Dos and Don'ts, all we need to know is the Bible; however, not all is covered explicitly. Discuss how Christians should act or what they should do when facing divorce, smoking, and other issues.

The State of Marriage

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  • The State of Marriage

    In 2011 there was 53% as many divorces as there were marriages. That shows that half of all marriages end in divorce. But, the actual state of marriage is far worse. Some marriages, especially late-in-life marriages end in death, never being a long and happy marriage, but never adding to the divorce statistic. Other people stick to miserable marriages, even separating without actually getting a divorce. Many people, including Christians, cohabitate without getting married, so their failed relationships don’t add to the divorce statistics. How many people enter into marriage with a pure marriage bed and then have their marriage survive to old age? Maybe some of our parents, but what about us, and especially our children?

    Christians have a higher divorce rate than non-Christians. Maybe that is partly explained by the possibility that Christians are more likely to get married than others, but I haven’t found statistics to support that. America has far higher rate of divorce than most of the rest of the world.

    Most Christians don’t even pretend to believe divorce is a sin, but accept it as a difficult solution. Some Christians are actively trying to cover up the divorce rate. This con is performed by polling people and comparing the number of those married vs. those divorced. This drops the purported divorce rate below 30%, because not everyone who is going to get divorced has yet gotten divorced. Another trick is to argue that the divorce rate is much lower for those who attend church. But, remember, non-Christians (presumably people who don’t go to church) have a lower divorce rate than Christians (many of whom do go to church). When you measure the number of divorced people in church, you're leaving out the sizable number of those who left the church when they were divorced. Their marriages failed while they were attending church.

    I see Churches often serve as facilitators of divorce by being very supportive of the divorced, even to those responsible to breaking up the marriage (those who left their spouse for another, or those who filed for divorce without biblical grounds). I see professed Christians quickly recommend divorce to others in marital difficulty, even when there are no biblical grounds. Could people in megachurches even notice when the marriage of a brother/sister is in trouble, to be of support in saving the marriage?

    Approval of divorce is only the tip of the iceberg of how the Christian community contributes to the divorce rate and related suffering. From a secular perspective, I’d have to conclude that Christians who stay married do so in spite of the Christian community, not because of the Christian community. The end of cultural Christianity, like a dry lake bed, is exposing those who professed Christ but never did belong to Christ.

  • #2
    I think that culturally the idea of marriages has become a joyless joke. How many shows show marriage as being miserable with a nagging wife and a fat husband with a beer gut or comedians joke about the sexless marriage. Socially, I think that makes people, especially younger people, hesitate getting married younger. But they are still dating so they end up living with their partners to save expenses and for experience. While I'm not supportive of anyone marrying straight out of high school because the person you are then isn't the person you're by the time you reach your late twenties, even thirties. I think the church and families should encourage their children to focus on school and their career until they are confident they want to marry. I think that the church as made concessions to appear modern and hip during the eighties and nineties, maybe sooner but I wasn't alive yet so I don't know. They've lost not only in the area of marriage but sex outside of marriage. If you don't need to get married to have sex, why get married? But the church doesn't shame it's followers for either of these and I think they are connected. As for Christians being more likely to get divorced than non-Christians, I wonder if that has to do with the idea that they can just pray for forgiveness for their personal selfishness. Non-Christians, atheist, have to live with the guilt that they walked away from their relationship. But mostly, I think the high divorce rates is a result of the church trying so hard to be seen a certain way that is no longer stands its ground about what it's supposed to stand for.
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    • #3
      Could the reason we have so many divorces be the result of people getting married before they know the person they want to marry well enough? Or do they have unrealistic expectations believing their partners will be perfect?
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      • #4
        Originally posted by Smithee View Post
        Could the reason we have so many divorces be the result of people getting married before they know the person they want to marry well enough?
        This doesn't seem likely because in some cultures marriages are arranged by families and the bride and groom have no chance to get to know each other before the wedding. The marriage of Isaac and Rebekah is one example of this. They didn't even meet until after their marriage had been arranged.
        Clyde Herrin's Blog
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        • #5
          From where I am, divorce isn't really approved by the law. We have annulment here which takes a long time before it can even be certified. It's basically nullifying the marriage so it seems like it didn't even happen in the first place. And only celebrities, politicians and basically, rich people that can afford annulment. So in reality, there's not much separation here especially in legal marriages. But that's not to say that there aren't people who live together without the sanctity of marriage, because there are as well. But for the most part, people consider marriage here as holy and would think twice about getting an annulment.

          I don't know why divorce or annulment happens for sure. They might have their reasons and it's not really something that I should get into. But for me, marriage is hard work. It's something you work on every day, every minute of your married life. You cannot just leave because of arguments or financial hardships. The reason you got into marriage is because of love but that's not enough to stay in it. You need patience, kindness, care and understanding among all other things. You need to see the person despite his or her flaws and love him or her as who he or she is.

          And maybe that's why many marriages don't work. We become selfish, thinking only of ourselves. And when that happens, how can we love selflessly? How can we see the person despite the flaws?
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          • #6
            I don't see that the Bible says divorce is a sin. What it says is that 'God hates divorce.' God hates a lot of things, and I don't think all of those are sins. For instance, isn't it a little like you or I saying, "I hate it when people get cancer." That's my opinion anyway.

