Why Is Marriage Down and Divorce Up?

marriage-broken.jpgPerhaps one of the reasons that increasing numbers of people are divorcing, or not getting married in the first place, is because they don’t understand the basic purpose of marriage. Smart Marriages has provided a concise summary of an article from the UK that describes the dilemma. As a response to that dilemma, I am providing a well-written paper from one of my students, Courtney Newberry (Master of Arts in Biblical Counseling student at Dallas Theological Seminary). My assumption is that if we knew more about what marriage is suppose to be, we would know better how to prepare ourselves for it, how to manage it better, and how to keep it together happily for a lifetime. First, the dilemma:

WEDDINGS ARE OFF: marriage rate falls to lowest level for 144 years
Helen Nugent, The Times March 26, 2008 (Click for the full article)
The proportion of Britons choosing to marry is at the lowest level since the figure was first calculated in 1862. Politicians and financial experts blamed the Government for the fall in the marriage rate, saying that the tax system encourages people to stay single. Academics said that young people were increasingly wary of commitment, and many preferred the freedom of the single lifestyle.The data, published yesterday by the Office for National Statistics, reflects a steady decrease in the number of marriages, bar a brief rise between 2002 and 2004.. . . There has not been a year with fewer marriages in England and Wales since 1895.

Mike Warburton, senior tax partner at the accountants Grant Thornton, said: There really are no tax incentives for marriage these days. Labour removed the married couples allowance and when you look at that in conjunction with the way tax credits work then you are better off being a single parent. The average age for marrying has gone up by about five years since 1991, and in 2006 the average age for a first marriage was 31.8 for men and 29.7 for women. Furthermore, since 1981, the number of unions that were the first for both partners has fallen by more than a third.

David Davis, the Shadow Home Secretary, said: This is a sad indictment of the Government¹s policies, which have penalised families and fuelled family breakdown.

UK DIVORCE ALSO ON THE RISE: Half of marriages ‘will end in divorce.’ Nearly half of all marriages will end in divorce, according to a study published today.

About 45% of marriages will not survive if current divorce rates continue – with almost half of these divorces happening before the couples reach their 10th anniversary.

The study by the Office for National Statistics (ONS) is published just a day after reports that marriage rates have fallen to the lowest level since records began.

newberry.jpg And now, for the part I like best, Courtney’s paper

God’s Purpose for Marriage

INTRODUCTION

The health of the institution of marriage is wavering in America today. According to the United States Marriage Index, the percentage of those couples whose first marriages were still intact dropped from 73.3% in 1970 to a staggering 58.5% in 2000.[1] A growing number of children today are living with only one parent as opposed to both parents in past decades.[2] The reasons for getting married appear to be as flimsy as the marriages themselves. Finding a “soul mate” has become the main criteria in this generation’s quest for a partner, including a time of cohabitation to ensure sexual and relational compatibility.[3] It is evident that there has been a shift away from the sacredness of marriage, which has resulted in brokenness and loss. This paper will seek to show that God’s intended heart for marriage is something altogether different from the world’s view. God’s purpose for marriage is to make each couple more like Christ by teaching them how to love like Christ, to submit like Christ, and to persevere like Christ.

LOVE LIKE CHRIST

God designed marriage to teach his people how to love like Christ. “Marriage creates a climate where this love is put to the test.”[4] In Matthew 22:36-40, Jesus says that the greatest commandment in the Law is to “love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind.” It would make sense, therefore, that the sacred union He designed in marriage would work to fulfill that ultimate purpose. “The first purpose in marriage—beyond happiness, sexual expression, the bearing of children, companionship, mutual provision, or anything else—is to please God.”[5] God has created marriage to be a greenhouse of understanding and growing in how to love Him more. “Marriage can be a gym in which our capacity to experience and express God’s love is strengthened and further developed”[6] As each spouse selflessly and deliberately chooses to love the other, they are learning to love the Father, and, in turn, to love like Christ.

Christ’s Self-Giving Love

It was Christ’s pleasure to love the Father. “…the Son appears delighting in and glorifying the Father. After conquering all things and reigning over his kingdom, the Son lays all things at the feet of the Father.”[7] His love was manifested through obedience, humility, and exaltation of the Father (Jn. 5:43, Jn 6:57). It was indeed a self-giving love. “The Savior emphasizes the daily sacrifice of oneself in love and obedience to God—a continual letting go of life that daily refills the believer with the life of God.”[8] The love of the Father, Son and Holy Spirit toward each other is a model for how a man and wife are to love each other. It is through marriage that God wants to teach his children how to love in this way. Self-giving love, however, is not a typical view for most of what marriage will be like. “Most people are romantically drawn to those who will gratify them, so marry with expectations of being fulfilled by their mate. This type of love is not true selfless love, but is self-centered, basing its attraction on personal gratification.”[9] God’s desire is that both the husband and wife love one another out of a selfless love. In Ephesians 5:25, the husband is called to love his wife as Christ loved the church and gave his life up for her. This love of Christ was sacrificial, unassuming, and not based on any “good” actions of the church.

