The Lasting Marriage
In marriage, the ideal is lifelong commitment.
In 25 years of pastoral ministry I've done close to 200 weddings. I always spend several hours with these couples trying to prepare them not so much for a great wedding but for a great marriage. I've yet to meet a couple who actually planned not to stay together. I suppose some fear the possibility of that happening, but no one really thinks it will happen.
Yet we've all heard the depressing statistics. Currently, about 40-50 percent of marriages end in divorce. There are many reasons couples get divorced. According to divorce research, a lack of communication is one of the leading causes. You can't have an effective relationship if either of you won't discuss your feelings, talk about your issues, or you expect your partner to guess what the problem is about.
Those who come from divorced homes are more likely to divorce than people who come from happily married households. People who get married between the ages of 23-27 are more likely to stay together than people who get married in their teens. People who live together before marriage have higher rates of divorce than those who don't.
In many cases the problems that cause divorce existed in the couple's relationship long before they got married. Money problems, infidelity, sexual issues, addictions, and physical or emotional abuse usually pop up before the wedding. The problems either weren't acknowledged or were ignored in the fond hope that marriage itself might offer a miraculous solution. And believe it or not, the statistics for divorce aren't much different for those who claim to be followers of Christ. Of course, the church ought to be a safe place of healing and forgiveness for those who have been through the pain of a divorce, but it should also be a ...
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Mark Mitchell is pastor of Central Peninsula Church in Foster City, California.