            However, regarding the numbers of people who are married but aren't happy/successful, I fully agree. It makes me sick when I hear people pretty much bragging about how long they have stayed married, as if the actual 'staying married' part is the most important vow to keep. You could break every single vow aside from that and they would still think it was a successful marriage because it stood the test of time. Not in my opinion!
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            • #7
              Originally posted by VioletCake View Post
              I don't see that the Bible says divorce is a sin. What it says is that 'God hates divorce.' God hates a lot of things, and I don't think all of those are sins. For instance, isn't it a little like you or I saying, "I hate it when people get cancer." That's my opinion anyway.
              No it's not. What you are suggesting is more like us saying that we hate you because you have cancer. Or, that God should remove you swiftly from the body because you're a cancer .....

              Originally posted by VioletCake View Post
              However, regarding the numbers of people who are married but aren't happy/successful, I fully agree. It makes me sick when I hear people pretty much bragging about how long they have stayed married, as if the actual 'staying married' part is the most important vow to keep. You could break every single vow aside from that and they would still think it was a successful marriage because it stood the test of time. Not in my opinion!
              How many people do you know that brag about how long they have stayed married while breaking every vow? So you're suggesting that you know people who boast in deceiving their spouse? Consider a Reformed Christian perspective. I'm sharing a Reformed perspective rather than a non denominational perspective because Reformed Protestants have a less than 19% (which includes those that may of been divorced before becoming Reformed) divorce rate compared to a non denominational divorce rate equaling secular divorce rates at over 50% :

              Marriage, a Calling

              Love on the husband’s part and submission on the part of the wife are a calling, a holy duty assigned by God in His covenant. By carrying out their calling in marriage, husband and wife keep God’s covenant. On the other hand, professing Christians who impenitently disobey their calling in marriage transgress the covenant and will be judged as covenant breakers.

              Marriage itself is a calling. So must married Christians view their marriage. With regard especially to marriage, Paul wrote, “as the Lord hath called every one, so let him walk” ( I Cor. 7:17 ). Neither marriage nor single life, neither a happy marriage nor a troubled marriage, is of ultimate importance to the Christian. What is of ultimate importance is that he faithfully carries out the calling God gives him in his circumstances. Living married life as acalling, the “innocent party” lives a single life, or is reconciled to his wife, or to her husband; the husband with a shrewish, insubordinate wife loves her for God’s sake; and an Abigail with a Nabal for her husband is in subjection to the fool as to the Lord.

              Marriage, or single life, is brief, for “the fashion of this world passeth away” ( I Cor. 7:31 ). Soon, at the coming of the Lord, everyone will receive the reward of his faithful exercise of his calling.
              For two Reformed believers, fulfillment of the calling is possible, and expected, by the indwelling Spirit of Christ.

              For our failures, confession of sin and forgiveness are necessary—confession to each other, as well as to God, and forgiveness from each other, as well as from God. Especially husbands and wives must not let “the sun go down upon your wrath” (Eph. 4:26).

              Faithfulness in marriage by a husband who loves his wife and a wife who reverences her husband will glorify God in Jesus Christ, will mean bliss for the couple, and will benefit the children.

              “Seeking a Godly Seed”

              Our purpose in marriage must include “seeking a godly seed,” that is, desiring children who fear and serve God. This is ordinarily God’s purpose with the marriage of believers. He purposes His own glory as the couple reflect His covenant in their marriage, and He purposes the enjoyment of the delightful companionship of marriage by the two who marry. But He also purposes a “godly seed.”

              The phrase “seeking a godly seed” occurs in Malachi 2 . Verse 15 describes the original marriage as God’s making Adam and Eve one: “And did not he make one?” The prophet then asks, “And wherefore one?” The answer is: “That he might seek a godly seed.” Seeking a godly seed from Adam and Eve was one of the purposes of God in the institution of marriage. In accordance with this purpose, God blessed Adam and Eve with the Word of fruitfulness: “Be fruitful, and multiply” ( Gen. 1:28 ). Malachi 2 makes plain that God still seeks a godly seed from the marriage of believers.

              Malachi raises the truth of God’s seeking a godly seed as part of the prophet’s condemnation of the men of Judah for divorcing their wives: “For the LORD, the God of Israel, saith that he hateth putting away” (v. 16). Divorce is destructive of the children, who are not simply the children of the two married persons, but covenant children— "godly seed.” Divorce opposes God’s seeking a godly seed.

              In the covenant, God promises to save the children of godly parents. He is pleased to use Christian marriage to bring forth elect members of His church, to lead them to Christ, and to rear them to spiritual maturity. The faithfulness of the Christian husband and wife to God and to each other, their own peaceful, loving relationship, the stability and peace of the home, the godly example of their lives, and their teaching are used by God to producethe godly seed He seeks.

