Jump Start # 3457
Proverbs 31:12 “She does him good and not evil all the days of her life.”
I sat down with a young couple recently to talk to them about marriage. As I was looking at them, many thoughts were swirling in my mind. They are young and in love and hopeful. And, here I sat being married for more than four decades. Being married is a blessing. It is something that God invites us to. Marriage is His idea.
Now, here are the sad realities of where we are these days:
· The average length of a marriage is 20 years
· On average, marriages that end in divorce last just 8 years
· Living together before marriage, increases the chance of divorce by 40%
· On average, there are 2,400 divorces a day
· Half of the children in this country will witness their parents getting a divorce
· 1 in 5 women divorced are living in poverty
When one focuses upon such a sad state of marriage, you feel like telling a young couple who are thinking about getting married to “RUN.” But our failure to do things right does not mean God’s plan is flawed. It is we who are flawed.
Unreal expectations, poor communications, keeping God out of the relationship, not worshiping together in a Biblically healthy congregation, selfishness, in-laws butting in, financial stress—some of these and all of these are enough to chip away at the foundation God built. A lack of trust, harmony, and forgiveness will sink the ship of marriage.
So, how do we keep our marriages together. More than that, how do we keep them spiritual, thriving and healthy? We all journey through some tough and difficult passageways. Some make it and many don’t. Some hang together, but things are stressful, empty, and lacking joy.
Our verse today helps. It’s from the section commonly called ‘The Virtuous Woman.’ But, the back story is that these are the words of a mom to her son, the king. This is the kind of woman who will help you. The verse before says that the heart of her husband trusts her. Our verse says that she does him good, not evil. Immediately, we are seeing the idea of the right ingredients in a healthy relationship. Trust. Goodness. Kindness. Thinking of the other. Putting the other first.
Here are some suggestions:
First, men, you must take the lead. You are the head. That doesn’t mean be bossy, selfish or demanding. You are following Jesus. Your example is Jesus. Jesus brings the best out of the church, so must we husbands. So, sit down and watch that soapy Hallmark Christmas movie with your woman. Don’t be on your phone, don’t be making rude comments, or sighing, or worse, sleeping, as you watch that movie. If it means a lot to her, you make it mean a lot to you.
Men, you set the temperature in the house. Not literally, but emotionally. So, when things are too hot, cool things down. And, when things are icy, warm things up. There are days when your wife just wants to talk. She doesn’t want solutions. She’s looking for ears that sympathize and hearts that care. You, provide that.
Second, each person in the marriage needs to grow closer to the Lord. Like a triangle, as the sides get closer to the top, the sides pull closer to each other. That’s simple geometry. It’s also simple Bible principles. Living with grace, patience, love and forgiveness enriches relationships. Stop demanding perfection, because you are not perfect.
And, through the years, the insides, which are hard to see at first, become more beautiful and the most important aspect of your marriage. It’s wonderful to worship together. It’s wonderful to pray together. It’s wonderful to be on the same page about life. It’s wonderful to talk together about classes, sermons, and little gems found in personal Bible studies.
Third, nail the exit door shut and keep it that way. Don’t ever mention divorce as a possibility. You are in it for the long haul, and that’s the way you approach it. You don’t threaten to leave. You don’t say things that hurt.
There will be rocky moments. Marriage is like two rivers that come together. At first, there is a little turbulence, but down stream things smooth out and it becomes a beautiful river in which you cannot even tell which part is which. The two have become one. They have become one in body, mind, soul, heart, vision and hope. They speak as one. They believe as one. They simply go together.
Stressful jobs, death of parents, car crashes, moving, raising children—those happen to all of us. Those things can become deal breakers and game changers or they are just another bump on the road of life. Together we get through them. Together we are better because of them. Together we are there for each other.
Satan wants us to believe that getting married is a waste of time. God knows better. We need godly marriages to show the world it can be done and to offer hope for the future.
Staying together—it’s not only possible, it’s what God expects.