Praying for marriage in America
The pace of American life does not allow much time for couples to develop strong connections and close relationships. Technology is replacing intimacy. Couples live together, but they are often isolated from each other because of their iPads, cell phones, computers and televisions.
Man was never intended to live alone. When God took a rib from the side of Adam to create woman, Adam declared, “This is now bone of my bones and flesh of my flesh; she shall be called ‘woman,’ for she was taken out of man.”
According to my reading, it is God who then said: “For this reason a man will leave his father and mother and be united to his wife, and they will become one flesh.” Much later, Jesus added a key statement: “Therefore what God has joined together, let man not separate” (Matthew 5:6).
I celebrate the societal changes that have recognized the value of women and their equality with men. Men and women alike need to develop a conscientious attitude about the commitment they make when they make a marriage covenant.
Both parties need to recognize that the extreme individualism fostered by American culture is destructive to meaningful relationships.
Couples have the best chances of creating a lasting marriage when each feels an acute need for the qualities of the other. Marriages are most fulfilling when they are viewed as a total partnership based on clear, open and honest communication and on valuing the qualities of the partner.
I do believe that old saying: “The first hundred years of marriage are the hardest.” Couples should schedule regular times when they talk about budgets, their feelings about people in their circle of friends, their personal needs in the relationship and how they will use their time. Couples should work to create a supportive relationship where openness is fundamental and should not talk about personal issues with friends or family but only with a trained counselor who is objective and willing to spend time working with them.
I am a great advocate for marriage because my marriage has been so good for me. I was blessed to marry an amazing woman who has never had a bad day. Together we have grown in every way, even though we are fundamentally different.
We are blessed that our lives have had few crises, and we have each been able to use our talents for our family, for our community and for God. At different times we have challenged each other.
We began with faith, trust and love. Fifty-five years later, we have more faith, more trust and more love.
Because of the importance of my marriage and those in my family, I am praying for marriages. I want the climate for marriages to become nurturing. I want a culture where commitment is so fundamental to life that people hold firmly to their ideals and promises. I eagerly long for a time when love in its ideal form prevails in all relationships, especially marriage.
Your church can help strengthen marriages. First, you need teams for premarital counseling to help couples be realistic about their relationships and to prepare for the complexities of marriage. Second, that team needs to work with newly married couples to help the union go smoothly. Third, that team needs to be available to help with any crisis that develops in a marriage. Fourth, churches should utilize mature, successful couples to mentor those who are just starting out or are experiencing problems.
I am praying for marriage as an institution in the life of the United States. I also am praying for marriage as a meaningful, godly union where people develop rich, full lives blended by the Holy Spirit.
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