Natural Marriage is a Lifelong Commitment
Natural Marriage is a lifelong commitment made between one man and one woman with God and made in the presence of God. After a man and a woman make wedding vows (promises) to each other, there is a personal responsibility between both the husband and wife together and individually to adhere to keep the commitments just made between them; for richer or for poorer, for better or for worse, and till death parts them from each other.
Any married couple can end a marriage in divorce going into it thinking that marriage is a 50/50 relationship. Marriage is not a 50/50 relationship. Husband and wife must each give 100% to their marriage for it to be a successful and fulfilling marriage. Divorce is a husband and wife cutting short their marriage and breaking the promises they made to each other and with God that they claimed would last their lifetime. Divorce comes when either one or both spouses are not giving 100% to their marriage by being selfish.
Face the truth; being in a marriage isn’t always easy. There are times when just no matter how well you wish things were, things are not going as well as they could be. The reality is that in a marriage are two separate people hopefully each doing their best to live as one together yet choices and consequences of those choices made by the husband and the wife can and will cause strife at times – even though it may not have been the intention of the spouse to cause conflict.
In today’s disposable society and the mantra of subjective morals by secularists, many people take the easy way out and opt out of a marriage as soon as the going gets the least bit rough and far too few people today take the commitment of marriage seriously because too many people today are too caught up into selfish pleasing of themselves instead of giving the sacrificial love required of a husband and wife in a marriage. Selfish people take the easy way out and opt out of a marriage as soon as any difficulties start as opposed to each spouse giving sacrificial love.
Many people think more of themselves than they think of their spouse thus these selfish people do not give the sacrificial love their spouse needs of them to give. Sacrificial love means that instead of looking towards your spouse as to what your spouse can give to you, you look towards what you can give to your spouse. Both husband and wife need to have sacrificial love for each other as this is the only way a marriage will be successful. If only one spouse has it then the selfish spouse will be taking advantage of the other which can lead to the many causes of divorce.
Time, Sex, and Money are Three of the Biggest Obstacles for all Married Couples
A 2001 study by the Creighton University Center for Marriage and Family suggests that time, sex and money pose the three biggest obstacles to marriage satisfaction in the lives of newly married couples. The study found that debt in marriage, the couples’ financial situation, balancing job and family responsibilities, and frequency of sexual relations were of greatest concern to those ages 29 and under. Those age 30 and over shared with their younger cohorts the concerns of balancing job and family and frequency of sexual relations, and also added as problem areas constant bickering and expectations about household tasks. Let’s go over each of them so that we can have a better understanding of them.
The Love of and Lack of Money
It has been made clear that the root of all kinds of evil is the love of money (1 Timothy 6:10). Money struggles are one of the top reasons for divorce noted in the survey. Money troubles will easily tear a marriage apart – IF YOU LET IT!!! Money troubles come mainly in two forms; not having a stable job to support the family and spending too much money.
We know it is not your fault the economy is horrid and that there are people all over the country – even the world- who are struggling to make ends meet. It is however your responsibility to your spouse and your spouse’s responsibility to you to be honest with each other about your financial and employment situation. It is also each of your responsibilities to not spend more than the income coming in each paycheck. It is also each you and your spouse’s responsibility to support your family by means of having a steady income and following a budget.
If you do not have a job that provides enough financial support to pay for your food, water, power, rent, etc. then it is your responsibility to get a job that does. If you have to work multiple and/or part-time jobs, then that is what is needed done and between jobs if you are unemployed, your job is to find a job that pays. If the job you get doesn’t pay enough, don’t quit it until you have found a job which pays better. Remember, your responsibility to your family and to God and that your marriage not ending in divorce depends upon you and your spouse taking responsibility together for your circumstances and taking action to improve the circumstances you are in at any given time. Remember, God is not a genie granting wishes. God loves each of us yet He wants us to grow in character so to become more and more like Christ Jesus and Christ Jesus didn’t just sit around waiting for God to give Him a handout; Jesus actually worked and yet at times still did not have a place to lay His head. (Luke 9:58)
Do you know whose marriages are going to last through a financial down turn and unemployment? The married couples who realize that they’re hurting, but don’t blame each other for it when it happens. The married couples who say, ‘I know money is tight, and we can’t afford this or that, but we still have each other and together with God’s guidance we will make it because we will get a job and cut back our expenses and plan for a future.’ Remember, giving to each other a loving sacrificial love is what well save your marriage during a money crisis. Helping each other find a job and cut spending down by going through the items that are needed as those just wanted isn’t a fun thing to do but it could be something that has to be done to save your marriage. Why don’t you sit your spouse down together and write out the bills? This way, you both will see what expenses you have and which extra items that you don’t have extra money to buy – you may not realize how much the bills really are until you actually sit down together and go through them! You will find that doing things together you will both better understand how to build your marriage up and bring each other closer together more than just financially.
