Read Matthew 19:1-6
By education and interest, I’m a numbers person. If I learn an interesting baseball or football stat, the information will stick with me, not incredibly valuable; just mostly useless data. Today we take a look at divorce which has a lot of information and data available for our country. It’s sad to read some of following statistics, but the numbers can give us an idea just what marriages, historically, have looked like in our country:
- The marriage rate is 6.1 per 1,000 total population in the U.S. (source: CDC, 2000-2019)
- The divorce rate is 2.7 per 1,000 total population in the U.S. (source: CDC, 2000-2019)
- In 2019, there were 2,015,603 marriages and 746,971 divorces (source: CDC)
Let me throw one other number in the mix for today 19:6…as in Matthew 19:6:
“So they are no longer two, but one flesh.
Therefore, what God has joined together, let no one separate.”
Now if divorce was playing baseball, they would likely be in the Hall of Fame from a statistical standpoint but, needless to say, our country has a lot of work to do to meet God’s standards on marriage which is a 100% success rate. Matthew makes it very clear in The Message translation to help us visualize the marriage commitment:
“And because of this, a man leaves father and mother and is firmly bonded to his wife, becoming one flesh – no longer two bodies but one. Because God created this organic union of the two sexes, no one should desecrate His art by cutting them apart.” Matt. 19:4-6 (MSG).
The description here of now being one bonded body leaves no room for a “temporary” arrangement or “trial run” to see if it will work for both parties, but rather a lifelong commitment to each other, and God. So, easier said than done, right? My wife and I are still relatively newlyweds at only 17 years of marriage, and are still growing and learning from each other every day. By no means have we arrived and claim to have it all figured out, but maybe a few considerations to think about, based on some experiences and observed actions from friends and family:
- Keep Christ at the center. When you have Christ and His Word at the center of your marriage, you always have a standard to aim for. Your relationship with Jesus is first, then with your spouse, and then with others.
- Communicate. Talk, text, email, social media message…do whatever it takes to connect with your spouse. If you have a disagreement regarding the kids, finances, or even what restaurant to eat at, talk through it together (Eph. 4:26).
- Encouragement. Take time to let him or her know you are praying for them, because you know what? Marriage is tough! Regardless of the stage of life you are in, your spouse will always benefit from and value encouragement.
- Never stop saying thank you to your spouse. The routine of married life, running the kids around, and job responsibilities can be time-consuming and cause us to take for granted our blessings, so keep saying thank you to your wife for managing the finances or to your husband for cleaning up after dinner each night. Appreciation is always a great relationship sustainer.
Let’s work to fight against those earlier mentioned statistics to keep our marriage “bonds” strong and strive for God-honoring exemplary marriages for others to see!