In Solomon’s counsel to his son in Proverbs 5:15-17, he emphasizes the requirements of marriage with these words: “Drink water from your own cistern and running water from your own well. Should your fountains be dispersed abroad, streams of water in the streets? Let them be only your own and not for strangers with you.”
The requirements of marriage include:
- Diligent labor (v. 15). No cistern exists by accident. A cistern exists only because of careful planning, deliberate construction, and diligent maintenance. It is not the result of wishful, “happily ever after” thinking. The same can be said for a well. In Solomon’s day, wells were dug by hand. It required focused, strenuous, persistent toil. A good marriage is no accident. It requires hard work.
- Focused attention (v. 16). To benefit from the blessing of a freshwater spring focused attention must be given to turn such a wonderful resource into a practical blessing. A spring (or fountain) becomes a waste of a tremendously valuable resource if it is not tended to and thus its water supply runs out into the streets. For a marriage to become a fountain of joy and blessing, your mate needs focused attention.
- Exclusivity (v. 17). An undefiled marriage bed is an essential requirement to marital joy and fulfillment. Infidelity pollutes and defiles the purity of a relationship that God intends to be monogamous. “Forsaking all others” is essential to a joyous marriage.