Summary: How to have a marriage that will last "till death you do part."
Series: For Better or For Worse Pt. 2
"Making a Marathon Marriage"
Genesis 2:18 And the LORD God said, It is not good that the man should be alone; I will make him an help meet for him.
INTRODUCTION: When we left off our study last week we had focused on the real purpose of dating and we said that dating was not for exploration but confirmation! That we should seek to confirm three important things about the person we are dating (because there is always the possibility that our date might become our mate), so we wanted to know if they had a relationship with God, if they were a person of character and if they had communication skills because the capacity for communication in marriage is so vital. Once we have determined those three things about someone and we feel good about proceeding further in the relationship, what do we do and where do we go? I think that we would all agreed that there is a difference between dating and courtship so that's where we will start today. First, let's examine what I'm going to refer as:
I. THE COURTSHIP
To have a marathon marriage I believe that there needs to be a renewed emphasis on courtship.
a. The definition of courtship
What is courtship? Wikipedia defines courtship as the period in a couple's relationship which precedes their engagement and marriage, or establishment of an agreed relationship of a more enduring kind. Traditionally, in the case of a formal engagement, it has been perceived that it is the role of a male to actively "court" or "woo" a female, thus encouraging her to understand him and her receptiveness to a proposal of marriage.
b. The discovery in courtship
During courtship, a couple gets to know each other and decide if there will be an engagement leading to marriage. A courtship may be an informal and private matter between two people or may be a public affair, or a formal arrangement with family approval. Just the other day I spoke with a woman who had married a man that I know, (they had been married 4 months), and she was distraught and in a great state of emotional upset at his behavior and asking me what I thought she should do. I asked her how long she had dated him and she said 4 months prior to their marriage. I asked her if she had attempted to find out anything about him before agreeing to marry him and I got the impression that she had not beyond her own circle of friends and acquaintances. Let me tell you what I believe you need to discover during courtship. (1) You should find out what their convictions are. (2) You should find out as much as possible about their life circumstances. (3) You should find out about how they feel about child rearing issues. These are just a few of the things you need to know in order to build a healthy relationship.
c. The duration of courtship
The average duration of courtship varies considerably throughout the world. Furthermore, there is vast individual variation between couples. Courtship may be completely omitted, as in cases of some arranged marriages where the couple do not meet before the wedding. In the United Kingdom, a poll of 3,000 engaged or married couples resulted in an average duration between first meeting and accepted proposal of marriage of 2 years and 11 months, with the women feeling ready to accept at an average of 2 years and 7 months.
II. THE COVENANT
For us to have a marathon marriage we must see marriage not as a contractual agreement but a divine and holy covenant.
A BETTER VOW
Eric Snyder, Minister of the Farwell Church of Christ tells this story:
I recently did a wedding. During the wedding rehearsal, the groom pulled me aside and made me an offer.
He said "Look, I'll give you $100 if you'll change the wedding vows. When you get to me and the part where I'm to promise to 'love, honor and obey,' I'd appreciate it if you'd just leave that part out." He gave me a $100 bill and walked away.
The day of the wedding the bride and groom were in front of me and we were to that part of the ceremony where the vows are exchanged. When it came time for the groom's vows, I looked at the young man and said "Will you promise to bow down before her, obey her every command and wish, serve her breakfast in bed every morning of your life and swear eternally before God and your lovely wife that you will not ever even look at another woman, as long as you both shall
The groom gulped and looked around, and said in a tiny voice, "Yes." Then He leaned in and asked "what happened I thought we had a deal."