Sex in Marriage
God created sex for our pleasure within a marriage and requests that it be only within a marriage that we have sexual relationships. God created marriage and requests that it is between one man and one woman lasting their lifetime. Too many of us do not adhere to God’s plan for sexual pleasure and marriage and as such we selfishly seek sex outside of marriage: pornography, explicit movies with sexual overtones, dialog and scenes, at the beach seeing scantily dressed people, on TV, and many other places. “Marriage must be respected by all, and the marriage bed kept undefiled, because God will judge immoral people and adulterers.” Hebrews 13:4
Some people even go outside of their marriage and have adulteress relationships with another person either physically or emotionally then leading to physically. This is all driven by selfish desire and by our not giving our spouse the sacrificial love required within a marriage. Jesus said that to even lust after someone is committing adultery in one’s heart (Matthew 5:28).
One spouse in a marriage will desire more sexual relationship than the other spouse and typically it is the man who desires more. Yet it doesn’t matter which spouse it is who desires more or less sexual relationship within the marriage, it is up to each spouse to give sacrificial love to each other; the spouse desiring fewer sexual needs at times to give more while the spouse desiring more sexual needs should at times request less. The best thing a married couple can do is to discuss between them their sexual desires and to not get and stay upset with the other for wanting more or less than what the other spouse desires.
The worst thing a married couple can do is to keep their sexual desire a secret from each other and to hold a grudge against a spouse for wanting more or less than the other spouse. By not discussing with each other their sexual desires, a married couple is aligning themselves up for resentment and constant bickering which could lead to divorce as the likelihood increases of a spouse turning to pornography, explicit movies, which could lead to emotional discussions with someone outside the marriage and an adulteress affair. Only sacrificial love given to each other by both spouses leads to robust sexual pleasure within a marriage.
God created the heavens, earth and all in it in six days and on the seventh day, He rested. God of course doesn’t need to rest nor did He need six days to create everything but in His doing this God gave us a pattern to follow; there’s a time to work and a time to rest. On the flip side of unemployment is a spouse who is constantly at work who is not spending quality time with his/her spouse. Another example of not spending quality time with a spouse is when a spouse is constantly on the internet, watching sports, doing some sort of sport activity, taking care of the children, out with friends too often and for too long, or simply; just ignoring his/her spouse with any activity leaving his/her spouse out.
Again, it is selfishness which leads to not spending quality time with each other. True, sometimes you may be working more than one job just to make ends meet yet quality time together can come at any duration of time spent together and can be as simple as a few minutes of just holding each other up to and including hours/days of some activity you each enjoy doing together. Talking over each other’s day’s events together is a healthy way of spending quality time together and draws a couple closer together and is a great way to build that special loving bond together in a marriage. Without sacrificial love given by each spouse, quality time together will diminish and eventually go away which could lead to divorce. Hopefully you before getting married were friends and during your marriage your friendship will become stronger. Only with sacrificial love for the other will a husband and wife become closer friends as their marriage continues.
Without sacrificial love in your marriage there is no marriage. “Time, Sex and Money” were the top three problem areas reported by the survey respondents which means balancing job and family, frequency of sexual relations, and debt in a marriage each directly relate to a divorce. Other top problematic issues found in the study contributing to divorce are the, husband’s employment; overall financial situation; expectations about household tasks; constant bickering; communication with spouse; parents or in-laws; and time spent together with spouse. If your marriage has any of these problem areas which lead to divorce in it, your marriage may be heading for divorce unless you and your spouse choose to give sacrificial love to each other.
“Just how do we give sacrificial love to each other?” you ask? The only way to have sacrificial love to give to each other is to want to give it to your spouse and to look at God’s example of sacrificial love He has towards us. For God so loved the world that He gave His only begotten Son to suffer and die on a cross so that those who believe in Him will not perish yet have everlasting life (John 3:16). While we were yet sinners, Christ Jesus died for us (Romans 5:8). From God’s example love for us we understand that we are not perfect yet God loves us enough to suffer and die for us and that our first thought shouldn’t be for our own desires but that of our spouse’s needs. Also from God’s example we learn that love is a choice which is made, not a feeling which can change over time and under certain conditions.
Neither spouse in a marriage is perfect. In our being imperfect husbands and wives, we will make mistakes during our marriage. It is the responsibility of both husband and wife to accept that they are not perfect and that their spouse is not perfect and that mistakes will be made. Mistakes being made by a husband and wife don’t mean that the love has gone from the marriage; it only means that a husband and wife are human. If both the husband and wife in a marriage give sacrificial love to each other, the individual mistakes made by each will not fester and rot the marriage into divorce but will help each partner together to build an even stronger marriage, closer relationship together and with God.
The Cause of Divorce and its Prevention
Thus the main cause of divorce in all cases is that either one spouse or both spouses together didn’t equally express sacrificial love to each other as God’s example to us does. The only way for each spouse to have sacrificial love for the other is for each spouse to repent of his/her wrong doings (sins) to each other and to God and to accept Christ Jesus as full payment for their sins and follow God’s example of sacrificial love. It is each spouse’s choice to have a loving and lasting marriage and the only way to have a loving and lasting marriage is for each husband and wife to give sacrificial love to their spouse.
Center for Marriage and Family’s Web site: www.creighton.edu/MarriageandFamily. “Time, sex, money biggest obstacles for young married Couples” By Mark Pattison, Catholic News Service.
“The Love Dare” from the movie “FireProof” http://www.thelovedarebook.com