Over the last several decades, the institution of marriage has come under intense pressure as more and more people, both young and old alike, have opted for co-habiting. My wife and I have just celebrated our ruby (40th) wedding anniversary. Over the years of our marriage we have seen the unfortunate changes in society where a more selfish and ungodly approach has become the norm. Unfortunately, many who do get married don’t remain in that God-ordained union.
At present, most of Britain’s 42 million adults are married, but the Government Actuary’s Department predicts that the British society will change significantly over the next two decades. By 2011, just 46% of women and 48% of men will be married in Britain.
Divorce statistics are very revealing. In the UK in 1961, there were 27,000 divorces and yet, 41 years later, in 2002, the figure has risen to 160,000. In the United States, in 1999 there were 8.4 marriages and 4.2 divorces per 1,000 total population, and in the year 2000, there were 21 million divorces. And now, according to one web site, divorce statistics are no longer collated in America. The rest of the world tends to follow, to one degree or another, these unfortunate trends. These statistics cannot possibly relate the sum total of human suffering that is generated by divorce. Perhaps that is a significant factor, but certainly not the only one, for those opting for co-habitation. A senior counselor at Relate, a UK relationship charity, said that many people cannot see the point of marriage since the loss of tax breaks and better rights for unmarried fathers make co-habitation “more appealing.” And, of course, the religious aspect of marriage no longer seems relevant in an increasingly secular society.
Right at the dawn of civilization, God instructed that “a man shall leave his father and mother and be joined to his wife” (Genesis 2:24). There was no instruction for, or acceptance of, co-habitation, which is a state where there is no real evidence of marital commitment and where therefore fornication takes place. We are told to flee fornication (1 Corinthians 6:18).
When my wife and I were married in 1965, we expected our marriage to last until “death do us part” and we still do believe in this. Unfortunately today, it seems that marriage only lasts until the first sign of trouble. Divorce has been made relatively easy and so many don’t seem to want to work through their problems, instead taking what they think is the easier option.
The spiritual application of marriage is totally lost on an ungodly society which simply has little or no interest in the Creator. In Ephesians 5:22-33 we see that the Christian marriage of a husband and wife has a spiritual application to Christ and the Church. This is further confirmed in Revelation 19:7 where we are told that the marriage of the Lamb (Christ) has come and His wife (the Church) has made herself ready.
How sad that humans (seemingly) think that they know better than the One Who created them. As a consequence, they have to endure all of the misery and suffering that is the legacy of ignoring the wise advice freely available in the Bible. Irrespective of changes in society and the development of new cultural norms and attitudes, the institution of marriage between a man and a woman is holy and was created by God.
Everything else is just an ungodly counterfeit.