Summary: Why is it that the divorce rate in the church is not any better than those outside the church? This message looks at the worldly mindsets that destroy a marriage in or out of the church.

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An Associated Press story printed 10 days ago on Valentine’s Day reported a woman who had just celebrated her 50th anniversary. While that is commendable in itself, what made the story unusual was the fact that all 6 of her older siblings had also been married 50 years or more. Collectively, these 7 siblings have been married 391 years and the attribute their marital success to the example set by their late parents, who were married 58 years. Isn’t that great? Wow. I love to hear stories like that.

Well, we don’t need to go to the newspapers to find exciting stories like this. Right here in our own church, we have ____ who have been married more than 50 years; and ___ and her late husband ____, they had been married 50 years. And just a few days ago, _______ celebrated their 60th Anniversary. We need to congratulate these people.

For many people today, 50 years of marriage seems like an impossible feat. Many newly married couples wonder if they’ll make it 5 or 6 years, never mind 50 or 60. We’ve all known couples, even Christian couples, who seemed to have the ideal marriage – until they were divorced. And you wonder, if those couples didn’t make it, what chance do you and I have? With all the pressures and temptations that are pulling marriages apart, how can one faithfully love and cherish his/her spouse for 50 years or longer?

What is it that separates those who experienced long, and mostly happy marriages, and those who seen their marriages crumble? Why do some make 50 or 60 and others can’t make 10? Is it their resolve? Is it merely a matter of determination (will-power)? Is it the luck of the draw? Is there a “secret” to a long – and happy – marriage?

I read an interesting statement that I believe sheds some light on this issue. This is what it said:

“We are convinced the number one reason for the escalating divorce rate among Christian couples is that they are embracing the world’s mind-set, rather than God’s mind-set, regarding their marriage vows.” (Linda Dillow & Lorraine Pintus; Intimate Issues)

This is interesting because it isn’t giving a simple formulae for success.

I remember one person telling me, years ago, what it takes to impress a girl. His solution was two-fold; chocolate and flowers.

I’m sure there’s much to be said for giving gifts, but sometimes it can backfire.

Ed was in trouble. He forgot his wedding anniversary. His wife was really angry. She told him, "Tomorrow morning I expect to find a gift in the driveway that goes from 0 to 200 in less than 6 seconds AND IT HAD BETTER BE THERE!!!" The next morning Ed got up early and left for work. When his wife woke up she looked out the window and sure enough there was a box gift-wrapped in the middle of the driveway. Confused, the wife put on her robe and ran out to the driveway, and brought the box back in the house. She opened it and found a brand new Bathroom Scale. Ed has been missing since Friday.... Please pray for him.

As the quote I read a moment ago suggests; it isn’t one thing that we do or don’t do that cultivates a strong marriage; rather it is the mind-set that we embrace that is so important.

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Sherry Lugard

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