Summary: In this sermon, we explore some myths that can lead our marriage to failure.
A. There’s an old joke that goes like this: “Do you know what are the most difficult years of marriage?” 1. Answer: “The ones following the wedding!”
2. Once when I was looking through my card file for material on marriage, I had to laugh when I noticed that the next card in my file after “marriage” was on the subject “martyrdom.”
B. If you known me very long, or listened to my preaching for a while, then you probably know that I am an optimist and an idealist.
1. I love to paint with large, positive strokes.
2. I love to preach inspiring, optimistic messages.
3. It is my goal to aim at perfection, and challenge us all to raise our sights to the highest possible targets.
C. But when it comes to the subject of marriage, I sense that it would be a disservice to you if I begin in the realm of the ideal.
1. As we go through this series on marriage, I want us to understand the commands of God regarding marriage, and I want us to aim for an ideal, but as we begin the series, I think we need to start with reality.
2. Today, I want us to take a realistic look at the difficulty of marriage, and I hope we will come to realize that all marriages are imperfect, but are worth all the effort required to make them healthy and keep them growing.
3. Personally, I’m exceedingly thankful for my marriage with Diana.
4. Thankfully, we have never had a bad marriage, but we do have to keep working on our great marriage to make it even better.
D. In our text in Matthew 19, Jesus has been asked a question about divorce. The question is: “Is it lawful for a man to divorce his wife for any and every reason?”
1. In other words, can a man or woman dump their mate if they feel like it?
2. Jesus replied, “Haven’t you read that at the beginning the Creator made them male and female, and said, ‘For this reason a man will leave his father and mother and be united to his wife, and the two will become one flesh’? So they are no longer two but one. Therefore what God has joined together, let man not separate.” (19:4-6)
3. So, what was Jesus’ answer to the question: “Can a man dump his wife because he feels like it?” His answer is an emphatic “NO!”
4. Jesus takes us back to the very creation of man and woman and declares that God’s intention for marriage from the beginning is permanence.
a. What God has joined together should not be torn apart.
5. The Pharisees asked, “Why then did Moses command that a man give his wife a certificate of divorce and send her away?” (vs 7)
6. Jesus replied, “Moses permitted you to divorce your wives because your hearts were hard. But it was not this way from the beginning. I tell you that anyone who divorces his wife, except for marital unfaithfulness, and marries another woman commits adultery.” (vs. 8-9)
a. So, Jesus explained that Moses gave this teaching as a concession because of the hardness of the people’s hearts, but divorce was not, and is not God’s plan and hope for humankind.
7. After hearing all of this, the disciples of Jesus made a sobering comment, “If this is the situation between a husband and wife, it is better not to marry.” (vs 10)
8. From their vantage point, if divorce was not a possibility, then it might be better not to marry at all
9. I want to challenge us and our culture to approach marriage with that kind of commitment and vision.
10. We must enter marriage with the commitment to make the marriage covenant work.
11. For the rest of our lesson today I would like to help us sort through some myths about marriage that encourage us to quit when we face difficulties in our marriage.
MYTH #1: PEOPLE CAN HAVE A PERFECT MARRIAGE
A. Or stated truthfully, there is no such thing as a perfect marriage.
1. Does or has your marriage had problems? Be honest! Of course it has, it goes with the territory.
2. The fact is, there is no such thing as a perfect marriage, because to have a perfect marriage you have to have two perfect people.
3. I know no one who can bear that label…not even me!
4. There are various degrees of marriage - from horrible to quite good.
5. Even the best marriage has room to grow.
B. When I meet with an engaged couple in premarital counseling, I try to get across the point that when two imperfect people marry, the result will be an imperfect marriage.