Paul goes on to say that a husband is to love his wife as his own body, and that He who loves his wife loves himself. He is to care for her, as if he is caring for himself. This intrinsically implies “oneness” or “one fleshness” (Eph. 5:31). In this sense, the husband and wife are united intimately: physically, emotionally, and spiritually. Intrinsically, there is no room for selfless love in this type of relationship. Genesis 2:24 speaks of this when it says, “Therefore a man and wife shall leave his father and his mother and hold fast to his wife, and they shall become one flesh.” The concept of “one flesh” implies intimacy, connectedness, and mutual understanding.[10] Additionally, the Theological Workbook of the Old Testament says that the idea of “holding fast” (ESV) or “cleaving” (KJV) involves bonding together, much like gluing two things. Some of the synonyms used are “cling to, stick to, join with, join to.”[11] This love is deliberate and intentional about growing in intimacy. Many in today’s society see a “one flesh” view of marriage as suffocating or a hindrance to their independence. In reality, however, the benefits of this type of love commitment appear, not only biblically, but emotionally and socially, as well. According to the Journal of Marriage and Family, marriage is associated with reduced levels of depression. Additionally, those who do not cohabit before marriage, are less likely to be depressed.[12] “The Marital Status and Longevity in the US Population” reports that the odds of mortality are 58% higher for those who have never been married and 27% higher for divorced/separated individuals than that of married individuals.[13] Learning to love like Christ through marriage reaps a myriad of positive consequences.

For thousands of years, however, almost no one believed that people should marry for love. “Married love gains currency, but for intimacy and passion, people still turn to family, lovers and friends.”[14] This was the mindset of the Victorian era. Marriage was a political and family affair, not a love affair. In the 1690s in Virginia, “passionate love between husband and wife was considered unseemly… Protestant pastors warn spouses against loving each other too much, or using endearing nicknames that will undermine husbandly authority.”[15] The problem, it seems, both then and today, is not with the reality love itself, but its definition. Love is most often used to describe a feeling or an emotional state of being toward another individual. This, however, is an inadequate definition, only offering a mere taste of the true essence of the idea. When John wrote, “For God so loved the world that He gave His only begotten Son…”(John 3:16), He was not simply saying that God felt a strong feeling of attraction to the world or that He was so overwhelmed with emotion that He sacrificed His only Son. This love was a mark of His faithfulness and choice to pursue the people that he created, even in the midst of their flaws. God intends that love within the marriage relationship be a penetrating, all-encompassing decision to respond to another out of the incredible mercy that was given at the cross.

This new attitude [love] is far from a sentimental utopianism, for it must issue in practical help to those who need it, nor is it a superficial virtue, for it involves a fundamental response of the heart to the prior love of God and an acceptance of the Spirit’s work in the depths of a man’s being.”[16]

It is only because He first loved us that man is able to love at all (I Jn. 4:19). It is on this Biblical definition of love that God desires the union of man and woman to rest.

A Representation of Christ’s Love to the World

Marriage is not only designed to teach us how to love like Christ, but is also intended to be a tangible demonstration of Christ’s love to the world. “As long as a couple is married, they continue to display—however imperfectly—the ongoing commitment between Christ and his church.”[17] Paul expresses this analogy in his letter to the Ephesians, explaining the divine relationship between Christ and His people. As Christ nurtures and cherishes the church, so the husband is called to respond accordingly to his wife. Reference is also made in Paul’s letter to the church in Corinth, challenging them to return to Christ, the one to whom they were bethrothed (II Cor. 11:2).

A picture is also painted in the Old Testament of Israel as the Bride of Christ. It is the story of YHWH’s relentless pursuit and faithfulness of a fickle and loveless people. It begins as the Lord God makes a covenant with His people. “I made my vow to you and entered into a covenant with you, declares the Lord God, and you became mine (Jer. 16:8). “ Your Maker is your husband, the Lord of hosts is His Name” (Isa. 54:5). Israel, however, soon became tired of the commitment and lost sight of her Lover. Jeremiah 31:2 speaks of Israel’s turning away of their covenant with God, although He was their husband, and Jeremiah 3:20 says, “Surely as a treacherous wife leaves her husband, so you have been treacherous to me, O house of Israel, declares the Lord.” The story of Hosea, radically depicts the story of Israel’s return to other “loves.” It is God’s faithfulness in all the infidelity, disobedience, and betrayal that reveals Him as the ultimate example of husbandom.

