Marriage is very highly regarded in the Bible. From creation, God used the phrase “one flesh” to describe the intimate union of man and wife. This union forms a new family unit and supersedes even parent-child relationships in importance (Genesis 2:23-24). Ephesians 5:22-33 beautifully describes God’s plan for marriage – it is modelled on the relationship between Christ and the church, with self-sacrificial love and utter commitment from the husband, and loving submission from the wife.
The importance of the marriage relationship is further underscored by the permanence that God requires of it. Marriage is a union that God has created and to pull it asunder is destroying God’s work (Matt 19). Thus, marriage can be said to be the epitome of loving and faithful relationships between humans. With such a high view of marriage, it follows that husbands and wives, and those around them, should make much effort to ensure the permanence and healthiness of the marriage relationship.
In terms of friendship, in the Bible, friends are to build up, help and encourage one another. That is the great value of friendship, seen in numerous psgs (eg Ecc 4: 9-12). The highest thing a friend can do is to lay down our lives for our friends (John 15:13). This is precisely what Jesus did on the cross for us, and our highest calling as friends will be to imitate our Lord Jesus Christ, seeking earnestly the good of our friends, self-sacrificially loving them.
Pulling all the strings together for your first question, it would seem that marriage is the highest priority in a person’s life. If a friendship is causing chaos and grief in the home, it will be good for husband and wife to come together and honestly and humbly reassess the friendship. Possibly painful adjustments from husband or wife might have to be made to so that the friendship no longer strains the marriage. As for friends, our concern should be first and foremost whether our actions are edifying to the health or permanence of the marriage of our friends, and not just our possibly selfish enjoyment of the friendship. It would be helpful for friends to reflect on whether their way of relating is helpful to their friend’s marriage and might mean a different way of relating or lessened communication. Different situations will need different ‘solutions’ (and I am not sure of the situation behind this question) but ultimately it is honouring to God for each party to reflect on the situation and strive to do what is loving and best for the marriage, and in the friendship.
Answers are kindly provided by our friends at Christianity.net.au