In the United States we have an epidemic of divorce. Marriage is the sacred institution that provides the foundation for the individual, the family, the community and the nation. When marriages fall apart, the individual, the family, the community and the nation fall apart. Even a greater tragedy is the fact that the rates of divorce among Christian marriages is not that much different than non-Christian marriages. With the help of grace, mercy, Jesus Christ, the Holy Spirit and Father God, Christian marriages are falling like flies. It makes me asked the question, where are we missing it? Here are three major reasons why Christian marriages fail.
The first reason is that the individuals in the marriage are not following the mandate of Jesus to seek first the kingdom of God and his righteousness. “But seek ye first the kingdom of God, and his righteousness; and all these things shall be added unto you (Matt. 6:33).” Jesus does not instruct you to seek your spouse first, or the welfare of your children first, or even your job first. He is clear with his instructions, which is to make the pursuit of the Kingdom of God as the first priority above everything else. Is the Sunday football game more important than attending the Sunday worship service? Is the children’s athletic activity more important than the mid week Bible Study? Is the morning news more important than spending time with God? When priorities are out of balance, lifestyle gets out of balance, and relationship disorder is inevitable. The promise that God makes is that if you seek Him first, above all else, all these things will be added on to you. What will be added? He will add your food, clothing, jobs, time, provision for all your wants and needs. The message is for you to get into right order with God, and your marriage will fall into place.
The second reason Christian marriages fail is the lack of training in living out the Word of God. Jesus taught that you need to constantly feed your bodies with proper spiritual food. “But he answered and said, It is written, Man shall not live by bread alone, but by every word that proceedeth out of the mouth of God (Matt. 4:4).” Just as you feed your body with physical food, your spiritual self needs to constantly be fed with the inspired Word of God. There is life in the Word, there is direction in the Word, there is correction in the Word and there is instruction in the Word. The Word of God must not only be learned, but it must be applied to your everyday life situations. How much effort do you give to applying the Word of God to your life situations? Is this a primary aim for you and your partner? Spend time everyday reading the Word of God, and asking the Holy Spirit to assist you in understanding and applying. You may ask, “What does this have to do with my marriage?” Everything! When there is a couple who actively seek to live out the Word of God, they will treat each other with love, respect, dignity and peace. A harmonious marriage is a natural, or better stated, a supernatural byproduct of such a commitment.
The third reason Christian marriages fail is because of the inability to deal with the sin nature. When a person becomes a child of God, his or her spirit is reborn, but the mind and the body still possess the sin nature. The sin nature is the loss of consciousness of connection with God, and all the effects that result from this loss. The cross of Jesus Christ is the place of victory where the sin nature is defeated. A Christian must learn to enter into the benefits and power of the cross in order to dominate the sin nature in the mind and the body. Many Christian marriages are destroyed by addictions and unhealthy habits that erode the relationship. The cross is the only place to find the spiritual power to overcome permanently these unhealthy habits. Dominion over the world, the flesh and the sin nature are only found in the cross.
You may be thinking, “He did tell me anything about the marriage itself. He only discussed the individual responsibility.” This is true. A fulfilling Christian marriage is rooted in the committed walk with God of each individual. When each person in the relationship is 100% committed to live out the guidelines of Christ, marriage issues clear up automatically. Get the individuals in right order and the marriage will fall neatly into place.
Dean Sunseri, LPC is a minister and Licensed Professional Counselor in Baton Rouge, LA. He specializes in individual counseling and marriage counseling.