The union of a man and a woman as husband and wife is the foundation for the home and family. Marriage was instituted by God when he declared in Genesis 2:18, “It is not good that man should be alone; I will make him a helper comparable to himself.” In Genesis 2:24 God said, “A man shall leave his father and mother and they shall become one flesh.” This suggests that God’s plan is for man to be the husband of one wife, and for the marriage to be permanent.
To further illustrate this point, in the New Testament, Jesus was asked about marriage and divorce, He quoted two passages from Genesis. “Have you not read that he who made them in the beginning made them male and female and said for this reason, a man shall leave his father and mother and be joined to his wife and they shall become one flesh. Therefore what God has joined together let man not separate” (Genesis 1:27; 2:24; Matthew 19:4-6).
In the United States today 1 in 3 marriages results in a divorce. This was not God’s plan, and those couples that get a divorce can suffer the rest of their physical and spiritual lives. The unfortunate thing is if the marriage produces children, they suffer the most.
Marriage is a holy union founded by God and is not to be dissolved at the will of man. The gospels record four statements by Jesus concerning divorce. In Matthew 5:32, we read, “Whosoever divorces his wife for any reason except sexual immorality causes her to commit adultery; and whoever marries a woman who is divorced commits adultery” also we read in Matthew 19:9, “Whoever divorces his wife except for sexual immorality, and marries another commits adultery; and whoever marries her commits adultery.” It is extremely clear from these two verses that the only way a divorced person can remarry is if their mate committed adultery. The sad thing in our country is that our divorce laws grant divorces for almost any reason.
I implore our young people contemplating marriage to realize it is for life. Next to obeying the Gospel, it is the most important decision you will make in your life. What is the recipe for a successful marriage? There are many components to this very complex question. When a man and a woman marry, each has to give up a fair amount of freedom and independence. This process necessarily requires a great deal of self-emptying and compromise. They need to realize compromise is a very important component of marriage.
I believe a successful marriage requires that the husband and the wife be Christians. I realize that on occasion a Christian can marry a non-Christian and have a happy marriage, but this situation is very difficult on the Christian as well as their children. This concept is well illustrated in the Old Testament where God’s children married outside their faith and in a short time turned to idol worship.
I suggest that all married couples, young and old, read and meditate on the following: “…and if one prevails against him, two shall withstand him; and a threefold cord is not quickly broken” (Ecclesiastes 4:12). The married couple should realize the “third cord” needs to be God. Where else could they go to find comfort when they are being overpowered by debilitating illness, financial difficulties, family problems, or the weight of the world on them? With God intertwined in their life as the “third cord” they can overcome all difficulties and have a successful marriage.
In closing, all married couples need to ask themselves this very important question, Can my marriage possibly find true fulfillment without the extra binding of God as our third cord?
-by Don Adair
It was early, around 5:30 a.m., on a Saturday morning in November of 1962. I was sound asleep and I heard the telephone ring. My dad answered it, and in a few moments I heard my mother hysterically crying. It was frightening, because I had never experienced either one of my parents crying.
My granddad had heard my grandmother make a funny sound that morning in bed before they awoke, and then her life expired unexpectedly. Papa Corder was an elder in the oldest congregation in Tennessee and a godly man. My grandmother was the most compassionate, kind, and faithful Christian that anyone in Lincoln County knew. As I grew up, I never heard one single criticism made about my grandmother and everyone that knew her considered her their best friend, aunt, and person.
I can remember staying with my Mama Corder, and feel the love that she was known for. She grew up a Baptist, but learned the truth, obeyed the gospel, and converted her parents to the Lord. She was only 62 and died peacefully in her sleep. I always wondered how God could let a person with her influence and faith die so young, but now that I’m 52, I realize she received her reward early and left a lasting legacy to my parents and brothers. She had a reputation for being godly in every sense. Everybody in her family and community respected her because of her kind, considerate, and caring attitude.
Her legacy with me comes in several forms, but one principle has stuck with me all of my life by her example. It is found in 2 Timothy 3:14-15 (NASB), “You, however, continue in the things you have learned and become convinced of, knowing from whom you have learned them, and that from childhood you have known the sacred writings which are able to give you wisdom that leads to salvation through faith which is in Christ Jesus.” I have often pictured the passage in Hebrews 12:1 (NASB), “Therefore, since we have so great a cloud of witnesses surrounding us, let us lay aside every encumbrance and the sin which so easily entangles us, and let us run with endurance the race that is set before us.” I imagine an amphitheatre with her and all the other heroes of the past, not as spectators, but inspiring examples, who had the faith required, and made it to heaven by the grace of God.
Jesus left us the greatest example of faith, but my grandmother and mother have been the living examples in my life that have provided the motivation and desire to serve God. This is just like Timothy in 2 Timothy 1:5 (NASB) when Paul told him, “For I am mindful of the sincere faith within you, which first dwelt in your grandmother Lois and your mother Eunice, and I am sure that it is in you as well.”
