God instituted marriage in the book of Genesis because He knew that “it was not good for man to be alone”. (Gen 2:18) Jesus said “what God has joined together, man should not separate”. (Matt 19:6) Yet in our society more than 50% of all marriages end in divorce or separation. The major reasons given for marriage failure are : Selfishness, financial problems, in-law problems, sexual problems, and pornography.
Selfishness is seen in many ways. When the goal of a person is their own pleasure and not that of their mate, the selfishness can rip apart the relationship. A marriage between ‘spoiled’ individuals, where each is used to having their own way is in for a rough time. Marriage is to be like the relationship between Christ and the church – where each gives total commitment and attention to the other. This is only possible when both parties have their first allegiance to Christ, then to each other. Eph 5:28-33
Money and problems with its use are usually involved somehow in marital discord. Failure to understand the proper use of credit has lead to many divorces. Parents need to teach the necessity and importance of paying debts on time. Rom 13:7-8 Society promotes the concept of covetousness in young couples who feel that they need or ‘deserve’ everything right away although it may have taken their parents years to attain some of those things.
Young people must be taught the role of trust and faithfulness in marriage. Many believe that the important things in life are a big house, social standing, fine cars, and an abundance of material things. Hollywood and pornography lead to unrealistic expectations which destroy the marital oneness. A lack of Bible study, and indifference toward God and worship as a couple will cause couples to have few convictions about what is right and wrong in the marriage relationship. The proper place for the fulfillment of sexual desires is in marriage. 1Cor 7:1-5 This is another area in which selfishness must give way to tender, loving care for each others needs.
And each of the parties in a marriage needs to understand that their commitment is now to each other, and not to their individual families. Gen 2:24 “For this reason a man will leave his father and mother and be united to his wife, and they will become one flesh.” They are to become one in purpose, one in action, one in mind, as well as one in body. The oneness that God intends can be achieved only when the marriage is based on faith in and obedience to the commands of Jesus Christ. Have you obeyed His commands? John14:15 “Jesus said: If you love me, you will obey what I command.”
Church of Christ in Cincinnati, OH Arlington Church of Christ