Summary: Our view of marriage will affect the attention we give to keeping it healthy.
The Christian Marriage
A. Like Hawthorne’s Scarlet Letter, we want to put a “D” on Hester Prynne and other divorced people.
1. We tell them God can’t use them but we still love them (what kind of grace is that?).
2. Half of all marriages fail.
3. The divorced represent a significant proportion of the population.
4. Different denominations respond to the divorced in various ways.
B. Divorce has devastating effects on all parties.
1. Men: psychiatric problems, serious accidents, poor health.
2. Women: depression, impoverished economic situations.
3. Children: social, behavioral, emotional and academic problems, feel it is their fault.
C. British physician, David Cooper, The Death of the Family said the “best thing society could do would be to abolish the family entirely.”
D. Kate Millet, Sexual Politics, said “the family must go because it is the family that has oppressed and enslaved women.”
E. Psychiatrist, Armand Nicoli, Harvard Medical School, said “certain trends prevalent today will incapacitate the family, destroy its integrity, and cause its members to suffer such crippling emotional conflicts that they will become an intolerable burden to society.”
F. Various Christian views about divorce
1. Not permissible for any reason.
2. Permissible and remarriage is too under any circumstances.
3. Divorce permissible for some reasons but can never remarry.
4. Divorce and remarriage permissible under certain circumstances.
G. What does it take to make a Christian marriage and what are God’s purposes in marriages?
MARRIAGE IS A DIVINE INSTITUTION
A. To understand divorce, we must understand marriage.
B. First recorded marriage-Adam and Eve.
1. As Adam looked and named animals, there was no one like him.
2. God put him in a deep sleep, took one of his ribs and made a woman.
3. “This is now bone of my bones and flesh of my flesh; she shall be called woman, for she was taken out of man.”
4. “For this reason a man will leave his father and mother and be united to his wife, and they will become one flesh.”
C. Divine institution.
1. Established by God not humanity.
2. Most all weddings call attention to this fact.
3. “Dearly beloved, we are assembled here in the presence of God, to join this man and this woman in holy matrimony, which is instituted by God.”
D. Need for it by individuals (some have the gift of singleness and Paul says they have more time to serve God).
1. Natural for men and women to be attracted to one another.
2. Grow in love, get married and populate the earth (instructions to Adam and Eve).
3. Some have the gift of celibacy but the norm is marriage.
4. Sex is for after marriage (almost a lost philosophy in our society even though STD’s are changing this to a degree).
5. Pleasure and procreation are the purposes for sexual relationships.
6. Some faiths (Catholics) don’t believe in birth control.
E. Divine institution (along with the sex) has almost been destroyed.
1. Divorce rate has skyrocketed.
2. Many choose to live together (big fad in the past and still common).
3. Sex outside of marriage is prevalent (kids younger and younger are having sex).
4. Schools and health departments hand out forms of sexual protection.
F. Success comes from recognizing it is a divine institution.
1. Obey God’s laws for the marriage.
2. God must be a part of it (some marriages between Christians and unbelievers do last).
3. Must be governed by God.
4. Jesus, “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.” (Matthew 19:4)
G. Marriage is not a sacrament (grace does not come through it).
1. God does establish it and must regulate it.
2. More than a civil or social arrangement.
H. Treat it as holy and sacred.
1. Never treat in derogatory way.
2. Your spouse is not your “old lady” or “old man.”
I. Dr. Donald Grey Barnhouse said, “Bite your tongue before you will ever say, ‘Well, I want you to meet the old ball and chain’ or ‘Here’s the jailer.’”
J. Dr. Walter Maier, For Better, Not for Worse, said, “To speak disdainfully of married life, to invoke upon it sophisticated sarcasm, is to exalt the puny errors of pigmy minds over the eternal truth of heaven-to blaspheme God.”
IT IS A UNION OF BODY, SOUL AND SPIRIT
A. Since God established, we should get ideas from him.
1. Look to God’s Word but there are also good books.
2. Marriage retreats can be helpful.