I’ve had so many blessings in my life, but the biggest have been the spiritual influences. I need to continually be mindful of that as I deal with people on a day-to-day basis. Our influence could be a tool that saves someone’s soul!
Ed Harrell once said he was counseling a married couple, when the husband told him he just didn’t love his wife anymore, therefore was not happy with the relationship. Waiting for some scholarly advice, Harrell replied, “You don’t have a choice in the matter because God commands that you love your wife”! He is exactly right.Love should be part emotion and will driven. The peerless Apostle Paul is clear and direct in his instruction to husbands in Ephesians 5:25-33 when he says, “Husbands, love your wives, as Christ loved the church and gave himself up for her, that he might sanctify her, having cleansed her by the washing of water with the word” (RSV). He continues with the analogy of man loving his wife as he does his own body. “For this reason a man shall leave his father and mother and be joined to his wife, and the two shall become one.”
My wife and I have been married for 27 years and she is still as pretty as she was in 1981 to me. I’ve gained a few more pounds, gotten grumpier, and have some wrinkles on my face, but she still loves me and I, her. Most of my friends from college are now divorced because the pilot light was out in their marriage, no foundation to build on, just memories of how they were attracted to each other when they were young. Somehow over the years they drifted apart from their commitment to each other. Obviously one or both did not take God seriously when he commanded them to continue their relationship for the rest of their earthly life. That is why it is so important for us to teach our children that marriage is for a lifetime.
One verse that has always humbled me in this regard, is I Peter 3:7: “Likewise you husbands, live considerately with your wives, bestowing honor on the woman as the weaker sex, since you are joint heirs of the grace of life, in order that your prayers may not be hindered.” I’ll have to admit, selfishly, one reason, but not the dominant one, I try to honor my wife, is because I want God to hear my prayers, and he will only do so if I’m treating my wife with the love and respect that the Lord commands, and that she deserves. Above all, if you treat your wife with shame, dishonor, and unfaithfulness, you’re risking your salvation. Is that not a good reason in and of itself?
We have heard this quoted many times from many sources. Pope John Paul II referred to this condition as contributing to the many changes and chaos in our society today. I know there are many wonderful families in our country today. Parents who have taught and directed their children well. Young married couples just starting their homes. Single parent struggling to raise and direct their children in the nurture and admonition of the Lord as Ephesians 6:4 directs.
However, consider the general social condition of our United States at the present time. The divorce rate is more than 50%. This leaves many single parents trying to raise a family. Too many children are separated from one of their parents. Three states have passed laws to allow same sex marriages, leaving us with children with two moms or two dads. These children notice their families are different from their friends’ families. Please note Psalm 128:3 and Genesis 2:24. We have many teenage gangs today breaking the law, committing crimes, stealing and murdering. These children are not taught God’s word at home. They are not taught the rights of others and to respect human life. If they want something, instead of working for it they just go out and steal it. This is a picture of our nation today.
These problems facing our nation did not occur overnight. They have been getting progressively worse for years with each generation.
One of our religious neighbors says “Give us a child for the first six years of his life and he will not depart from what we teach him.” Why do you think this is true? Moms and dads, surely you have noticed how these young minds are ready to soak up anything they hear or see. Have you ever been put on the spot by something your children may have seen or heard from you? We must be very careful what we say in front of our children. Parents, these young children are looking for an authority person to learn from and to mold their lives forever.
Consider the family of God’s chosen people, the Israelites in Deuteronomy 4:9. Notice the instruction to teach children and grandchildren. In Deuteronomy 6:7-9 note the emphasis God puts on the responsibility of the parents. Verse seven says we should teach them diligently. When? When you sit in your house, when you walk in the way, when you lie down, when you rise up.
Proverbs 22:6 “Train up a child in the way he should go, and when he is old he will not depart from it” (NKJV).
Read Psalm 78:1-8. Notice the reference of the fathers telling the children, passing on to the children, making known to the children the commandants of God. Whose responsibility is it to teach and train our children? It is not the government’s responsibility. It is not the school’s responsibility. It is not the church’s, although the church shares a part of the training from a congregational standpoint.
Whose responsibility is it? Yes, you’re right—moms & dads. Children need parents, both of them. Honor your marriage. Children are emotionally affected if moms and dads do not get along. Moms and dads, teach and train your children. If they want to talk, listen to them. Don’t put them off! What may not seem important to you, may be to them. Read the Bible to them. Pray with them. It may not be convenient at the time but make time and communicate. The reward will be great and they will make you proud.
Remember they did not ask to be born into this world with all its challenges and problems. They will grow up someday and they will be moms and dads raising their children.
“As the family goes, so goes the nation.”