Matthew 19:5,6

 

On your wedding day the preacher asked you a question like: Do you, Husband’s name, take Wife’s name to be your wife, to have and to hold, from this day forward, for better for worse, for richer for poorer, in sickness and in health, to love and to cherish, until you are parted by death, as God is your witness?  (I do)

 

Does anyone get married planning on getting a divorce? Some hedge their bets and make a pre-nuptial agreement but if you weren’t planning to fulfill your vow why would you be getting married.  That is some of the reason why couples are living together instead of getting married; they think that giving it a try will help them make a better decision but statistics I have read show that 75% couples who live together before their wedding day get a divorce.

 

Marriage is a commitment – all commitments are hard – there are always difficulties that arise, unforeseen issues. When was the last time anything went as planned?   Nothing goes perfect without complications.

 

Marriage is a lifetime commitment – Until parted by death.

Divorce is not an option (Murder maybe – but that isn’t something we should joke about)

 

I thought life expectancy was getting longer in America but you can’t tell it by the length of marriages.

 

Median duration of first marriages that end in divorce: Males: 7.8 years       Females: 7.9 years
Median duration of second marriages that end in divorce: Males: 7.3 years   Females: 6.8 years
By the numbers people don’t find their “soul mate”. It is not about finding the right person but being the right person.  A person who is committed and works to save and improve their marriage.

 

These stats are impressive in the celebrity world. I saw an article this week of the shortest marriages.

Jennifier Lopez and Cris Judd were only married for 218 days and put them at number 17. Cher and Gregg Allman were only married 9 days just like Carmen Electra and Dennis Rodman.  But the winner is Britney Spears and Jason Alexander were only married 55 hours.

 

To be fair there is a long list of celebrities that have been married 25 plus years also. That is rare even among non-celebrities.

 
Percentage of married people who reach their 5th, 10th, and 15th anniversaries: 5th: 82% 10th: 65% 15th: 52%
Percentage of married people who reach their 25th, 35th, and 50th anniversaries: 25th: 33% 35th: 20% 50th: 5%

Denzel and Paulette Washington have been married 34 years and Ozzy and Sharon Osbourne 35, the winner on the list I saw was Dolly Parton and Carl Dean, they have celebrated 50 years.

 

Hitting 50 years may be an issue of health and not commitment. These statistics are not true in this congregation.  Only one couple who attended faithfully has divorced in the past 14 years.  That does not mean we haven’t all been through some rough patches but we remained faithful and worked to save our marriages.  That has taken forgiveness and more forgiveness; it has taken love and self-sacrifice; it has taken change and acceptance.

 

When we have the proper attitude about marriage we remain faithful to our vows. When we see marriage as a contract and not a covenant is when we get in trouble.

 

A COVENANT is an agreement made in trust. The parties love each other and put no limits on their own responsibility.

A CONTRACT is an agreement made in suspicion. The parties do not trust each other, and they set “limits” to their own responsibility.

Is your marriage a covenant to each other and to God or is it a contract?

A contract says I’ll do 50% if you do 50% but if I don’t think you holding up your end of                                     the deal then I am released from my end and I am out.

A covenant says I’ll meet your needs even if you do not meet my needs, I will give 100%.  I love you for you; I don’t love you for what I can get from you.

 

Video – 2:35

 

Caleb had a contract marriage, Michael had a Covenant marriage.

A contract marriage says, I want peace, this is not working out, we are two different people now, I’ve fallen out of love, and my favorite excuse – I never did love her. These excuses are what pass for “irreconcilable differences.”  All marriages have differences it is your attitude which makes them irreconcilable.

 

We wear wedding rings to remind us of the commitment we made on our wedding day.

 

The Preacher may have said something like this during the Exchange of Rings

Though small in size, these rings are very large in significance.  Made of precious metal, they remind us that love is not cheap nor common; indeed, love may cost us dearly.  Made in a circle, their design tells us that love must never come to an end; we must keep it continuous.

As you wear these rings, whether together or apart for a moment, may they be constant reminder of the commitment you have made today.

These rings are a symbol of the vows you have made.

 

Then the preacher may have had you repeat these words:

With this ring I seal my promise, to be you faithful and loving husband, as God is my witness.

