Summary: Every relationship starts with romantic, passionate love and sexual desire and that fire is still burning when they meet at the altar. But what do you do when those fires burn down. So what happens 5 or 10 years down the road when they wake up one morning
Making Love Last a Lifetime
Colossians 3:5-10, 12-17
Many have voiced their opinions on marriage throughout the years. Here are a just a few:
Mae West- “Marriage is a great institution. I’m not ready for an institution yet!”
Comedian Joy Behar “I want a man in my life, but not in my house. I’m a very busy woman. I want him to come in, hook up the VCR and leave.”
Greg Gutfield- “According to research in Social Psychology Quarterly, if you can stay married for 35 years, you’ll be just as happy as you were on your honeymoon. For the time in between, consider a trial separation.”
Rodney Dangerfield said “We sleep in separate rooms, we have dinner apart, we take separate vacations- we’re doing everything we can to keep our marriage together!”
How can couples make their love last a lifetime? With the divorce rate skyrocketing, I believe that is the most significant question married couples and our nation faces today. When I stand before couples as they say their wedding vows, all of them intend to stay together for a lifetime. Not many couples say, “I’m going to give you the best five years of my life.” Most people believe this is going to be a forever commitment. And yet, some of the people who have stood before me are doomed for failure. There is very little chance they have what it takes to make it last a lifetime. I try to help them realize that through pre-marital counseling. But in almost 20 years of ministry, I have found the vast majority of couples do not come to the pastor to see if they should get married but instead just to get married. Even more concerning is the fact that they may spend 100’s of hours planning a wedding and have done little to nothing to prepare for a marriage.
The good news in all of this is that most I have married have the potential to last a lifetime. As we discovered, every relationship starts with romantic, passionate love and sexual desire and that fire is still burning when they meet at the altar. But what do you do when those fires burn down. So what happens 5 or 10 years down the road when they wake up one morning and say, “I don’t think I love you anymore.” And why is it that more than 50% of all marriage are ending in divorce today? Can that be changed or even avoided? What do you have to do to make love last a lifetime? To answer that question, you have to first ask, “What are the reasons behind why so many marriages are failing? Studies have found 9 reasons. First is a lack of quality time spent together. Second is lack of communication. Third is a lack of shared interests. Fourth is a lack of romance and affection. Fifth is a lack of forgiveness. Sixth is a lack of appreciation and respect for one another. Seventh is a lack of change and spontaneity. Eighth is a lack of sexual fulfillment. Ninth is a lack of shared faith.
William Harvey in his book, “Give and Take: The Secret of Marital Compatibility” talks about those feelings you had when you first fell in love: the passion, the excitement and the sheer shrill of it all. He points out what it took to make those sparks fly. It took a great deal of time. Remember how all of your friends were mad at you because you were no longer spending time with them and instead were spending it with her or him? You may even remember your parents complaints about the lack of time you gave them. Your were head over heals in love. You hung on every word they said. You listened intently. Even you guys did this. You were interested in what she had to say. You cared about her and you were all over each other. So what happened? Why did you stop? That’s what it takes to get the sparks flying but when we get married, they disappear. We think it’s good enough to rent a movie and share a bowl of popcorn. In a recent survey it was found that persons who were very unhappy in their marriage went on a date less than once every six months. If you went out on a date once a year with someone, what is the likelihood you would have gotten married? If you never spend time talking to them, would you have ever gotten married? In courtship, we sell each other a bill of goods. The sparks start flying and somewhere along the way, we stop. Is it any wonder why we fall out of love? But the problem is deeper than that.
We have in our relationships the propensity and tendency to cool things down over time. It is not simply the fact that once we get married, we quit doing all of the things we did when we were dating. That’s a piece of it. But there’s a bigger issue. According to our Scripture today, Paul says it has to do with who we are on the inside. He says, I want you to put aside all of the things which are a part of your earthly nature. Everywhere else in the New Testament he calls that sin. Paul is asking us to lay aside the sin in our life. We need to understand that probably the number one disruptor of marriages is sin. I’m not just talking about the big sins like infidelity, I’m also taking about your every day garden variety sin, like those words which prick the heart of our loved one or putting ourselves ahead of the needs of our spouse or harboring anger against our spouse. These things comes naturally to us because we are all sinners.