The current statistics about marriage are sobering. The classic union of a mother and a father with their own children is becoming extinct. Now less than 25% of all the families in America have a mom and a dad in the home with children. In addition, 60% of all people live together before they get married. And over half of all the children that will be born this year will be born out of wedlock.
Why the marriage fallout?
Some experts say the reason marriage is disintegrating is due to our failure to hold marriages and marriage commitments in high esteem. The Christian family is not immune to this fallout either. Most couples in our society bail out of their relationships as soon as things get difficult because they see marriage as a contract or temporary agreement, which can easily be broken.
But this isn’t the way that God sees marriage. According to the creator and architect of marriage – marriage is a holy covenant.
Contrary to modern thinking, marriage is not a contract between two people until “lack-of-fulfillment do you part.” It is a covenant, which is a serious, solemn vow before God. And the consequences of breaking this covenant are extraordinarily serious.
Ecclesiastes 5:4-5 warns against breaking a vow made before God, who hates divorce: “When you make a vow to God, do not delay to fulfill it. He has no pleasure in fools; fulfill your vow. It is better not to make a vow than to make one and not fulfill it.”
When my wife and I were first married, we had a lot of problems. After we had our first argument, I remember thinking that I had married the wrong person. But what I came to realize was that when I entered into a covenant relationship with her, she became the right person. The reason I’m still married today is because of a lot of hard work but also because I made a covenant … not just because I felt like staying in my marriage.
When we begin to view marriage as a serious, life-long vow and commitment, our view on divorce completely changes. Instead of contemplating leaving our spouses, we begin to start thinking, “What do I have to do to work this out?” And “What do I need to change in me?”
It all starts with understanding God’s plan for your marriage:
Remember that marriage was God’s idea. His original design for marriage is found in the very first marriage in the Bible with Adam and Eve. That is why a man leaves his father and mother and is united to his wife, and they become one flesh. (Genesis 2:24)
The goal of marriage is oneness — intimacy. We all long to be loved and cared for – warts and all – and God wants this for us, too. He made us spiritual beings with a soul (our mind, will and emotions), and He made us with a physical body. Not only does God want you to be spiritually connected – to have both of your hearts connect spiritually – but He also wants you to have soul oneness and physical oneness. This is only possible if you spend time talking to one another, having fun together and being physically intimate with each other.
When you draw close to God, you’ll draw closer to one another. Instead of trying to fix your spouse, first admit your own wrongs and struggles and then ask God for help. None of us can be the wife or husband that God wants us to be without Christ’s help.
This week, we’re beginning the series, House or Home: Marriage Edition – God’s Blueprint for a Great Marriage. In it, we’ll explore God’s design for marriage and the roles of husbands and wives, as well as offer clear and compelling help for couples longing for unity and fulfillment in their marriages. It’s my prayer that as we begin to fully trust in God’s plan for marriage, more and more relationships will be transformed.
Keep Pressin’ Ahead,
Chip Ingram, Teaching Pastor
Living on the Edge
Founder & Teaching Pastor, Living on the Edge
Chip Ingram is the CEO and teaching pastor of Living on the Edge, an international teaching and discipleship ministry. A pastor for over thirty years, Chip has a unique ability to communicate truth and challenge people to live out their faith. He is the author of many books, including The Real God, Culture Shock and The Real Heaven. Chip and his wife, Theresa, have four grown children and twelve grandchildren and live in California.More Articles by Chip