But grow in grace and in the knowledge of our Lord and Saviour Jesus Christ. To him be glory both now and forever. Amen.
2 Peter 3:18
PARENTAL PERMISSION TO MARRY
“And Abraham said unto his eldest servant of his house, that ruled over all that he had, Put, I pray thee, thy hand under my thigh: And I will make thee swear by the LORD, the God of heaven, and the God of the earth, that thou shalt not take a wife unto my son of the daughters of the Canaanites, among whom I dwell: But thou shalt go unto my country, and to my kindred, and take a wife unto my son Isaac.” (Genesis 24:2-4)
Notice that in the passage quoted above, it was the father (Abraham) and not the son (Isaac) who decided whom Isaac should marry. If anyone objects that this was under the Law of Moses, we reply that this was long before Moses was born.
Isaac received this tradition of parental choice of marriage partner from his father Abraham and passed it on to his own son Jacob. “And Isaac called Jacob, and blessed him, and charged him, and said unto him, Thou shalt not take a wife of the daughters of Canaan.” (Genesis 28:1)
Jacob obeyed his father Isaac and was blessed of God. Jacob’s twin brother Esau married Canaanite women and caused his parents grief. “And Esau was forty years old when he took to wife Judith the daughter of Beeri the Hittite, and Bashemath the daughter of Elon the Hittite: Which were a grief of mind unto Isaac and to Rebekah.” (Genesis 26:34-35)
God confirmed this time honored tradition. Several hundred years later, He told Moses to command the men of Israel to forbid their children to intermarry with the Canaanites: “Neither shalt thou make marriages with them; thy daughter thou shalt not give unto his son, nor his daughter shalt thou take unto thy son.” (Deuteronomy 7:3)
In all of the Scriptures just quoted above, it is the father’s duty to have the final say whom his sons and daughters may or may not marry. And we find the same parental authority assumed in the New Testament. Paul, speaking of the bride’s father, writes: “So then he that giveth her in marriage doeth well; but he that giveth her not in marriage doeth better.” (1 Corinthians 7:38)
Our Lord Jesus Christ shows that parental permission was always the accepted way of deciding on a marriage partner—even long before the time of Abraham, when, speaking of the days of Noah, He says: “For as in the days that were before the flood they were eating and drinking, marrying and giving in marriage, until the day that Noah entered into the ark” (Matthew 24:38)
Why is parental permission to marry necessary? Let us suggest several reasons from Scripture.
Parents normally want the best for their children (Genesis 24:2-4).
Parents are older and are more experienced than their children. “Hearken unto thy father that begat thee, and despise not thy mother when she is old” (Proverbs 23:22)
Parents tend to see things in others that their children will often overlook. “Honour thy father and thy mother” (Exodus 20:12)
Parents want a continuity of faith and social harmony with their children and grandchildren (Genesis 26:34-35).
Fathers have a duty to diligently teach their faith to their sons (includes sons in laws) and their sons' sons (grandsons). “Only take heed to thyself, and keep thy soul diligently, lest thou forget the things which thine eyes have seen, and lest they depart from thy heart all the days of thy life: but teach them thy sons, and thy sons' sons;” (Deuteronomy 4:9)
Fathers have a duty to forbid marriage of their children to unbelievers (Deuteronomy 7:3 and 2 Corinthians 6:14).
Marriage is not just between two individuals. It is between two families. Therefore the prospective bride and groom should definitely seek their parents permission and blessing before marrying (Exodus 20:12).
On this last point, we may add that sometimes this may not be possible. The parents may be physically dead, or still dead in trespasses and sins. The child seeking permission to marry may be a new convert to Christ.
But even in this situation, the permission of the parents should first be sought. If however, the parents refuse permission,
simply on the new faith of the child, then it is better to obey God than men. Marry in the Lord.
Parental permission to marry is clearly God's Law. But many of us were unaware of it and broke God's Law by not asking our parent's permission to marry. Others may have been aware of God's Law in this vital area, and yet felt it unimportant in an age of grace.
In both cases however, we were wrong. We need to seek God's forgiveness through our Lord Jesus Christ. And then we need to teach the correct way of parental permission to marry to our children and grandchildren.
For more Bible details on why parental authority is so important and vital to a blessed, happy life (including a blessed marriage) click on the following link: A Misunderstood Commandment.
George Theiss is a combat veteran of Vietnam who now follows the Lamb of God. He and his wife, Christy, have been married 42 years (in 2019). They have 8 grown children. You can contact George at firstname.lastname@example.org
Copyright © 2002 through 2019 by George Theiss