A Picture of Reconciliation

Just as God will one day bring the nation of Israel to Himself, so also, he has made a way for the Gentile believers, the Church, to be united with Him in an everlasting bond, through the reconciling death of His Son Jesus Christ. Marriage is a tangible representation of this love reality. “More than seeing our marriage as a mutual comfort, we must see it as a word picture of the most important news humans have ever received—that there is a divine relationship between God and His people.”[18] The faithful and persistent union of a man and wife displays to the world, the faithful and persistent love of God. As humans, we are imagers, or representatives, of the Living God (Gen 9:6). Each man bears the fingerprint of his Divine Maker. Intentionally or unintentionally, man and woman reflects God to one another. Believers, therefore, empowered by the Holy Spirit, have the incredible responsibility to rightly image their King. “What a difference a divine image can make in a marriage. When you begin to relate as males and females according to your super-natural image, you move past the popular illusions and begin to pay attention to what is essential, spiritual, eternal, and even holy about your mate.”[19] Marriage is one venue where His image has the potential to be clearly seen. “In a man-centered view, we will maintain our marriage as long as our earthly comforts, desires, and expectations are met. In a God-centered view, we preserve our marriage because it brings glory to God and points a sinful world to a reconciling Creator.”[20] As man and woman consistently pursue one another, as Christ pursues His Church, with a self-giving, self-sacrificing love, they model to the world the love of a reconciling Lord.

SUBMIT LIKE CHRIST

God designed marriage to teach His people how to submit like Christ. “To fully sanctify the marital relationship, we must live it together as Jesus lived his life—embracing the discipline of sacrifice and service as a daily practice.”[21] Unfortunately, most people enter marriage with a self-serving attitude, asking the question, “What can my spouse do for me?” “A genuine loving commitment to a person requires selflessness—your goal being to give and get nothing back (I Cor. 13:5).”[22] This giving without expectation of receiving can best be defined as submission. In the Greek text, the word for submission is hupotasso, which means “a voluntary attitude of giving in and cooperating.” There is a humility and a spirit of teamwork needed to live in this way. Again, it becomes evident that “oneness” is essential to the concept of submission in marriage. It is only out of this “intimacy, connectedness, and mutual understanding” that submission has a healthy foundation on which to rest. “Regardless of the outcome, making decisions in the spirit of oneness is vital…Couples can cope with almost any situation, as long as they believe they are in it together; but when it becomes “my opinion versus yours,” the blaming starts and oneness stops.”[23] God speaks specifically to the need for a mutual yielding to one another in the marriage relationship. Paul says in Ephesians 5:21, that believers are to “submit to one another out of reverence for Christ” and that wives are to “submit to [their] own husbands, as to the Lord (Eph 5:22). It should be noted that God has called both partners in marriage to submit to one another.

There has, however, in recent centuries been tension over the role that submission should play within the marriage relationship. Stephanie Coontz notes that before the late 1700s, women were expected to obey their husbands as subjects obeyed the king. Under the influence of the French and American Revolutions, however, there arose a sense of independence and idealism, which inspired a compromise between an egalitarian and a patriarchal view of marriage. What was happening in the government was playing out at home.[24] In many ways this struggle for a woman to be a partner in her marriage is a reflection of God’s heart. It was never God’s intention that the wife should be a helpless subject of her dominating, all-powerful husband. It has always been His desire that both partners yield to one another, and ultimately to Him, as Lord. When the foundation of love is in place, genuine submission follows.

Christ as the Example

Jesus Christ is the ultimate example of this type of submission. Philippians 2 says that He was in the form of God, but did not consider equality with God something to be grasped. Instead, He made Himself nothing, taking on the form of a servant, being born in the likeness of men. And being found in human form, he humbled Himself by becoming obedient, to the point of death, even death on a cross.” Freely, he yielded himself to the will of His Father, cooperating with Him in oneness and freedom. It is this radical level of sacrifice that God has called marriages to reflect. God places men and women in the union of marriage to teach them what it tangibly looks like to submit in this way. Deuteronomy 24:5 says, “If a man has recently married, he must not be sent to war or have any other duty laid on him. For one year he is to be free to stay at home and bring happiness to the wife he has married.” This text explicitly calls the man to submit to his wife, seeking to make her happy, and thus honor the Lord.

