by Willie and Elaine Oliver
‘So then, they are no longer two but one flesh. Therefore what God has joined together, let not man separate.’ Matthew 19:6
Marriage is God’s idea. It was He who declared in Genesis 2: 18, ‘It is not good that man should be alone; I will make him a helper comparable to him.’ Still, we have met many couples around the world who cannot wait to be separated or divorced from each other.
Often, we think about marriage as a bird cage. Those on the outside can’t wait to break in, while those on the inside can’t wait to break out. But, really, what is it that makes people rush to get married after having met only a few days or weeks before? And why is marriage sometimes approached like a sale at an exclusive department store that will only last
a few hours or days, and you simply can’t afford to miss out on the deals?
Clearly, marriage is meant to be taken seriously and entered into only after careful and prayerful consideration; and, given that marriage is the foundation of stable families, and families are the basis of society, the more stability there is in families, the healthier and happier they will be. This means that when you have strong and healthy marriages, you are more likely to have strong and healthy families, churches, communities, and countries. Truly, everything that is a meaningful accomplishment takes effort, patience and dedication: which is certainly the case with marriage.
No wonder God put very detailed and demanding parameters in place when He designed marriage. He knew we would have a penchant for wanting to get out at the first sign of trouble and run away, rather than being more considerate, introspective, thoughtful, empathetic and unselfish. In the words of a Hollywood actor and leading man who had been married to his wife for many years, when asked in a television interview how he had been able to remain married for so long, he declared: ‘Not having divorce as an option in our marriage.’ He concluded by saying: ‘Marriage is so challenging that if divorce were an option, we would have taken it a long time ago.’
What we know, after 30-plus years of marriage and studying marriage for several decades, is that when both partners are thoughtful, committed, and include God in their marriage each day, any marriage can be saved if the husband and wife both want it. So pray for your marriage today, and trust God to help you make it good.
Talk together about marriage as ordained by God to be ‘permanent’ and ‘exclusive’ What does that mean, and why has God made it that way? Some feel it to be a burden; others, a blessing. How do you both feel?
Thank God for the blessings you’ve already both received as a result of your commitment to each other before God, whether together for 1, 5, 10, 25, or even 50+ years.
Perhaps a married couple you know are going through difficulties at present. Without in any way interfering in their situation without being invited, and where they’ve made you aware of their struggle, in addition to making their situation a matter of prayer, think of some practical ideas of ways to help them that might ease the pressure points in their relationship.
About the Authors
Willie Oliver, PhD, CFLE, and Elaine Oliver, MA, LCPC, CFLE are Directors of the Department of Family Ministries at the General Conference of Seventh-day Adventists World Headquarters in Silver Spring, Maryland, USA.
Source: Oliver, W., & Oliver, E. (2020). Week 11: Stay Together. Connected: Devotional Readings for An Intimate Marriage. Alma Park, Grantham, UK: Stanborough.
Connected: Devotionals for an intimate marriage
With 52 devotional reflections, there’s a thought for each week of the year, specially designed to help couples to pause (reflect on the ideas shared), pray (about the ideas shared and ow they related to their experience), and then choose (determine to experience change together). <br>