              Reformed married persons keep the covenant in their marriage by bringing their will into conformity with God’s will. They too seek a godly seed. They seek a godly seed in these ways. They have children, and, if God wills, many children. They teach their children the Word of God at home and see that they are taught the truth at church and in the good Christian school. They rear their children also by supervising their life, disciplining them, anddwelling with them. The mother is a keeper and worker at home. The father is at home evenings and weekends, as much as possible.

              Emphatically, they do not divorce and remarry. For God’s sake.

              And for the children’s sake.

              Chapter 3 - Keeping God's Covenant in Marriage
              God bless,
              William
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              • #8
                Marriage is not only a Christian affair. Most religions do have marriage ceremonies that is recognized as lawful and legally binding. You don't even need to have a religious denomination to get a married. You just go see the judge to sweat you in, and your done.

                Marriage is a state contract between two people. Now if two people got married by their local church, then you are binded by what is considered the duties of husband and wife.
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                • #9
                  I feel sad about the state of marriage in the US. Pornography, drugs, romanticism of adultry and divorce have all taken its toll on life long commitments. I wonder if marriage will be popular again.
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                  • #10
                    Originally posted by filmjunkie08 View Post
                    I feel sad about the state of marriage in the US. Pornography, drugs, romanticism of adultry and divorce have all taken its toll on life long commitments. I wonder if marriage will be popular again.
                    Marriage is the same in all countries. I've traveled to different parts of the world and men are still men. They all seek out prostitutes but still go back home to their wives. In the states it's so much easier to get a divorce and take half of the shared assets. Divorce has to do more with the assets one can get once they get divorced. It's not about a holy union.
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                    • #11
                      Originally posted by filmjunkie08 View Post
                      I feel sad about the state of marriage in the US. Pornography, drugs, romanticism of adultry and divorce have all taken its toll on life long commitments. I wonder if marriage will be popular again.
                      Have you been living under a rock? Marriage is popular then ever. It's just that it's easier to get a divorce. Less paperwork and you don't have to send invitations to your family members.

                      Other countries are just the same. Men and married men still go to brothels and they wives never find out about it, or it is an acceptable act that men are allowed to do. In the USA, that is not acceptable behavior.
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                      • #12
                        Originally posted by joshuap View Post

                        Have you been living under a rock? Marriage is popular then ever. It's just that it's easier to get a divorce. Less paperwork and you don't have to send invitations to your family members.

                        Other countries are just the same. Men and married men still go to brothels and they wives never find out about it, or it is an acceptable act that men are allowed to do. In the USA, that is not acceptable behavior.
                        I think the point is that marriage is supposed to be until death do you part. That fact that so many people get divorces so quickly or multiple times shows how the state of marriage has been destroyed. People today don't take it seriously, it's just something you can do because you can change your mind later.
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                        • #13
                          I am in my late 20's, and a few people I went to college with have already been married and divorced - I know at least 3 couples that have gone through that recently. I don't know if it's a sign of the times or a sign of my generation - I do think that sadly these days some people enter into marriage with the idea that as soon as it gets tough, or as soon as there is any issue, that they are prepared to walk. And that's sad, to me - I feel like at least in my marriage we have made the commitment to one another and yes - things WILL get hard sometimes, that's the nature of life. I haven't met anyone who has said their life has been a walk in the park all the time.

                          My husband and I have already had some tough times, but we have vowed "til death do us part" and I know that we both intend to keep that promise.

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                          • #14
                            Originally posted by LeapOfFaith89 View Post

                            I think the point is that marriage is supposed to be until death do you part. That fact that so many people get divorces so quickly or multiple times shows how the state of marriage has been destroyed. People today don't take it seriously, it's just something you can do because you can change your mind later.
                            The problem with marriage is the ideology of it all. Everywhere you go it is crammed down our throats as being what everyone is suppose to do when they get to a certain age. Some part in the world parents are telling their kids to hurry up and give me grandchildren.

                            Marriage should be left to the individuals, the last time I checked that's 2 people. they should decide when the time is right and not because their families and societies decrees it because they have been dating for a year.

                            The church and parents shouldn't decide on that. It should be the two involved. The script has been written for everyone. You go to school, you get a good job, you meet a good girl and you get married and have children. Have you heard that one before? Everyone has.

                            Time to let the adults be just that and write their own destiny. They should take the time and figure it out on their own. Only god will tell then when it's the right time. No one speaks for him.
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                            • #15
                              Originally posted by joshuap View Post
                              The church and parents shouldn't decide on that. It should be the two involved. The script has been written for everyone. You go to school, you get a good job, you meet a good girl and you get married and have children. Have you heard that one before? Everyone has.
                              My daughter was married two weeks ago. She's in her final year at Pacific Lutheran University. I withheld my impulse to suggest that she finish school first before her wedding ceremony, because I do actually think marriage is more important. It will be interesting to see what happens. Whether she will, after finishing her degree get a job, or whether she will start on a family. Either way, I am at peace.

                              Originally posted by joshuap View Post
                              The church and parents shouldn't decide on that.
                              If the blessing from your church or the bride's father means nothing to you then don't include them. Don't expect the church to marry you, or the bride's parents to pay for your wedding.

                              God bless,
                              William
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