The institution of marriage has fallen on hard times—divorce rates are soaring, men and women are testing the marriage waters by living together first, to say nothing about society’s attempts to redefine marriage to include same-sex couples. But marriage is a divinely designed institution, and if marriage is to thrive in an increasingly hostile culture then we must first consult the architect of marriage…God.
Strike the Original Match
Of all the hot-button issues of our day, marriage sits near the top of the list. With a gaggle of voices clamoring for an audience, the masses have grown increasingly confused about the most fundamental understanding of marriage. As Christians place a high value on God’s Word, we look to it for clarity on the most significant questions. How does God define marriage? What direction does the Bible offer on making marriage last? What is the nature of commitment and what does it look like in this day and age? This series from Chuck Swindoll will bring clarity and offer direction as you navigate the views and vices that threaten this most sacred union.
Changes are never cheap. Renovating a house is expensive…but restoring a home is infinitely more costly! No one ever worked through a difficult, hurting marriage without paying a very high price. This fact alone causes many partners to refuse the process. The pain of changing is, in the opinion of many, too great to bear. But for those who do change, how sweet it is!
Damage to a marriage can begin even before the vows. Among the greatest threats to a new union are the young bride and groom’s thoughts about what life with a new spouse will be like. Expectations often lead to broken dreams, as invariably, young couples fall into the trap of looking forward to a non-existent reality. However, there is no ideal marriage this side of sin. Instead, marriage promises a lifetime of two people striving together for maturity.
The air today is filled with the shrill cry of “my rights.” And in the centre ring of this loud arena is the home—more specifically, the marriage bond. Mate-swapping, group marriages, and living together without official marriage commitments are realities no longer carried out under the hush-hush blanket of shame and disgrace. Is monogamy an outdated concept?
The reality of crumbling marriages in our world should cause God’s people to stand up and take notice. Thankfully, the Bible provides clear direction regarding the proper materials it takes to build a lasting marriage.
God’s plan for renovating a house into a home calls for some specific behaviours and attitudes, which serve as bricks or building blocks for the relationship. Some of these bricks are contributed by the wife and some by the husband. Regrettably, both sets of bricks can be substituted with cheap imitations. These may seem to be adequate and acceptable at first, but over the long haul, they cause great damage.
Immediately upon the mention of the word “honeymoon,” most people picture a time of intimate romance and unrestrained physical affection between newlyweds. But God’s plan is for married couples to enjoy such delights without shame or reluctance until “death do us part.”
It is a proven fact that each year termites destroy more structures than fire does—but it’s always the fire that makes the headlines, not the termites. This is also true in a marriage. Most homes are not destroyed because of enormous, headline-making fires…but because of the quiet, gnawing, unnoticed, irritating insects who eat away at the troth, or trust, in a relationship year after year.
If the truth were known, not some but most marriages are marked by periodic skirmishes—and occasionally all-out wars! Frequently, marital warfare occurs in the trenches of belligerence or moodiness or both. In this message, we will take a look at why couples fight, as well as the rules that can keep any fight clean, good, and beneficial.
Like giant containers of volatile gas, money must be managed with great care. Because most of us don’t have more than we need, we must be wise and faithful with what we have. No home can escape the clutches of coin and currency—so we must learn how to implement wise policies of earning, giving, spending, saving, investing, and borrowing.
Every which way you turn, the culture, through the ever-present media, launches a new attack on our dedication to the biblical view of marriage. How can Christian marriages survive such onslaughts? Only through commitment. The good old-fashioned hard work of sticking it out!
In a world where marriage is under attack by pressures outside and inside the Christian church, God’s people cannot abdicate. We have a responsibility to ourselves, to our world, and to our God to stand strong in our marital commitment.
Everybody gets older whether you admit it or not. The question is, “Will we grow sweeter, or will we rot?” Once all the children have left the nest and two people who honeymooned together 25 or 30 years ago are left to “start over,” how can they resist negative tendencies and stay young at heart? How can they support one another's growth toward spiritual maturity?
The last stage of marriage is that period of time when the nest is empty—either empty of the children or of one of the mates—or both. This is a critical stage in the home. All sorts of strange and unpredictable feelings transpire, and we find ourselves in need of stabilizing thoughts and direction.