We Believe that marriage is the basic human relationship between one man and one woman, and as such is intended to reflect the relationship between Jesus Christ the Bridegroom and His bride the church. (Gen 2:18-25, Eph 5: 25-32)
Marriage is absolutely one of the battles of today’s culture in western nations. Less and less couples are choosing to get married. The stats show that marriage is decreasing while couples living together are growing. So why is marriage important enough that Partners in Harvest includes it in our doctrinal statement?
Can I suggest that there are several reasons why couples should choose to marry rather than live together?
1. God wrote the playbook, let's play by His rules.
The very fact that marriage is something that God blesses is reason enough for us to encourage marriage. Blessing is something that I want in my life. Call me crazy but if the opposite of blessing is cursing, I choose blessing.
In the recent speech at the Republican National Convention in Tampa, Florida, Rick Santorum, who lost the nomination to Mitt Romney, had an interesting stat. He said “Graduate from high school, work hard, and get married before you have children and the chance you will ever be in poverty is just two percent."
People who marry seem to live a blessed life. It comes because God blesses marriage!
2. Living together means breaking up.
The stats don’t lie. Couples that live together before marriage break up faster than couples that marry. Testing to see if you can live with each other, while the concept seems to make sense, actually doesn’t.
Not only is there less commitment in these kinds of relationships but also a lot of bad stuff happens. The stats also say that there is far more physical abuse of women when couples don’t marry but live together.
3. Sex is better!
Okay I said it. Again, the stats in every survey I ever seen say that married couples enjoy a more active and satisfying sex life than do couples not married. Nuff said!
So why are people not getting married? If there is a blessing that comes to those who commit themselves in marriage, the obvious answer is that Satan doesn’t want this. He seeks to deceive people into making the wrong decisions.
One of the reasons why couples live together is because 50% of marriages end in divorce. The stat is also true for Christian marriages. Why so many Christians getting divorced?
Can I suggest that one of the reasons is because couples are not functioning the way God wants them to? In the passage in Ephesians 5, before there is all the stuff about men loving their wives unconditionally, before the verse about women submitting, comes this principle. Submit one to another out of reverence for Christ. Ephesians 5:21
A great marriage is when each person learns to submit just like each member of the Godhead mutually submits to each other. Selfishness is a deathblow to being in a relationship.
A marriage that reflects how the Trinity functions is a good thing and a God thing. The more good and Godly marriages there are, the better our churches will be, our cities will be, and our nations will be. I believe this with all of my heart!
Steve Long is the Senior Pastor of Catch the Fire Toronto. Steve and his wife Sandra have been married for 30 years.