Marriages

 

Text: Genesis 2:18-24

 

I.         A statement in a newspaper article stood out

            A.        Even though the number of marriages ending in divorce has stabilized after many years of rapid rise, the rate of people entering marriage has drastically declined!

            B.        In other words, one of the reasons the divorce rate is not continuing to rise is because there are fewer marriages to be broken. See chart 1 and 2

            C.        Yet at the same time those reporting to be happy in their marriages are declining. See Chart 3.

II.        Why are marriages declining?

            A.        No longer a rite of passage

                        1.         Genesis 2:24 - For thousands of years children grew up and left home to establish new families.

                        2.         Today children grow up but remain single for many years. Marriage is nice, but no longer seen as necessary.

                        3.         Instead of leaving home for a married life, people leave to establish independence. Marriage is put off, sometimes permanently.

            B.        Marriage is being postponed

                        1.         Remember the encouragement to live joyfully with the wife of your youth? - Proverbs 5:19-20.

                        2.         The youth are not marrying much these days. The average age to marry in 1960 was 23 for males and 20 for females, in 2009 it was 28 for males and 26 for females.

                        3.         Since people die at any age, the higher the age, the lower the pool of people to be married.

                        4.         The longer marriage is postponed, the more likely alternative arrangements, such as cohabitation is sought.

                                    a.         In other words, the desire for a partner is still there, but it is not being found first in marriage.

                                    b.         The longer a person cohabits, the less likely they will make the commitment to marry.

                                    c.         They become use to living with others without a commitment, so the idea of committing to another in marriage becomes less desirable.

                        5.         Cohabitation rarely lasts. Most people who live with someone jump from partner to partner.

                                    a.         They share intimate sex, not understanding that sex binds people together - I Corinthians 6:16

                                    b.         They make and break relationships so often that they no longer know how to make a permanent commitment to just one person

            C.        Marriage is no longer linked to sexual relationship

                        1.         Genesis 2:24 said that within marriage the two would become one, referring to the sexual union.

                        2.         Hebrews 13:4 - Intercourse within marriage is honorable. Outside it is considered fornication or adultery.

                        3.         Today, sex outside of marriage is expected by our society.

                                    a.         What was once a shocking revelation in my grandfather’s day is now considered normal today.

                                    b.         I am amazed how often I have to explain to young couples why sex outside of marriage is wrong.

                                                (1)       It is not that they don’t understand the reasons when they are shown.

                                                (2)       The problem is that it never occurred to them to question it!

                                    c.         Sex is seen as an independent action that is not associated with marriage

                                    d.         In 2007, 20% of 9th graders had intercourse. In 2007, 53% of 12th graders had intercourse.

                                                (1)       This is an improvement. In the mid 1990's it was as high as 75% for seniors in high school.

                                                (2)       This doesn’t include other forms of sexual acts.

                                                (3)       Virginity is the exception instead of the rule.

                        4.         Paul urged those who desired to have sex to marry - I Corinthians 7:8-9

                                    a.         But in a society where sex is freely practiced, there is no urgency to get married.

            D.        Living together is no longer viewed in many denominations as a sin, or at least it is not mentioned for fear of alienating members

                        1.         Most denominations are driven to gain large memberships. Most will compromise their beliefs to keep people coming. - Galatians 4:16-17

                        2.         People want to be told they are fine as they are - II Timothy 4:3-4

                        3.         Living together has increased 1500% in the last 50 years! See chart 4.

                        4.         To tell people that their living arrangement is sinful will impact a large percentage of a population. This is why many have stopped talking about it.

            E.        Marriage is no longer seen as a way to pool resources

                        1.         Feminism changed our society by making it a necessity for women to establish their own independent careers.

                                    a.         There is nothing wrong with earning money, but it affected society in some unexpected ways.

                                    b.         When a woman has her own career, she doesn’t desire marriage because it will impact her career. So marriage is put off until she is established.

                                    c.         Ecclesiastes 4:8 - Labor consumes the single person.

                        2.         I have to spend time counseling couples that they should not have separated bank accounts (radical idea!).

                                    a.         Marriage is about two becoming one. But when people think about his money and her money they don’t think as a union but as two separate people who happen to live in the same house.

