It never ceases to amaze me how many people get a divorce nowadays. It’s become the norm; just an everyday thing. When your spouse wears out, you do what you’ve always done in a rich and possession oriented country; get a new one. When things start to get rough after a few years your culture tells you it’s not worth the struggle to stay at it. Dump the old, move on to the new. And it’s this disgusting and shallow philosophy that is distorting the meaning of promise.
A sacred union
With homosexuality, women’s rights, abortion (the list goes on) it’s not hard to see how a nation can lose sight of the meaning of family over the course of a mere 200 years. Traditional marriage and human life is being bombarded by a culture wreaking of selfishness and pride; as we scream “do what feels good! Follow your own desires…”. After all, why get even married when you could just enjoy intimate pleasures and then separate when the spark dies? Why deliver the little baby when it will make life easier if you just dispose of it? Why even consider a member of the opposite sex when those around you are becoming gays and lesbians?
Marriage is not to be trifled with. It’s bad enough that Hollywood has tossed it around as a toy and then quickly discarded it as an old-fashioned idea. It’s worse when we see members of the church carelessly considering the altar. God has planned for us to marry; to leave our mother and father and become one with our spouse. But that does not mean to offer your hand to the first person you lay eyes on.
1 Corinthians 7:10-11 says “The wife should not separate from her husband (but if she does, she should remain unmarried or else be reconciled to her husband) and the husband should not divorce his wife.” For no reason can we divorce at all, not even in the case of an unbelieving spouse (1 Corinthians 7:13). Christians are to think, and it’s high time we open our eyes and consider just what a sin is being committed by the average couple in America.
Marriage is not for wimps
If you think being married simply involves vows, some cake, and a lifetime of wedded bliss, think again. While being married is a wonderful, God-given experience, it also involves a lot of work and effort. When we get married we should expect to grow, learn and change… and it’s precisely the discomfort of facing those changes and challenges that drives many away from their promises.
Finding true love
It’s in every movie; they spot each other across the room and slowly make their way together. They fall into each other’s arms and she breathlessly asks “do you believe in love at first sight?” and his enraptured gaze tells us the answer even before he utters that he does now. In movies, in magazines, in romance novels, the meaning of true love has been puffed up, died pink, and coated with sugar. True love no longer means valuing a person for his or her character, but for how well he/she kisses, dresses, or hangs out. True love is not liking a person for the way she smells, or wanting to be with him because of the way he talks. True love is when you have gotten to deeply know a person and their character; the way they think and relate… the things they believe and the dreams that they have. You know you love a person beyond the outer coating when you have seen their many imperfections and still want to be with them.
True love is also sacrifice. A marriage that lasts is a union that has experienced resignation and sacrifice on both parts. Teenagers who dump their dates at the slightest little annoyance have no idea what love is; the couple that has faced their arguments and moved past them does. For those who have siblings, you’ve already experienced a taste of married life. Dealing with annoying habits, misunderstandings, and different character traits is an unavoidable struggle for anyone who lives with another person.
Love is about giving, not getting, and any marriage that does not have the image of Christ portrayed and imitated in their union has no basis or promise for survival.
If only Christian parents would set standards, even in dating, the divorce rate would decrease dramatically. Walking into a college campus and picking off a guy who looks clean, talks nice, and professes to be a “good Christian” just isn’t going to cut it. To ensure that a marriage is going to last, a person has to do some digging first. If we say “I do” before getting to know our spouse, only to find later that we got hitched to a sweet-talking fake, who is to blame but ourselves? We must set standards in those that we date and court in the future; we must ask questions and pray and seek our parent’s advice before going to the altar. Above all, we must never let divorce become an option. A vow once said is a promise forever, and if we make a mistake, we must live with it for the rest of our lives.
Divorce should not be an option for Christians. So why are Americans leaving their spouses left and right? This next generation, let’s do things differently. Let’s take seriously the union that God has created and blessed. Let’s honor our promises to each other and to Him, and by prayer and dedication redefine the meaning of marriage.