For far too many people, the subject of marriage is like a three-ring circus. First, there is the engagement ring. Next comes the wedding ring. Then, there is suffering.
One lady said that she got married because she was looking for the ideal but it quickly turned into an ordeal, and now she wants a new deal. One man said that he and his wife were happy for twenty years . . . and then they got married.
Many people today are disappointed with marriage. They wake up one morning only to discover that the reality they live in looms far from what they had once dreamt or imagined. Because of this, some are getting out of marriage almost as quickly as they got into it.
On top of that, the break-up of a marriage these days doesn’t seem to carry the same gravity that it did in the past. So-called “no-fault” divorces offer the option of an amicable split. My question is, if things are so amicable, then why not stay married? What we are experiencing today is the ending of marriages without even a hint of remorse.
It reminds me of a guy who went to the Super Bowl. The stadium was packed, but the seat next to him sat empty. The man behind him questioned him about the empty seat. He answered, “That seat was for my wife. She would have been here, but she died.”
The other man offered his condolences and asked him if he didn’t have a friend that he could have asked to come with him rather than let the seat remain empty. The man replied, “I do, but all my friends said they wanted to go to the funeral instead.”
Now, I realize I’m making light of a weighty subject, but I’m doing so to illustrate how the seriousness of the wedding vows seems to no longer be honored. Statistics remind us what we already know, either from personal experience or from our friends, and that is that over 50 percent of all marriages will end in divorce. Over half of every promise made that “until death do us part” gets broken.
If we do not understand the nature of the agreement we made when we got married, then we will not be prone to protect it. What’s even worse is that neither will we be apt to benefit from it.
Our marriages today are deteriorating at such a high rate not because we no longer get along, but because we have lost sight of the purpose and prosperity of the marriage covenant.
Most people today view marriage as a means of looking for love, happiness, and fulfillment. Make no mistake about it, those things are important. Those things are critical. They are just not the most important, or the most critical. Yet because we have made second things first, as important as second things are, we are having trouble finding anything at all.
Marriage is a covenant. It is a covenantal union designed to strengthen the capacity of each partner to carry out the plan of God in their lives.