WHY MARRIAGES FAIL
Marriage is en agreement involving a man, a woman, and God. The marriage contract is binding for as long as both parties live and constitutes a solid commitment of two persons to each other and a commitment to God. The Bible teaches that marriage originated in the mind of God for the good and happiness of mankind. Hence, marriage must function according to the plan ordained by God. This plan simply stated is, “one man, for one woman, for life”. However, God's plan for marriage has been rejected by man on a widespread scale. The American divorce rate is at an all—time high and is the highest in the world. The chances for a successful marriage today are about one half what they were twenty-five years ago. I would like to think with you on some of the major causes for marital failure. One cause for marriage failure is a lack of preparation before marriage. Inadequate preparation for marriage causes some to lose the wedding ring before they get it on their finger. Most people have little idea what they are getting into when they marry. After a short marriage and divorce, a well known movie star said, “Marriage is not the story—book romance I thought it was.” But young people are not receiving the necessary training required for a successful marriage. What makes a marriage go is when the wife carries out her responsibilities and the husband carries out his responsibilities. So much depends upon what the bride and groom bring to marriage. What a boy or girl takes to their wedding depends upon what they packed into their lives before marriage. Every boy or girl brings a certain personality to the wedding, and personality is the sum otal of what you are. Day by day each person is building a personality which includes manner of behavior attitude toward life, depth of feeling, and one's response to life's situations. Much of what you are is fixed by inheritance and environment. We did not choose our father, mother, and where we would live. For this reason we must accept the kinfolk on either side of the house. We are here by no act of our own, and we did not choose our surroundings. Neverthe ess each person must appreciate what God gave him to start with, and then build a personality to the best of his ability.
All of life's experiences are important: the books you read, the music you hear, the recreational activities you enjoy, the pictures you see, the friends you make, and how you conduct yourself in your home. Life's experiences plus inheritance plus environment make up the you that is you. You will take to your wedding the sum total of the person you are and what you take is the greatest cause for your success or failure, your happiness or unhappiness. Don't count on any great change in your personality after you get married. Most married people change little or none.
Preparation for marriage is like packing a suitcase for a trip. Make no mistake about it you are on your way to your wedding, and you had better pack your suitcase well. You have been on your way ever since you were small children. Little girls love to play with dolls, diaper them, rock them to sleep, play with dishes, and cook on play stoves. They love to play house because unknowingly they are on their way to their wedding. These are natural to the girl for that is what she will be doing. On the other hand,
little boys like to use hammers and wrenches. They like to build a house instead of playing house. They too are packing a suitcase for boys will be breadwinners. He will be responsible for the livelihood. His preparation is different from the girl. Every girl should take to her wedding the ability to cook, sew, and keep the house clean and orderly. A young man wrote a mariage counselor and said, “I have been married three years to a girl who is twenty. She is quit high school to marry me. It was her idea, but she blames me for ruining her chance to get an education. She didn't know one thing about being wife when we got married, but I thought she would learn. Well, she has never even tried. The house looks like a pigpen. She fixes sandwiches for dinner, or opens tin cans. All she wants to do is go roller skating with her girl friends. On my wedding day, I was the happiest guy in the world. What went wrong?” Pack your suitcase well, girls; it is equally important that boys pack their suitcases well. Bring a livelihood to your wedding. If you are going to ask a girl to marry you, you should have a skilled trade to
provide for your wife and children. Bring a sense of responsibility and make preparations to take the oversight of your family. A young woman wrote a marriage counselor and said, “I married the campus hero; I felt lucky to get him. The girls in the sorority house envied me. He was so good looking and big. I felt like a feather in his arms. My father told me he was a lunkhead and that he would not treat me right. When he stood me up on dates, my dad boiled. I protected him by manufacturing excuses. Now after eight years of marriage, I'm fed up with his selfish ways. He puts himself before me and the kids in everything. His greatest pleasure in life is to show off his scrapbook and talk about his college days.” Boys, you had better do your homework well. You have no time to waste before marriage. Perhaps the greatest thing that a boy or girl can bring to a wedding is a lovable personality and a pleasing disposition. Every person wants to be loved, so begin early in life to build yourself into a person who can be loved. Don't make marriage a plunge into the dark; prepare for it.
