Does marriage still matter anymore? There’s no doubt that the number of couples getting married has declined in recent years. Around the world it’s believed that 70% of couples live together before getting formally married. Half of all marriages end up in divorce.
I believe we really have a problem here that needs to be talked about. So many media stories about couples who break up after a short time—celebrity weddings make big news, and so do their break ups. There is, regrettably, a lot of feeling against traditional marriage values today.
An article in the Daily Mail is very insightful—it says: “Families are very different today because there is not the same expectation as in previous generations that we will all follow a pre-ordained path to marriage; this means that more of us are thinking much more deeply about what marriage means before we decide to do it.” And many couples decide not to bother.
There’s still a pervasive belief that marrying will change us in some magical way—that we’ll feel better, happier, or more complete. But is it true? Traditional marriage is a great thing—a glue to keep a husband and wife together, forever, whatever happens. If you are committed to working at your marriage—and not just expecting it to work for you—then yes, you will feel better and more complete.
Marriage Is Important for Our Health
Marriage can provide you with the ideal opportunity to grow and develop while finding stability and security with a partner. Marriage is good for your physical and emotional health, and much research reveals that a happy marriage is still the best environment in which to bring up children.
The Daily Telegraph had a small news piece about a study from the United Kingdom that showed married people are more than 40% less likely to suffer or die from heart disease than those who are not. Doctors believe that having a ‘significant other’ makes people more likely to get health symptoms treated earlier and take their prescribed medications. In fact, these researchers say the findings are so significant that a patient’s marital status should be regarded as a risk factor, like blood pressure or smoking. Single people were found to be 42% more likely to develop cardiovascular disease.
I realise not everyone agrees on this topic. But what is the Christian view of marriage? The Bible has some very clear advice on this. For example Hebrews 13:4 says, “Marriage should be honored by everyone.” Sadly, marriage is no longer honoured by everyone in our society. Today, marriage is dismissed as irrelevant by many people. It’s demeaned by many people.
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People are delaying marriage more and more—many times for the wrong reasons. And marriage is being redefined. It’s being ridiculed, demeaned. It’s being denounced. It’s being discouraged. Marriage is disrespected.
In 1 Corinthians 11:11 we read, “In God’s plan men and women need each other.” God wired it this way. God thought up gender. God thought up marriage. The Bible says this in Genesis 2:18, “It is not good for the man to be alone. I will make a companion who is right for him.” You need companions in all different areas.
When We Marry, Us Replaces Me
But there is nothing like the companionship of a marriage. Marriage is God’s plan. It’s not a tradition we can just throw out. God invented marriage when he invented you, when he invented me, when he invented humanity. Marriage is God’s plan. Marriage between a man and a woman.
It is in relationships that we learn to be unselfish and to be loving. And no relationship has a greater impact on your life than marriage, if you get married. Maturity and the purpose of life is to grow up and realise it’s not all about you. Life is a laboratory of learning how to love. Why is love the most important thing in life? Because God is love. And God wants you to become like him. He wants you to learn how to love. We learn to love and learn to be unselfish.
The Bible says this in Proverbs 18:1, “It’s selfish and stupid to think only of yourself.” Marriage is a lifelong course in learning to be unselfish because once I get married, I can no longer think about me—I’ve got to think about us.
Marriage is the fundamental building block of every community, church, state, nation, society and culture. If you know anything about history you know that where marriages are strong, cultures and nations are strong. You know that wherever marriages and families are weak, cultures and nations are in decline.
I love what Rick Warren has said:
It really doesn’t matter what other people think about marriage. It doesn’t matter what public opinion says. It doesn’t matter what the opinion polls say. It doesn’t matter what’s politically correct or incorrect. What really matters is what God says. He’s the One who invented marriage.