Couples today, however, have lost sight of the purpose or need for submission in marriage. “While our society has become expert in self-care, we seemingly have lost the art of caring for others. Sacrifice has taken on such negative connotations that people fear being “co-dependant” more than they fear being perceived as selfish.”[25] In Genesis 2:18, God said that it was not good for man to be alone, so He, therefore, made a helper suitable for him. God acknowledged that there is a great need in us for partnership. He designed marriage as a central platform to teach his children what it looks like to submit to one another within that union. It is this constant yielding, just as the members of the Trinity yield to one another, that refines marriage partners into the image of Christ. God gave man and woman to each other in marriage to reveal the ugliness of selfishness and provide an opportunity in every moment to learn more about true submission.

Living Out Submission

God has given men and women many opportunities within marriage to live out the command to submit. “The important thing to remember is that service is a spiritual discipline we owe to God, and it can only be lived out as it is applied to others.”[26] In nearly every aspect of marriage, there is a call to yield. Perhaps the greatest tangible manifestation of this attitude is in the realm of children. In Genesis 1:28, God calls Adam and Eve to “be fruitful and multiply and fill the earth.” While it is not necessary to have children to please the Lord in a marriage relationship, raising a family is a primary outlet God uses to teach his children about submission. In Mark 10:43, Jesus says, “Whoever would be great among you, must be your servant.” He goes on to say, “For even the Son of Man came not to be served but to serve and to give his life as a ransom for many.” Raising a family challenges every married couple to put themselves aside and give their lives to care for the well-being of a helpless child.

Sexual submission is another venue through which couples can learn how to submit like Christ. “It is no exaggeration to say that the true nature of our spiritual character may be best demonstrated when we are engaging in sexual relations.”[27] It is through this process that God is able to teach the couple to be more selfless. It is in the mutual yielding of sex that the capacity for rich oneness is possible.

PERSERVERE LIKE CHRIST

God designed marriage to teach His people how to persevere like Christ. “Without testing through suffering, a Christian will never grow strong in Christ. Growth, both natural and spiritual, comes only through challenge.”[28] It is through the difficulties of marriage that God molds his creation. The author of Hebrews says, “Endure hardship as discipline;…God disciplines us for our good, that we may share in his holiness…it produces a harvest of righteousness and peace for those who have been trained by it” (Hebrews 12:7, 10,11). “Consider it joy,” James says, “whenever you face trials of many kinds, because you know that the testing of your faith develops perseverance” (James 1:2). God calls the husband and wife to endure together the loss of a child, the painful diagnosis of a disease, or the heartbreaking battle with alcoholism. He challenges each couple to wrestle through it and continue to pursue each other, in order to “share in His holiness” (Hebrews 12:10).

Pictures of Perseverance

There are two clear pictures painted in Scripture of what it looks like to continue in the midst of agony. The first reflects back to the previously mentioned relationship with YHWH and his people, Israel. When Israel was faithless to the Lord, He remained faithful. Through periods of joy and celebration, as well as times of silence and frustration, God continued to keep his covenant of love with Israel. “Marriage helps us to develop the character of God Himself as we stick with our spouses through the good times and bad.”[29] God knows the hurt, devastation, and oftentimes pain, of a commitment to an imperfect people. He endured the greatest hardship, the death of His only Son, in order to be with His Creation. It is in Christ that we see a second example of perseverance in the midst of great struggle. “Although he was a son,” the author of Hebrews says, “he learned obedience from what he suffered” (Heb. 5:8). Christ bravely endured the spit and beatings of this world, in order that man would have a way to be in relationship with the Father. It was out of devotedness to His Father and a love for His people, that he offered Himself daily, and ultimately, at the cross. “God’s goal is not for us to put up with our mate, but for us to be uncompromisingly devoted to them, seeking to get back nothing in return. There is a world of difference between toleration and commitment—the one is self-protective, the other is self-sacrificing.”[30] God longs for his children to be committed to one another.