 

Your wedding ring is a symbol of your commitment, your lifelong covenant to your spouse.

When that is your attitude you will make your marriage fireproof.

 

Five attitudes you need to work through the difficulties of marriage.

  1. God is First – He is the focus of your life and He is the focus of your marriage.

Matthew 6:33  But seek first his kingdom and his righteousness, and all these things will be given to you as well.

 

  1. Humble Yourself – Respect your spouse – your spouse is different, but so are you.

1 Peter 5:6  Humble yourselves, therefore, under God’s mighty hand, that he may lift you up in due time. 7  Cast all your anxiety on him because he cares for you.

 

  1. Bless your Enemies – Tell you each other, “I am not your enemy” but when you feel like they are                         bless them anyway.  Do not repay evil for evil.

Romans 12:21  Do not be overcome by evil, but overcome evil with good.

 

  1. Submit to Each other – In Christ you are equal and fellow brother and sister in Christ.

Ephesians 5:21  Submit to one another out of reverence for Christ.

 

  1. Live in the Spirit – Grow in the fruit of the Spirit –

Galatians 5:22  But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, 23  gentleness and self-control. Against such things there is no law.

 

If you set these goals, have these attitudes in your marriage you will be able to make it through any difficulty. You may still need help, Christian friends, your preacher, a professional counselor but you can make it.

 

Marriage is a commitment a covenant, not a contract.

Marriage is gluing the salt and pepper shakers together.  Glue yourselves together with Gorilla glue, you know if you try to separate both of you will be hurt.  So, then you decide to work it out.

 

Consider yourself conjoined twins. There is no where to go – you had better work it out.

I read a powerful article about Abby and Brittany Hensel (http://www.bbc.com/news/magazine-22181528).  It is so hard to believe and seems difficult but they make it work great.  Read the three year old article by the BBC and you will see what real team work looks like.

 

God says husband and wife become one flesh.

Matthew 19:5 ‘For this reason a man will leave his father and mother and be united to his wife, and the two will become one flesh’? 6  So they are no longer two, but one. Therefore what God has joined together, let man not separate.”

 

Unity candle / Sand Ceremony – The Preacher said something like:

The two outside candles have been lighted to represent your lives to this moment.  They are two distinct lights, each capable of going its separate way.  To bring joy and radiance into your home, there must be the merging of these two flames into one.

From this time onward may your thoughts be for each other rather than for your individual selves; may your plans be mutual, your joys and sorrows shared.

As you each take a candle and together light the center one, you will extinguish your own candles, thus having the center candle represent the union of your two lives into one flesh.  As this center light, cannot be divided, let not your lives be divided.

 

I think the Sand Ceremony is even more powerful because it is easy to see that once you mix the different colors of sand together you can never completely separate what you mixed together.

 

But in our society people say, You deserve to be happy, just get a divorce.

An all-female law firm of divorce lawyers in Chicago put up a highly inappropriate billboard several years ago that read, “Life’s Short. Get a Divorce.”

I have had people come into my office – not from this congregation and say that they deserve to be happy and want to get a divorce or I just want to move on with my life.  Both statements are lies.

You won’t be happier after your divorce.  You will be happier when you work through your issues and stay together.   The kids will be happier and healthier also.  Remember the statistics – first marriages last 7.8 years and second marriages last 7 years.  It is not going to get better.  This information is for you but also to educate you to help others.

 

What word did Jesus use to describe marriage?  He used three words and the all mean the same thing.

United, One, Joined – We must be emotionally, physically, and spiritually One with our spouse if we are going to have the happiest and healthiest marriage.

Are you one with your spouse? Are you a team working together for the same goals?  Or are you doing and focusing on your own thing?

 

We can have a happy, not perfect lifelong marriage if we are faithful to the commitment we made to our spouse before God on our wedding day.

No excuses, just faithfulness and hard work.

 

In the Movie – Caleb said marriages are not fireproof.

I disagree – Two people who are both growing in Jesus will not get a divorce.

So, the key is both of you coming to Jesus just the way you are and letting Jesus make you one in Him.

 

Do you need to do that today?

Christian – really be growing in Jesus

Or begin a relationship with Him for the first time today.