Summary: We divorce-proof our marriages when we stop looking for loopholes (or reasons to separate). Instead, we must look to the Lord, committing our selves first to Him then to our mates.
Gary Thomas, in his book, Sacred Marriage, tells the story of a businessman who moved over slightly as a young man crowded into the airplane seat next to him. They both fastened their seat belts, and the businessman good-naturedly asked as to whether the young man was traveling on business or pleasure.
“Pleasure,” the young man replied. “I’m on my honeymoon.”
“Your honeymoon?” the businessman asked, mystified. “Where’s your wife?”
“Oh, she’s a few rows back. The plane was full, so we couldn’t get seats together.”
The plane hadn’t started rolling yet, so the businessman said, “I’d be happy to change seats with her so that the two of you can be together.”
“That’s okay,” the young man replied. “I’ve been talking to her all week.” (Gary Thomas, Sacred Marriage, Zondervan, 2000, p. 154; www.PreachingToday.com)
Wow! That man is already tired of his wife. I doubt that his marriage lasted very long, but the sad fact is most marriages don’t last.
A 2007 survey by the U. S. Census Bureau suggests that a couple’s odds of reaching their 25th anniversary are below fifty percent. Divorce rates are up, and the percentage of Americans who marry only once is down. In 1996, 69 percent of men and 76 percent of women had married only once; in 2007, those figures had dropped to 54 percent and 58 percent respectively. (“If You’ve Been Married 25 Years, You’re in the Minority,” Houston Chronicle, 09-19-07; www.PreachingToday.com)
Now, I’m not here to pile on the guilt if you’ve gone through the pain of a divorce. I just want to acknowledge that there are a lot of pressures on couples today to spit up.
Even so, there is a way to divorce proof your marriage, whether it’s your first or second marriage. Despite the increased pressures in today’s culture, your marriage can last a lifetime, and the Bible shows us how.
You see, Mark wrote his Gospel to an audience much like our own today. He was writing to a Roman audience, who faced the same kind of increased pressures on their marriages that we face.
Now, for the first 520 years of the Roman Republic, there had not been a single recorded divorce. But under the Empire, the time of Christ and beyond, divorce was a matter of impulse. Seneca wrote: “Women were married to be divorced and divorced to be married.” In Rome, the years were identified by the names of the counsels, but it was said that fashionable ladies identified the years by the names of their husbands. Juvenal describes an instance of a woman who had eight husbands in five years. (William Barclay, Commentary on 1 Thessalonians, p.199)
Now, how can any marriage last in a society like that? Well, the Gospel of Mark shows us how where it records Jesus’ comments on divorce.
Mark 10:1 Jesus then left that place and went into the region of Judea and across the Jordan. Again crowds of people came to him, and as was his custom, he taught them. (NIV)