Our Culture’s View of Perseverance

The problem in today’s society is that people don’t want to stick around through the mess long enough to reap the reward on the other side. Instead, in nearly 50% of marriages in the United States, one or both of the partners have given up on the relationship.[31] There is no longer a commitment to persevere, but, instead, a longing to avoid exposure to hurt, discomfort or pain. The desire to cohabitate has increased, quickening the escape route, if the relationship goes sour. There is a resistance to risk the commitment to “oneness,” in its fullest sense, for fear that things might get difficult. The reality is, however, that along with the benefits of growth, which God provides, there are social advantages to persevering in marriage. Being married increases the likelihood that fathers will have good relationships with their children. Sixty five percent of young adults whose parents divorced had poor relationships with their fathers (compared to 29% from non-divorced families). Married women have a third less risk of domestic violence than cohabitating or single women. Additionally, adults who live together, but do not marry—cohabitators—are more similar to singles than to married couples in terms of physical health, disability, emotional well-being, and mental health, as well as assets and earnings.[32]

Ultimately, perseverance comes down to perspective. “If we live without an eternal perspective, earthly trials become larger than life. Without the hope of heaven or the sense of the importance of a growing character and refinement…Life gets boring, tedious and tiresome.”[33] It is man’s desire for immediate satisfaction and pleasure that often pushes him toward an escape. Maintaining a heavenly vision for what will be produced in us both here on the earth and in heaven will effect the choices believers make in their marriages. This, in fact, was Christ’s goal while here on the earth. He recognized that His ultimate purpose was to please his Father, do His will, and ultimately return to be with the Father (Jn 5:36-37). His vision was always pointed heavenward, trusting that, his suffering was a necessary part of God’s plan for ultimate redemption.

CONCLUSION

The aforementioned argument has shown that God’s purpose in marriage is to make each couple more like Christ, by teaching his people how to love like Christ, submit like Christ, and persevere like Christ. It is evident that marriage is a sacred institution, which God has designed for more than simply happiness. As a believer, one must recognize that through the marriage relationship, God has afforded man both the opportunity to please Him and to become like Him. It is a daily choice that each partner must make to fully embrace God’s ultimate purpose for marriage and to reflect that purpose to a needy world.

REFERENCES

<!–[if supportFields]> ADDIN EN.REFLIST <![endif]–>Barr, J. “Love.” In The New Bible Dictionary, ed. A.R. Millard I. Howard Marshall, J.I. Packer, D.J. Wiseman. Downers Grove: Intervarsity Press, 2001.

Blankenhorn, David. The Future of Marriage. New York: Encounter, 2007.

Bradley, Reb. “What Is God’s Primary Purpose for Marriage.” In Help for the Struggling Marriage: www.familyministries.com.

Coontz, Stephanie. “Marriage, a History.” Psychology Today, 2005.

________. Marriage: A History. How Love Conquered Marriage. New York: Penguin Books, 2005.

Horrell, J. Scott. “The Self-Giving God, the Imago Dei, and the Image of the Church.” Class Notes: Dallas Theological Seminary, 2006.

Jones, Dr. French. “Marriage Is Oneness.” Class Notes: Dallas Theological Seminary, 2008.

Julianna Slattery, Psy. D. Finding the Hero in Your Husband. Deerfield Beach: Health Communications, 2001.

Kathleen Lamb, Gary Lee, Alfred DeMaris. “Union Formation and Depression: Selection and Relationship Effects.” Journal of Marriage and Family 65, no. 4 (2003): 953-962.

R. Laird Harris, Gleason L. Archer, Jr., Bruce K. Waltke, ed. Theological Workbook of the Old Testament. Vol. 1. Chicago: Moody Press, 1980.

Robert M. Kaplan, Richard G. Kronick. “Marital Status and Longevity in the Us Population.” Journal of Epidemiology and Community Health 60 (2006).

Shevack, Michael. Adam and Eve: Marriage Secrets from the Garden of Eden. New York: Paulist Press, 2003.

Thomas, Gary. Sacred Marriage. Grand Rapids Zondervan, 2000.

Wilcox, W. Bradford. Why Marriage Matters, Second Edition: Twenty-Six Conclusions from the Social Sciences. University of Virginia, 2008.

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[1] <!–[if supportFields]> ADDIN EN.CITE <EndNote><Cite><Author>Blankenhorn</Author><Year>2007</Year><RecNum>6</RecNum><record><rec-number>6</rec-number><ref-type name=”Book”>6</ref-type><contributors><authors><author>David Blankenhorn</author></authors></contributors><titles><title>The Future of Marriage</title></titles><dates><year>2007</year></dates><pub-location>New York</pub-location><publisher>Encounter</publisher><urls></urls></record></Cite></EndNote><![endif]–>David Blankenhorn, The Future of Marriage (New York: Encounter, 2007), 241-243.<!–[if supportFields]><![endif]–>

[2] Blankenhorn, The Future of Marriage, 241-243.

