Does marriage even work anymore? That’s one question I get pretty often as someone who teaches about marriage. Because of what’s happening in our society, that question has become a common one for young people. They are fearful of marriage.
Here’s how I answer the question: Yes. Absolutely. Marriage works one hundred percent of the time if you do it God’s way, because God never makes anything to fail. Everything He makes, He makes perfect. That includes marriage.
The reason so many marriages fail is because the husband and wife are not doing it God’s way. Their attitudes and behaviors cause the marriages to fail. Here are a few of the mistakes they make:
They don’t trust Jesus to meet their deepest needs. All of us have primary needs in our lives that no human being can meet. These include acceptance, identity, security, and purpose. Those are the things that drive us.
Jesus accepts us all the time. Meanwhile, the love of people can be conditional. Jesus knows our identity at our very core. He stitched us together in our mother’s womb. People can’t tell us who we are, but Jesus can.
God can protect us from everything, and our security is in Him. He is also our purpose. As Christians, we don’t live for popularity or money, but for Jesus and His Kingdom. That’s what drives us to get up every day. These four needs can only be met by God. Relying on a person for acceptance, identity, security, and purpose will disappoint you every time.
Another mistake is that they make marriage a contract, not a covenant. A covenant is a sacrificial, permanent relationship. It says, “I am going to surrender my rights and assume responsibilities.” But a contract is marked by self-protection. It says, “I’m going to protect my rights and limit my responsibilities.”
A contract is superficial and temporary. A covenant is strong, deep, and lasting. In the marriage covenant, we say, “For better or worse, for richer or poorer, in sickness or in health, until death do us part.” That’s serious. Contracts get broken when tough times hit, but covenant relationships stand strong. You’re all in.
A third reason marriages fail is because people break the laws of marriage. Genesis 2:24-25 says, “Therefore a man shall leave his father and mother and be joined to his wife, and they shall become one flesh.”
The first law is Priority—the man leaves his father and mother. The marriage has to come first. It doesn’t rank behind a job, or hobbies, or even parents or children. Marriage has to have priority.
The second law is Pursuit—the husband and wife must “be joined,” or cleave together. In the original Hebrew, that word means to pursue with all of your energy. Marriage is work. You have to work at the relationship. You can’t take each other for granted. When you both put your energy into it, the relationship will thrive.
The third law is Possession—the two become one flesh. Marriage is about sharing. You share finances, decision-making, thoughts and emotions. You cannot be selfish and have a thriving marriage. You can’t be dominant either. A dominant spouse says, “I’m in control. I’m not sharing.” That destroys the spirit of a relationship.
God intended marriages to follow the laws of priority, pursuit, and possession.
Does marriage work? Absolutely it does. A man and woman have a one hundred percent chance of success when they both trust Jesus to meet their needs, pursue a sacrificial covenant relationship, and follow God’s laws. Those are the secrets to a healthy, thriving marriage.
Jimmy Evans // Marriage Today