholesome talk come out of your mouths, but only what is helpful for building others up according to their needs, that it may benefit those who listen. And do not grieve the Holy Spirit of God, with whom you were sealed for the day of redemption. Get rid of all bitterness, rage and anger, brawling and slander, along with every form of malice. Be kind and compassionate to one another, forgiving each other, just as in Christ God forgave you.
RELATED: VIBRANT DATE NIGHT IDEAS FOR COUPLES
Hard times like sickness, job loss or financial strain will come up from time to time. This is the “for worse” part of “for better or for worse”. God calls us to remain faithful and offer steadfast love even when life is difficult.
Christian couples may discover that tough times can grow your marriage and bring you even closer together.
22. Praise be to the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, the Father of compassion and the God of all comfort, who comforts us in all our troubles, so that we can comfort those in any trouble with the comfort we ourselves receive from God.
-2 Corinthians 2:3-4
23. A deacon must be faithful to his wife and must manage his children and his household well.
-1 Timothy 3:12
24. For I know the plans I have for you, declares the Lord, plans for peace and not for evil, to give you a future and a hope.
Forgiveness is essential to a successful marriage because no one is perfect. Both you and your spouse will mess up and need forgiveness. Practice forgiving quickly and fully.
25. Then Peter came to Jesus and asked, “Lord, how many times shall I forgive my brother or sister who sins against me? Up to seven times?” Jesus answered, “I tell you, not seven times, but seventy-seven times.
26. Above all, love each other deeply, because love covers over a multitude of sins.
-1 Peter 4:8
A habit or lifestyle of lying is a serious breach of trust in a relationship. God desires truth in all our dealings.
27. Truthful lips endure forever, but a lying tongue lasts only a moment.
28. The Lord detests lying lips, but he delights in people who are trustworthy.
29. Therefore each of you must put off falsehood and speak truthfully to your neighbor, for we are all members of one body.
Evangelical Christians have different interpretations of how submission in the 1st century translates into the 21st century, but mutual respect and love in decision making are hallmarks of happy marriage with Christ at the center.
30. Submit to one another out of reverence for Christ.
31. Wives, submit yourselves to your own husbands as you do to the Lord. For the husband is the head of the wife as Christ is the head of the church, his body, of which he is the Savior. Now as the church submits to Christ, so also wives should submit to their husbands in everything. Husbands, love your wives, just as Christ loved the church and gave himself up for her.
32.Likewise, husbands, live with your wives in an understanding way, showing honor to the woman as the weaker vessel, since they are heirs with you of the grace of life, so that your prayers may not be hindered.
-1 Peter 3:7
- For information about mutual submission (Egalitarian view) here is a simple summary and a great book on the topic!
- For information about male/female submission (Complementarian view) here is a helpful summary and a great book on marriage from that perspective.
Arguments and Quarrels
While it is okay to disagree, our conflicts should be handled with love and grace in our words, actions and attitudes. Don’t let angry, mean-spirited or sarcastic speech tear down your marriage.
33. A gentle answer turns away wrath, but harsh words stir up anger.
34. Now the overseer is to be above reproach, faithful to his wife, temperate, self-controlled, respectable, hospitable, able to teach, not given to drunkenness, not violent but gentle, not quarrelsome, not a lover of money. He must manage his own family well and see that his children obey him, and he must do so in a manner worthy of full respect.
-1 Timothy 3:2-4
35. My dear brothers and sisters, take note of this: Everyone should be quick to listen, slow to speak and slow to become angry.
Resources for a Troubled Marriage
- Sacred Marriage by Gary Thomas – A great guidebook to how God can use marriage, not just for your own happiness marriage but to grow you spiritually. It is a challenging read and helpful even if only read by one partner.
- No More Perfect Marriages by Jill and Mark Savage — No marriage is perfect, but every marriage can get better. Jill and Mark share tips for beating the perfection infection and the slow fade that breaks down marriages.
- My Heart is Broken: Next Steps for When Your Spouse is Unfaithful by Jill Savage —
- Christian author and speaker Jill Savage found herself reeling from the discovery of her husband’s infidelity. It was part of one very dark year that included a four-month separation. Their marriage survived and became stronger than before.
- The 7 Principles of Making Marriage Work by John Gottman and Nan Silver — This book is science! Observing real life couples in their marriage lab, the Gottman Institute discovered 7 principles that every every successful and happy marriage include. This book also includes exercises for couples to do in each chapter, making it a great book to work through with your partner.
- It’s Not Supposed to Be This Way by Lysa Terkeurst
- Forgiving What You Can’t Forget by Lysa Terkeurst
- Good Boundaries and Goodbyes by Lysa Terkeurst
This trio of books by Lysa Terkeurst follows her journey through discovering marital problems (her husband’s affairs and drug addiction), forgiving him and their marriage restoration journey, to his repeatedly following back into sinful behaviors and their eventual divorce.
Lysa went through an incredibly difficult situation and these books are both Biblical and personal as Lysa shares her story of God’s grace in her broken marriage.
FAQS About The Bible and Marriage
It’s important to remember that the Bible is not a marriage manual. There is a lot the Bible does not address and well-fleshed out examples of healthy marriage are scarce, if any. That is because the point of the Bible is to tell the story of God’s love and supernatural rescue of humankind.
It is easy to place a human relationship or accomplishment (like having a strong, Christ-centered marriage) as the pinnacle of achievement in the Christian life.
But it is not.
The apostle Paul says in Philippians 3:7-9a:
“But whatever were gains to me I now consider loss for the sake of Christ. What is more, I consider everything a loss because of the surpassing worth of knowing Christ Jesus my Lord, for whose sake I have lost all things. I consider them garbage, that I may gain Christ and be found in him.”-Philippians 3:7-9a
How does the Bible say to resolve conflict in marriage?
Conflict in marriage is just like conflict in any other relationship. Matthew 18:15-17 lays out instructions for action for a Christ follower to take when he sins against or is sinned against.
- Examine yourself for where you may have contributed to the conflict. (Matthew 7:3)
- Approach the person who is at fault and begin a discussion about the situation.
- Bring in someone else to arbitrate if the conflict can’t be resolved. (This could be a marriage counselor for difficult situations or a trusted friend for more simple miscommunications.)
- If the sinful situation continues a wider group of believers can become involved to call the person choosing to remain in sin to both “being sorry”, turning from their sin, making restitution, and right living.
- If the person in sin continues to ignore wise counsel and keeps sinning, separation and treating like an unbeliever is necessary.
At the end of chapter 18 Jesus tells the parable of the unforgiving servant–right after his instructions on dealing with sin among believers. I find it interesting, don’t you–that Jesus tells this parable right after talking about resolving conflict.
What does the Bible say about restoring marriage?
Here is an excerpt from a great article outlining steps to take in restoring your marriage:
Your spouse has a free will and God will not control them back to you, but if you stand for your marriage you are trusting God to work in the situation… In the end, Christ will be glorified before man and God will bless you no matter what your spouse does!-Daniel Kron, Esq
Can God save a broken marriage?
Absolutely! And I’ve seen it happen!
And can God heal you and receive glory from your grace and growth in Him through a painful divorce?
Absolutely! And I’ve seen it happen.
Now to Him who is able to [carry out His purpose and] do superabundantly more than all that we dare ask or think [infinitely beyond our greatest prayers, hopes, or dreams], according to His power that is at work within us, to Him be the glory in the church and in Christ Jesus throughout all generations forever and ever. Amen.-Ephesians 3:20-21, AMP
Two people who love God and make Him the center of their lives can overcome almost anything. May God receive glory through you and through your marriage.