[3] <!–[if supportFields]> ADDIN EN.CITE <EndNote><Cite><Author>Coontz</Author><Year>2005</Year><RecNum>2</RecNum><record><rec-number>2</rec-number><ref-type name=”Magazine Article”>19</ref-type><contributors><authors><author>Stephanie Coontz</author></authors></contributors><titles><title>Marriage, A History</title><secondary-title>Psychology Today</secondary-title></titles><volume>May/June 2005</volume><number>3783</number><dates><year>2005</year></dates><urls></urls></record></Cite></EndNote><![endif]–>Stephanie Coontz, “Marriage, a History,” Psychology Today, May/June 2005

(PsychologyToday.com) 2.<!–[if supportFields]><![endif]–>

[4] <!–[if supportFields]> ADDIN EN.CITE <EndNote><Cite><Author>Thomas</Author><Year>2000</Year><RecNum>11</RecNum><record><rec-number>11</rec-number><ref-type name=”Book”>6</ref-type><contributors><authors><author>Gary Thomas</author></authors></contributors><titles><title>Sacred Marriage</title></titles><dates><year>2000</year></dates><pub-location>Grand Rapids </pub-location><publisher>Zondervan</publisher><urls></urls></record></Cite></EndNote><![endif]–>Gary Thomas, Sacred Marriage (Grand Rapids Zondervan, 2000), 40.<!–[if supportFields]><![endif]–>

[5] Thomas, The Sacred Marriage, 33.

[6] Thomas, The Sacred Marriage, 40.

[7] <!–[if supportFields]> ADDIN EN.CITE <EndNote><Cite><Author>Horrell</Author><Year>2006</Year><RecNum>9</RecNum><record><rec-number>9</rec-number><ref-type name=”Unpublished Work”>34</ref-type><contributors><authors><author>J. Scott Horrell</author></authors></contributors><titles><title>The Self-Giving God, the Imago Dei, and the Image of the Church</title></titles><pages>4, 10</pages><dates><year>2006</year></dates><publisher>Dallas Theological Seminary</publisher><work-type>Trinitarian Notes</work-type><urls></urls></record></Cite></EndNote><![endif]–>J. Scott Horrell, “The Self-Giving God, the Imago Dei, and the Image of the Church,”

(Dallas Theological Seminary, 2006), 4.<!–[if supportFields]><![endif]–>

[8] Horrell, The Self-Giving God, 10.

[9] <!–[if supportFields]> ADDIN EN.CITE <EndNote><Cite><Author>Bradley</Author><RecNum>1</RecNum><record><rec-number>1</rec-number><ref-type name=”Online Multimedia”>48</ref-type><contributors><authors><author>Reb Bradley</author></authors></contributors><titles><title>What is God’s Primary Purpose for Marriage</title><secondary-title>Help for the Struggling Marriage</secondary-title></titles><dates><pub-dates><date>January 26, 2008</date></pub-dates></dates><publisher>www.familyministries.com</publisher><work-type>Excerpt from Manuscript</work-type><urls></urls><electronic-resource-num>www.familyministries.com</electronic-resource-num></record></Cite><Cite><Author>Bradley</Author><RecNum>1</RecNum><record><rec-number>1</rec-number><ref-type name=”Online Multimedia”>48</ref-type><contributors><authors><author>Reb Bradley</author></authors></contributors><titles><title>What is God’s Primary Purpose for Marriage</title><secondary-title>Help for the Struggling Marriage</secondary-title></titles><dates><pub-dates><date>January 26, 2008</date></pub-dates></dates><publisher>www.familyministries.com</publisher><work-type>Excerpt from Manuscript</work-type><urls></urls><electronic-resource-num>www.familyministries.com</electronic-resource-num></record></Cite></EndNote><![endif]–>Reb Bradley, “What Is God’s Primary Purpose for Marriage,” in Help for the Struggling

Marriage (www.familyministries.com), 1.<!–[if supportFields]><![endif]–>

[10] <!–[if supportFields]> ADDIN EN.CITE <EndNote><Cite><Author>Jones</Author><Year>2008</Year><RecNum>8</RecNum><record><rec-number>8</rec-number><ref-type name=”Unpublished Work”>34</ref-type><contributors><authors><author>Dr. French Jones</author></authors></contributors><titles><title>Marriage is Oneness</title></titles><dates><year>2008</year></dates><publisher>Dallas Theological Seminary</publisher><work-type>Teaching Notes from Marriage Therapy</work-type><urls></urls></record></Cite></EndNote><![endif]–>Dr. French Jones, “A Theory of Marriage,” (Dallas Theological Seminary, 2008),

