Summary: Celebrating Christian Marriage

Though marriages are meant to last a lifetime, they can deteriorate rather quickly. I like what someone calls the seven stages of a cold for a married couple:

The first year of marriage, the husband says, "Honey, I'm worried about my little girl. You have a bad sniffle. I want to put you in the hospital for a complete checkup. I know the food is terrible there, but I have arranged for meals for you to be sent in from Valentini's."

The second year: "Listen, sweetheart, I don't like the sound of that cough. I've called the doctor and he said I can bring you in this afternoon. Just rest in bed until it's time to go."

Third year: "Maybe you should lie down, dear. I'll make supper tonight. Do we have any cans of soup in the house?"

Fourth year: "Look, dear, be sensible. After you have fed the kids and washed the dishes, you should go to bed."

Fifth year: "Why don't you take a couple of aspirin."

Sixth year: "Please gargle, or something, instead of sitting around barking like a seal. I think I'll sleep on the couch tonight."

Seventh year: "Would you stop sneezing. What are you trying to do, give me pneumonia? You better sleep on the couch tonight."

Now, there is a ring of truth in this scenario, but I don't think it is an exaggeration. At that rate of deterioration, fourteen years of marriage, as Nancy and I have had, would mean one of us would have to sleep out in the garage. And that has not happened...yet. But, it does remind me that marriage is not easy. It takes a lot of work to keep a marriage strong year after year. It requires effort to make sure we are considerate, kind, affectionate, and loving toward our spouse each and every day. Fourteen years of relatively successful marriage, which Nancy and I celebrated last Tuesday, is no small accomplishment. And, a 50th wedding anniversary, wow! That is spectacular! I just want to say congratulations to Bud and Myrna Anderson who are celebrating five decades of marriage today. I also am going to take a break from our series through Matthew and use this time to encourage us to celebrate not just wedding anniversaries, but to celebrate marriage itself. We have many reasons to express gratitude to God for this precious gift. Let's pray that today the Lord would help each of us grow in our appreciation of marriage.

I want to begin with Hebrews 13:4 Marriage should be honored by all, and the marriage bed kept pure, for God will judge the adulterer and all the sexually immoral. "Marriage is to be honored by all." By everyone -- male, female, young, old, married, and single. Sometimes I hesitate to devote a whole sermon to the topic of marriage because so many people in the congregation are not married. Single people, for example, children, teens, adults who have been widowed, divorced or never married, make up the majority of people in our country. In fact, 40% of the adults in the United States are not currently married. But even if you are single, God still commands you to honor marriage. Today we will explore two important questions.

#1) Why is marriage to be honored by all? Now, not everyone agrees that it should be. Radical feminists seriously equate marriage with slavery, and maybe some people in this room refer to "the good old days before I was married," but the Bible clearly tells us that marriage is good and important. Why? There are five reasons: First, it is God's plan for human beings to live as husband and wife. We were never meant to be the rocks or islands Paul Simon used to sing about. God made us with an innate need for companionship. As God said in Genesis 2:18, "It is not good for man to be alone." And, in most cases, the best companion is a spouse. Now, this is a little puzzling. The longer I live, the more I realize that men and women are different creatures. Oh, we are similar in many ways, but there are significant differences. Much of the time it is easier for men to get along with other men, and women to relate to other women. But, the Lord knew what He was doing when He made Eve, not Steve, as Adam's partner. Men and women are biologically complementary. Our differences enable us to produce children, and to find a healthy pleasure in sexual intimacy. Adam and Steve just don't work, no matter what the homosexual activists may say. But our differences also make us emotionally and even spiritually complementary. I'm convinced men and women, husbands and wives, are better able to help each other be happier, and even more godly, than a friend of the same sex. That is why God says in Genesis 2:24 For this reason a man will leave his father and mother and be united to his wife, and they will become one flesh.

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