The Fear of Marriage
Here I am, here we are, looking at 50 years of marriage. My parents will have their 70th a few days before our fiftieth. That is 120 years of marriage between us. Scary. Amazing. I remember dad saying at their fiftieth that being married that long was a “feat.” I am wondering what he will say about 70.
The current divorce rate is 50% or more through out our society, including Christians. So, there is something wrong with our view of marriage or the ability to make it work. You cannot blame it on the male or the female, it is both. As a result of so many failures in marriage, we have a younger generation that comes from broken homes who are terrified of marriage. They watched parents fight, argue, and when the divorce came, turn into horrid people who hate, connive, and punish as much as possible the other person. Often this battle uses the children as pawns in the war,extracting as much pain as possible at the cost of the children. These children then become very wary of marriage and will chose paths that exclude marriage. Some of the paths are blatant sexual promiscuity, others are limited relationships of “living together,” with the back door always open, others seeking same sex relationships, or choosing to not involve themselves at all in any close relationship and dedicate oneself to career.
So, we see far more marriages taking place later in life, if at all. We also see those who have married and divorced extremely fearful of making the same mistake and will not risk a relationship going any deeper than a dating or casual sexual relationship.
However, God intended marriage to be successful, the cornerstone of society, the model of what eternity should be with Christ. Wow, those are some pretty high goals, but that is what God intended.
The failures of mankind and society do not change the goals of God. Proverbs says that finding a good wife is a gift from God. I believe the converse would be true as well. Paul states that marriage is honorable. Marriage is good.
However, marriage is not a place that you can be selfish. It is a place of giving, sharing, learning, loving. While sex is extremely important, it takes a whole lot more than that to be successful. Men have their issues and women have theirs. Neither gender is innocent. The stereotypical woman and man never have a good marriage. I have found that my biggest job in marriage was to learn how the woman works, thinks, feels, and spiritually processes things. My wife had the same task to learn me. We have been at it 50 years and are still learning. Life has enough seasons to it that we both are constantly changing: emotionally, physically, and spiritually. We have been hit by so many different battles and situations that we have to constantly learn and adapt in order to, not only cope, but overcome.
Marriage is good. Men and women both live longer when married. They are healthier, physically and emotionally. Good marriages are meant to be life long, life giving, and loving. The man is commanded to love his wife as himself and the woman to respect her husband.
Listen, dysfunctional families have been around since creation. Prostitution has been practiced forever. Homosexuality has been with us since there has been a society. Infidelity is common and is recorded in history among the rich and famous as well as the poor and indigent. Immorality is the condition of man when un-submitted to the grace of God. It can be a struggle for Christians as well. We all war with the flesh.
The excuse of “I do not want to suffer in marriage,” is unthought of in Scripture. The fear of marriage is certainly a fear that has been generated by the enemy to thwart the plans and goals of God for eternity’s joy.
Personally, for the all struggles, I would not trade my marriage for anything else. My greatest joys have been as a result of marriage and the family that has grown from our union. I am happy to be celebrating 50.