Slide 3.<!–[if supportFields]><![endif]–>

[11]<!–[if supportFields]> ADDIN EN.CITE <EndNote><Cite><Author>R. Laird Harris</Author><Year>1980</Year><RecNum>14</RecNum><record><rec-number>14</rec-number><ref-type name=”Edited Book”>28</ref-type><contributors><authors><author>R. Laird Harris, Gleason L. Archer, Jr., Bruce K. Waltke</author></authors></contributors><titles><title>Theological Workbook of the Old Testament</title></titles><volume>1</volume><dates><year>1980</year></dates><pub-location>Chicago</pub-location><publisher>Moody Press</publisher><urls></urls></record></Cite></EndNote><![endif]–>Gleason L. Archer R. Laird Harris, Jr., Bruce K. Waltke, ed., Theological Workbook of

the Old Testament, vol. 1 (Chicago: Moody Press, 1980), 177.<!–[if supportFields]><![endif]–>

[12] <!–[if supportFields]> ADDIN EN.CITE <EndNote><Cite><Author>Kathleen Lamb</Author><Year>2003</Year><RecNum>4</RecNum><record><rec-number>4</rec-number><ref-type name=”Journal Article”>17</ref-type><contributors><authors><author>Kathleen Lamb, Gary Lee, Alfred DeMaris</author></authors></contributors><titles><title>Union Formation and Depression: Selection and Relationship Effects</title><secondary-title>Journal of Marriage and Family</secondary-title></titles><periodical><full-title>Journal of Marriage and Family</full-title></periodical><pages>953-962.</pages><volume>65</volume><number>4</number><dates><year>2003</year></dates><urls></urls></record></Cite></EndNote><![endif]–>Gary Lee Kathleen Lamb, Alfred DeMaris, “Union Formation and Depression:

Selection and Relationship Effects,” Journal of Marriage and Family 65, no. 4 (2003),

953-962.<!–[if supportFields]><![endif]–>

[13] <!–[if supportFields]> ADDIN EN.CITE <EndNote><Cite><Author>Robert M. Kaplan</Author><Year>2006</Year><RecNum>15</RecNum><record><rec-number>15</rec-number><ref-type name=”Journal Article”>17</ref-type><contributors><authors><author>Robert M. Kaplan, Richard G. Kronick</author></authors></contributors><titles><title>Marital Status and Longevity in the US Population</title><secondary-title>Journal of Epidemiology and Community Health</secondary-title></titles><periodical><full-title>Journal of Epidemiology and Community Health</full-title></periodical><volume>60</volume><dates><year>2006</year></dates><urls></urls></record></Cite></EndNote><![endif]–>Richard G. Kronick Robert M. Kaplan, “Marital Status and Longevity in the Us

Population,” Journal of Epidemiology and Community Health 60 (2006), 760-765.<!–[if supportFields]><![endif]–>

[14] Coontz, Marriage, a History, 1.

[15] Coontz, Marriage, a History, 2.

[16] <!–[if supportFields]> ADDIN EN.CITE <EndNote><Cite><Author>Barr</Author><Year>2001</Year><RecNum>10</RecNum><record><rec-number>10</rec-number><ref-type name=”Book Section”>5</ref-type><contributors><authors><author>J. Barr</author></authors><secondary-authors><author>I. Howard Marshall, A.R. Millard, J.I. Packer, D.J. Wiseman</author></secondary-authors></contributors><titles><title>Love</title><secondary-title>The New Bible Dictionary</secondary-title></titles><dates><year>2001</year></dates><pub-location>Downers Grove</pub-location><publisher>Intervarsity Press</publisher><urls></urls></record></Cite></EndNote><![endif]–>J. Barr, “Love,” in The New Bible Dictionary, ed. A.R. Millard I. Howard Marshall, J.I. Packer, D.J. Wiseman (Downers Grove: Intervarsity Press, 2001), 702.<!–[if supportFields]><![endif]–>

[17] Thomas, Sacred Marriage, 31.

[18] Thomas, Sacred Marriage, 32.

