The divorce rate among Christians is about the same as that among non-Christians. Approximately one in two marriages will end in divorce. At some point these marriages will for one reason of another sever the covenant they have made together with God. Let me stress something- this is a covenant they make not exclusively with each other, but the couple make it together and with God. Marriage according to Ephesians 5 is meant to be a unique display of God's glory. It is a matrix for presenting the love of God and the submission we are to have to God. So when a husband and wife head for divorce it isn't just their lives on the line (or the children or the millions of dollars the divorce industry costs the public); rather, God's reputation is on the line.
It may seem surprising that the divorce rate hasn't gone up in recent years. The 50% rate has held for a couple decades now. The primary reason there hasn't been a spike in this is because couples are opting out of marriage before they even make the covenant. Cohabitation among sexual partners and the practice of cycling through multiple sexual partners is greatly on the rise. While the church doesn't advocate this behavior and the Bible speaks very candidly against fornication and sexual immorality, do we encourage marriage enough?
Often I hear marriage discouraged among young couples. Wait. Wait. Wait. Make money. Enjoy life. Experience everything. Finish your degrees. Establish your career. It almost sounds like marriage is a death sentence. Live your life to the hilt and when you're all spent, give whatever's leftover to a spouse for the rest of your days. That's what we'd say if we were honest. We really should do a better job in the church (but especially in the home) of preparing young men and women for marriage. We just help them to see marriage as a goal worth striving for. It isn't a consolation prize. If we treat it and talk about it as such should we be suprised when it is so easily discarded?
- Here is an excellent and thought-provoking article from Christianity Today on The Case for Early Marriage.
- Here is an excellent interview by Mark Dever with Al Mohler and Josh Harris regarding Biblical dating, singleness, and marriage.
- Here is one, two, and three books I'd highly recommend on marriage.