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Relationship Choices


What does the Bible teach us about our key relationships; parents, siblings, friends and especially marriage?


As students finish High School and enter into the workforce or further study, including things like Gap years and travel, they will become fully immersed in a world of relationships of every kind. These have been developing for years at this stage, but now they will become central to their life journey. Of all their relationships, their relationship with the opposite sex, dating, marriage and so on is the most important and the most difficult. The world into which they enter will offer a myriad of alternatives, so a clear and solid foundation in the path God has for them is essential.
When God created us to be like himself and created us male and female, he established us as beings who live in relationship with each other and beings who were to be like God in these relationships. Marriage is the first and primary relationship, and is itself meant to be on earth a picture of the relationship between God and his people, so says Paul in Ephesians 5. From this comes families and then communities and nations, with at each level God calling us to be like him. Sin’s greatest effect is that it warps and destroys these relationships which God has established as places where his nature might be seen, and so it is that the Bible often speaks to these relationships, both in the Old Testament and in the New Testament. Starting with Jesus, his life and teaching, e.g. the Sermon on the Mount, we move to the entire Bible which deals continually with these relationships, and specifically at those places which deal with marriage.
Key Concepts
  • Marriage is God’s idea and not a product of human evolution and so is not merely an expression of our future and open to change
  • Gender differences and complementaries are basic to what it means to be human and central to marriage
  • Understanding the history of marriage and how modern relationships differ from these (same sex marriage is a central current issue)
  • Perechoresis – the unity of the triune God and how we fit with that – the symbol of the trinity and how it is reflected in marriage and family relationships (see Eph 5:22-33 and some interpretations of the Song of Songs)
  • Seeing marriage as a special example of wider relationships lived in Christ and of the importance of those wider principles in the context of the marriage relationship

Scripture References

Genesis 1:26-28; 2:20-25 - the original plan for marriage/marriage is God's idea
Mark 10:2-12 - divorce (see also Matthew 5:31-32; 18:7-9; 19:1-15 and Malachi 2:13-16)
1 Corinthians 7 - Paul on marriage/divorce, sexual relationships outside and inside marriage
Matthew 5:27-30 & 1 Corinthians 6 - sexual immorality
Proverbs 4:7-23 - the call to marriage fidelity (see also Proverbs 5; 6:20-7:27 in relation to sexual temptation)
Song of Songs - whole book seen as a love poem celebrating marriage and the intimacy to be found there
Ephesians 4:1-6:4 - marriage, 5:22-33, is set in the context of wider relationships, which form the basis for the marriage relationship,  and is itself further set in the context of our relationship to God (see also Matthew 18:15-35; Romans 12; 1 Corinthians 12 and 13; Philippians 2 and Colossians 3 for fundamental Christian relationships including parent/child relationships)


Genesis 2:21 - Matthew Henry on the rib: not from his feet that he should lord it over her, nor from his head that she should lord it over him, but from his rib, under his arm that he should care for and protect her ( and she should love and nurture him)
Five Love Languages by Gary Chapman - Kindle Edition
Josh McDowell Website on relationship issues facing Teens - go to Resource tab in menu at the top of the page for further options. Apart from the free resources, there is an option to purchase a book or a book/DVD set.
I am second Website Topics page - topics page of videos featuring mostly young adults sharing honestly about their walk with God and their struggles in a variety of key areas. This website is useful for a number of units and should be used in collaboration with other teachers
Marriage/Divorce/ReMarriage - For Deeper investigation. This is an area where very careful reading of the Bible is needed and some deep thought on how it applies to hard realities of life. The articles listed are quite rigorous and do not always agree.
Youtube Videos related to Christian teen relationships
 - also see suggested videos along the same lines
Sexuality Resources related to same Sex Marriage
https://bible.org/topics/2618/Homosexuality,%20Lesbianism - articles on the topic of homosexuality and related themes
https://bible.org/topics/383/Marriage - articles on marriage and related themes
http://www.monergism.com/topics/sexuality - wide range of articles and resources
What does the Bible teach about homosexuality? - Kindle book by Kevin De Young
Homosexuality: The Use of Scientific Research in the Church's Moral Debate - Kindle book, good for relating to scientific questions
Don’t Mess with Marriage link https://drive.google.com/file/d/0B6S7lBI9Wi5XbzdhcVMxYUFuU2M/view?usp=sharing - booklet put out by the Catholic Church in Tasmania, prompting them to be taken to court for offending homosexuals
Do Not Commit Adultery video - great discussion
Gay Marriage: Right or Wrong and Who Decides? - short booklet put out by Creation International looking at the major questions. The associated articles and links to research papers on the page are worth following.

Ideas/Strategies for Lessons

(See also units on Ethics, and also Lifestyle choices for Resources and Teaching ideas)
Use videos or movie clips in relation to discussions suggestions below to support and generate discussions
Have students suggest the issues they are most concerned about and use these to generate content
Year 12:

Separate girls from boys across the midline of the classroom. Gte them into discussion groups of 4-6

They write a prioritised set of the 4 most important characteristics that they feel that the opposite gender looks for in a partner

Whiteboard the differences and allow the groups to correct each other…this leads to vibrant conversation and many false assumptions and fallacies about what they have believed are dealt with in a non-threatening manner

The 5 Greek loves: Theos, Phileos, Koinonia, Eros, Agape – 1 Corinthians 13, 1 John – perfect love drives out fear

Love languages and how we express our love to one another

What makes a good father and why we have so many women in Mental Health Institutions.

Dangers of technology, pornography and the gateways of destruction – facebook, online relationship

Restorative relationships – conflict resolution and how to live in harmony

Preparing for marriage – what we offer our husband/wife is what we have become – ie physical fitness, emotional fitness, employment and making the most of our gifting, being a person of good character (Proverbs 31), seeing what culture we are steeped in, becoming the person you would like to be, praying for your future partner. Predestination vs making the best of the situation. Understanding the ceremony, father’s role of covering – dating issues etc Unequally yoked