[19] <!–[if supportFields]> ADDIN EN.CITE <EndNote><Cite><Author>Shevack</Author><Year>2003</Year><RecNum>16</RecNum><record><rec-number>16</rec-number><ref-type name=”Book”>6</ref-type><contributors><authors><author>Michael Shevack</author></authors></contributors><titles><title>Adam and Eve: Marriage Secrets from the Garden of Eden</title></titles><dates><year>2003</year></dates><pub-location>New York</pub-location><publisher>Paulist Press</publisher><urls></urls></record></Cite></EndNote><![endif]–>Michael Shevack, Adam and Eve: Marriage Secrets from the Garden of Eden (New

York: Paulist Press, 2003), 35.<!–[if supportFields]><![endif]–>

[20] Thomas, Sacred Marriage, 32.

[21] Thomas, Sacred Marriage, 187.

[22] Bradley, God’s Primary Purpose, 2.

[23] <!–[if supportFields]> ADDIN EN.CITE <EndNote><Cite><Author>Julianna Slattery</Author><Year>2001</Year><RecNum>12</RecNum><record><rec-number>12</rec-number><ref-type name=”Book”>6</ref-type><contributors><authors><author>Julianna Slattery, Psy. D.</author></authors></contributors><titles><title>Finding the Hero in Your Husband</title></titles><dates><year>2001</year></dates><pub-location>Deerfield Beach</pub-location><publisher>Health Communications</publisher><urls></urls></record></Cite></EndNote><![endif]–>Psy. D. Julianna Slattery, Finding the Hero in Your Husband (Deerfield Beach: Health

Communications, 2001), 55-56.<!–[if supportFields]><![endif]–>

[24] <!–[if supportFields]> ADDIN EN.CITE <EndNote><Cite><Author>Coontz</Author><Year>2005</Year><RecNum>17</RecNum><record><rec-number>17</rec-number><ref-type name=”Book”>6</ref-type><contributors><authors><author>Stephanie Coontz</author></authors></contributors><titles><title>Marriage: A History. How Love Conquered Marriage</title></titles><dates><year>2005</year></dates><pub-location>New York</pub-location><publisher>Penguin Books</publisher><urls></urls></record></Cite></EndNote><![endif]–>Stephanie Coontz, Marriage: A History. How Love Conquered Marriage (New York:

Penguin Books, 2005), 141-153.<!–[if supportFields]><![endif]–>

[25] Thomas, Sacred Marriage, 43.

[26] Thomas, Sacred Marriage, 188.

[27] Thomas, Sacred Marriage, 195.

[28] Bradely, God’s Primary Purpose, 3.

[29] Thomas, Sacred Marriage, 107.

[30] Bradley, God’s Primary Purpose, 3.

[31] Blankenship, The Future of Marriage, 241-243.

[32] <!–[if supportFields]> ADDIN EN.CITE <EndNote><Cite><Author>Wilcox</Author><Year>2008</Year><RecNum>5</RecNum><record><rec-number>5</rec-number><ref-type name=”Report”>27</ref-type><contributors><authors><author>W. Bradford Wilcox</author></authors></contributors><titles><title>Why Marriage Matters, Second Edition: Twenty-Six Conclusions from the Social Sciences</title></titles><dates><year>2008</year></dates><publisher>University of Virginia</publisher><urls></urls></record></Cite></EndNote><![endif]–>W. Bradford Wilcox, Why Marriage Matters, Second Edition: Twenty-Six Conclusions

from the Social Sciences (University of Virginia, 2008), 241-243.<!–[if supportFields]><![endif]–>

[33] Thomas, Sacred Marriage, 150.

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2 Responses to Why Is Marriage Down and Divorce Up?

  1. Debbie says:

    This was a real blessing to read….I’ve been married 37 years come
    aug 24th. I’ve always known the Lord has used my marriage more than anything else to make me NEED HIM. One thing I realized this morning was that as I became a mother for the first time at 17 I began to realize the more I had to put that babies needs in front of my own, the more I loved her….she is now 35 and has 3 siblings of which the Lord used all of them in my life and still does. But you know I’ve always been very selfish in wanting my husband to meet my needs (emotionally) and I’ve realized it has never been about me, but about Christ being put on display….and the more I will willingly be concerned with meeting the needs of my husband instead of my own, I will love him. He is to be the object of my love, not some idea of the pitter pat I have felt from time to time…love is what you give to another….God has most definitely used our marriage to conform to his idea of what I should be, and that is His Son Jesus….Thank you for the article. I have most definitely been quite self centered in the love I’ve given, and because it’s been about me, I’ve been often disappointed…Blessings, Debbie

  2. Excellent goods from you, man. I have understand your
    stuff previous to and you’re just extremely wonderful. I actually like what you have acquired here, certainly like what you are saying and the way in which you say it. You make it enjoyable and you still care for to keep it wise. I cant wait to read far more from you. This is really a terrific site.

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