                                    b.         Even little things as who is paying the electric bill becomes a wedge between the couple.

                        3.         But there are other shared resources - Ecclesiastes 4:9-12

                                    a.         What happens if one becomes ill

                                    b.         Even family ties and friends are a pool of shared resources.

                        4.         However, in our society the push is for independent individualism.

                                    a.         People marry, but they don’t pool their resources.

                                    b.         Instead of benefitting from sharing, they behave as roommates splitting the rent.

                                    c.         Marriage again is just seen as a glorified living arrangement for two separate people.

            F.        Marriage is only seen as bringing personal happiness. No other reason for marriage is seen or sought. This makes marriage seem to be no more than glorified cohabitation.

                        1.         Until recently, people did not marry just because they loved someone.

                                    a.         Love was often there

                                    b.         It was the icing on the cake

                                    c.         But it wasn’t the exclusive reason.

                        2.         Sometimes married first and learned to love each other

                                    a.         Strange concept? No it frequently happened.

                                    b.         Take Isaac and Rebekah as an example - Genesis 24:37-38, 50-51, 64-67

                        3.         What other reasons are there to marry?

                                    a.         Religious

                                                (1)       Sex is only for the married.

                                    b.         Social

                                                (1)       Children are best raised in a stable, two-parent family - Psalm 128:1-4

                                                (2)       It used to give a person social advantages to be married.

                                    c.         Economic

                                                (1)       Shared finances

                                                (2)       Shared support from friends and family

                                                (3)       Children were once an economic necessity. - Psalm 127:3-5

                                                            (a)       They were the extra hands in the family business

                                                            (b)       We talk of getting up a retirement nest egg, but it used to be one’s children who supported their parents in their old age. It is a part of honoring your mother and father.

                                                            (c)       Now children are seen as an economic burden.

                                                (4)       It used to be easier to get loans, get health insurance, get advancements when you were married.

                        4.         Even if the love died out in a marriage, people stuck together because of all the other reasons to be married.

                        5.         However, as we have seen, the advantages of being married are being removed from our society.

                                    a.         Marriage is seen as only a way to make me happy.

                                    b.         People enter marriage for selfish reasons and when they are not happy they leave.

                                    c.         So why marry? It is easier to leave when there is no commitment.

III.       Marriage was established by God for mankind

            A.        While not everyone will marry or even desire to marry, it has been expected to be the usual state for adult men and women.

            B.        The reasons for marriage still exist, but our society is using inferior substitutes. The problem is that the cheap substitutes have been around for so long and are becoming so common that people prefer them over the real thing.

            C.        We are the example to world - Matthew 5:14-16

                        1.         We have to show the world that God’s way not only works but is superior to any other scheme of man.

                        2.         No just by speech, but by the lives we live.

                        3.         Marriage is sacred. It is honorable. It is pleasurable.

            D.        Our society is falling apart. Not one of us can put it back together, but if we can each make a small improvement in the lives of those we know, then it will spread

            E.        This is really an overview. In future lessons we will examine marriage greater detail.



The percentage of all persons, age 15 and older, who were married


Year

Males

Females

1960

69.3

65.9

1970

66.7

61.9

1980

63.2

58.9

1990

60.7

56.9

2000

57.9

54.7

2009

53.7

50.6





The number of marriages per 1,000 unmarried women, age 15 and older.

Year

Marriages

1960

73.5

1970

76.5

1975

66.9

1980

61.4

1985

56.2

1990

54.5

1995

50.8

2000

46.5

2009

36.0



The percentage of married persons age 18 and older who said their mariages were “very happy.”


Period

Male

Female

1973 - 1976

69.6

66.2

1977 - 1981

68.3

64.2

1982 - 1986

62.9

61.7

1987 - 1991

66.4

59.6

1993 - 1996

63.2

59.7

1998-2002

64.9

61

2004-2008

63.2

59.7



Number of cohabiting, unmarried, adult couples of the opposite sex

Year

Number (in millions)

1960

0.439

1970

0.523 (119%)

1980

1.589 (362%)

1990

2.856 (651%)

2000

3.822 (871%)

2009

6.661 (1517%)