The Bible’s Six Most Memorable Couples

People might not think that Scripture is especially romantic, but the Bible's got plenty of heart-warming tales about love and marriage. Below, we take a closer look at six inspiring couples.

By Laura Schaefer

odern daters often draw inspiration from couples they read about in thick, juicy novels. It's delicious to turn the pages and follow along as a grand romance unfolds. But if Edward and Bella are leaving you wanting, maybe you need to reach for the best-selling book of all time… the Bible. You'll
But it's only human nature to get a little bored with Eden.
find everything within its pages: lust, revenge, tenderness, courage, humor and even romance. Read on to learn more about the six most memorable couples from the Good Book.

Couple #1: Adam and Eve
The first couple had it all: peace, love, and excellent real estate. But it's only human nature to get a little bored with Eden, so Eve had to go poking around the tree of knowledge where the serpent convinced her to eat the forbidden fruit. Adam, powerless in the face of his partner's wiles, also tried the fruit. God was not impressed, and all of humankind has suffered because of it even since then. Thanks a lot, guys. Talk about memorable!

Couple #2: Abraham and Sarah
"I've always gotten a kick out of the stories of Sarah and Abraham in Genesis," says Robert Hutchinson, author of The Politically Incorrect Guide to the Bible. "There is a very down-to-earth, real-world quality to them that strikes me as very realistic. They're an old married couple desperate for a child. Finally, Sarah offers to let Abraham resort to surrogate motherhood by offering him her maid, Hagar, which ends up making Sarah very jealous. In the end, God tells Abraham that Sarah, too, will conceive in her old age… and she literally laughs in God's face! 'Am I to have pleasure at my age?' she asks incredulously. She names her child Isaac (from the Hebrew root, yitshak, for laughter). I've always loved that! I can hear Sarah snickering across 4,000 years of history."

Couple #3: Jacob and Rachel
This is a story of love at first site, so to speak. Jacob first spotted Rachel at a well after arriving in Haran as a young man; she was a shepherdess. Jacob agreed to work for seven years for her father, Laban, so that he could eventually marry her. That's devotion! When the time came, however, Laban pulled a switcheroo and sent a veiled Leah, Rachel's sister, to marry Jacob instead. When Jacob learned of the trickery, he agreed to work for Laban another seven years if he could also marry Rachel. "If you can see beyond the Middle Eastern context, the Biblical love stories that are preserved are pretty romantic," Hutchinson notes. "Jacob is so passionate for his beautiful Rachel that he is willing to work a total of 14 years to have her as his bride, just to be near her. How many modern men would do that?"

Couple #4: Ruth and Boaz
The story of Ruth and Boaz begins with an interesting twist. At its center is Ruth's loyalty and love for her mother-in-law, Naomi. Ruth had originally been married to Naomi's son
This is the book to turn to if you're interested in the lustful side of romance.
before he, his brother, and her father-in-law died. Instead of returning to her own family in Moab afterwards, Ruth chose to stick with Naomi and travel to the older woman's home town of Bethlehem. She gave this memorable speech in Ruth 1:16 (ESV, 2001) when making her decision: "For where you go I will go, and where you lodge I will lodge. Your people shall be my people, and your God my God." On arrival in her new home, Ruth gathered food by gleaning in the barley fields of Naomi's relative, Boaz. Boaz, noticing Ruth's exceptional loyalty, asked his workers to leave behind extra grain for her, and then he fell in love with her. The two married and became the great-grandparents to King David.

This sweet and humble tale is interpreted by many as a love story mainly between Ruth and Naomi instead of Ruth and Boaz. "Of course, the straight world fights a gay interpretation," explains Dr. John McNeill, psychotherapist and author of Sex As God Intended. "But there is a reason Ruth's speech to Naomi is included in so many lesbian weddings. The Bible treats a loving gay relationship as good."

Couple #5: The bride and groom in the Song of Solomon
"One of the main misconceptions is that the Bible is anti-sex," says A.J. Jacobs, editor-at-large of Esquire magazine and author of The Year of Living Biblically: One Man's Humble Quest to Follow the Bible as Literally as Possible. "If you think that it is, you should read the Song of Solomon, which is probably the bawdiest section of the Bible. It's a collection of love songs with lines like: 'Your two breasts are like two fawns, twins of a gazelle, that feed among the lilies.' And later again: 'Oh, may your breasts be like clusters of the vine, and the scent of your breath like apples.'" This is the book to turn to if you're interested in the lustful side of romance, because it's an erotic poem that traces one relationship from meeting to courtship to consummation.

Couple #6: Mary and Joseph
Joseph, the humble carpenter, trusted in God and in Mary enough to marry and travel with her to Bethlehem. Mary was, of course, pregnant via the Holy Spirit already. It would be a lot for any man to understand, but by Biblical accounts, Joseph did so with aplomb. "The love of Joseph and Mary displays not only deep devotion, but also extraordinary courage," explains Richard R. Losch, retired Episcopal priest, history aficionado, and author of All the People in the Bible: An A-Z Guide to the Saints, Scoundrels, and Other Characters in Scripture. "In that society, Mary knew the social rejection and the danger to her very life that would result when she accepted God's call to conceive Jesus before she was married. Likewise, though Joseph had the power to save her life by marrying her, he knew that by doing so he also would be socially rejected and scorned. He would be accused of fathering the child out of wedlock, and would be held in contempt for so doing. In spite of all of this, their love transcended their fear."

Laura Schaefer is the author of The Teashop Girls and Planet Explorers Walt Disney World: A Travel Guidebook for Kids.
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