#167 "ENCOURAGEMENT FOR MARRIAGE"

"ENCOURAGEMENT FOR MARRIAGE"

One of my favorite preachers once said, "A man who says he never had a fight with his wife will lie about other things to."  Surely, it is a challenge for two sinners to live together under the same roof for years and foster an atmosphere of peace and harmony.  Yet, this is God's design and we should not be totally discouraged if disagreements arise from time to time.  

God is interested in every marriage.  Whatever we do, we do it not only for self, for children, for family, but also to honor the Lord Jesus Christ.  That is why the old prophet said: "…..take heed to your spirit, and let none deal treacherously against the wife of his youth. For the LORD, the God of Israel, saith that he hateth putting away…...Malachi 2:15-16.  The Lord has made provisions for putting away in the case of infidelity, abandonment and physical abuse.  But trading in for a newer model or personal freedoms can expect the chastening hand.  In "A Report from Family Scholars, Why Marriage Matters", these conclusions were found: 1) Marriage increases the likelihood that fathers have good relationships with their children; 2) Cohabitation is not the functional equivalent of marriage; 3) Growing up outside an intact marriage increases the likelihood that children will themselves divorce or become unwed parents; 4) Parental divorce (or failure to marry) appears to increase children's risk of school failure; 5) Children who live with their own two married parents enjoy better physical health, on average, than do children in other family forms; 6) Marriage is associated with reduced rates of alcohol and substance abuse for both adults and teens; 7) Children whose parents divorce have higher rates of psychological distress and mental illness; 8) Divorce appears significantly to increase the risk of suicide; 9) Married mothers have lower rates of depression than do single or cohabiting mothers; 10) Boys raised in single-parent families are more likely to engage in delinquent and criminal behavior."  From "Does Divorce Make People Happy?", from the Institute for American Values, this information was taken from 645 spouses out of 5,232 married adults: "Unhappily married adults who divorced or separated were no happier, on average, than unhappily married adults who stayed married; two out of three unhappily married adults who avoided divorce or separation ended up happily married five years later."  I find a lack of God's blessings where this sacred commitment is abandoned.  Innocent bystanders, children and even innocent spouses are seriously affected for life by decisions that are not God honoring.

Marriage is like a sacred ball that two people carry. Two people promise God that they will pick up this ball and carry it the distance.  Oh, they love to carry it at first.  Just to look at that person on the other side is heavenly.  Walking along side that other person is easy, the weight is light.  Yet, as they go the distance many obstacle are placed in the way by Satan and the world to cause one or both to stumble.  Sometimes, it seems that we are carrying most of the weight ourselves.  But when the other one lifts their hand from the task we find we were not carrying as much as we thought we were.  Inside the ball?  Inside this ball is everything that is important: love, children, a home, a family, warmth, identity and support. When the ball is dropped, all the contents spill out into the world, attachments are torn and….Jesus put it this way: "And the rain descended, and the floods came, and the winds blew, and beat upon that house; and it fell: and great was the fall of it"-Matthew 7:27. 

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