Another cause for the downfall of marriage is a lack of real knowledge of each other. Many people marry who do not in a real sense know each other. We have fallen short in preparing young people for marriage by failing to teach them how to find compatible marriage partners. Incompatibility has destroyed many marriages. So many people, after they are married a very short time, discover they are incompatible. More divorces are granted for incompatibility than any other single cause. A logical conclusion which can be drawn from this fact is that most people who get married do not really know each other. One cause for this tragic situation is undue haste in getting married. This is not to say that all hasty marriages are unsuccessful, for some have made it. Be that as it may, hasty marriages are unwise. When a woman buys a coat, she takes time to shop around to make sure that she will be pleased with it. If you are going to buy a house, there is need to run the abstract. If you don't you may get something you did not bargain for. It is equally urgent to run the abstract on a marriage prospect. A man called and wanted me to perform a marriage ceremony. I said, “Have either of you been divorced?” Hesitating a few seconds the man said, “I haven't been divorced but I don't know about her. I never did ask her.” When we buy a car we like to assure ourselves that we are getting value received but when it comes to marriage and to making the supreme decision of our lives, so many make it hastily and foolishly without consideration. I know of one young lady who went out on a date and got drunk, and the next morning she found herself married to a man with the marriage certificate signed, sealed, and delivered. If you do not look before you leap and investigate before you invest, you may wake up some day and find yourself married to a stranger. If you want a lasting marriage, don't get in a hurry. A great many divorces could have been prevented had the couple gone together another 60 days. Haste makes waste in marriage as well as in the kitchen. If some had become better acquainted they probably would not have embarked on marriage first place. Love at first sight may turn out to be something else at second sight. Love does not come like a flower pot hitting you on the head. Most marriages are based on physical attraction alone but it is soon discovered that it takes more than this for two people to share their lives together. It takes more than an attractive face and body to share your life with
another human being for the rest of your life. The probability of the success or failure of a marriage can be predicted with marvelous accuracy by examining closely the common interests on basics between the two. The more you have in common with the person you marry the better your chances for a successful marriage. The more two people see things alike the more successful the marriage. Young people should accept all the good counsel they can get on this difficult subject nd choose a mate who is on the same level with then economically, socially, religiously, racially, and educationally. People who have common interests and beliefs have little to fight about in marriage. Reason number two for marriage failure is incompatibility due to a lack of knowledge of one another before marriage.
Public enemy number three to successful marriage is the Hollywood conception of marriage. The young in heart imagine that life together with their one-and-only is going to be like the marriages they have seen in the movies and on television. When it comes to marriage, most American movies are far from telling it like it is in real life. There has been an almost universal acceptance of courtship and love-making as depicted in the movies. An attractive man meets a beautiful woman, and there is an instant physical attraction. The movie couple lives in a mansion, wears lovely clothes, drives luxurious cars, and are always going to parties. The movie wife is not seen cleaning the house, washing the clothes, changing dirty diapers, getting the husband off to work, getting the children off to school, shopping for groceries, and trying to live peacefully with in-laws. The movie stars have sold the American people on these imaginary ideas of marriage, and millions of people see them every week. It is the same old fairy tale. Boy meets girl and they have an exciting storybook romance and live happily ever after. Too many young brides think that their true love will come along and carry them away to a castle, just like in the movies. Whereas he will probably carry her away to a washing machine, a dirty house, and a short budget. Marriage is too much month at the end of the money. It is not a storybook affair. It will consist of an everyday routine of making beds, washing dishes, shopping for groceries, sewing, ironing, cooking, and cleaning the house. It is in-laws, doctor bills, car payments, taxes, mortgages, dishes in the sink, and diaper rash. Marriage is a 90-10 proposition and not a 50-50 proposition. You must be prepared to give up your desires 90% of the time and have your way about 10% of the time. If teenagers were given more facts than fiction about marriage they would not be so willing to give up a high school diploma for a wedding ring. Just remember that movie stars are actors and put on quite a show when it comes to love scenes. It looks real but it is all acting. There is a great difference between the stars you see on the screen and in actual life. More can be learned from the stars about the true nature of marriage from a study of their marriage relationships in actual life. Don't be fooled by the story book idea of marriage.
Still another cause for the smash-up of marriage is the breakdown of authority in the home. If narriage is to be successful, arguments, quarrels, and disputes must be settled in the home. It is to be remembered that every marriage has its problems, and one of those problems is that a husband and wife do not see everything alike. The business of running a home is a complicated affai r and there is going to be disagreement on many things. The domestic quarrel ranks among the greatest destroyers of marriage. If a young man and woman can figure out how to keep from fighting and quarreling after they get married, they have gone a long way toward saving their marriage. God foresaw that disagreements would rise in marriage and organized the marriage relationship in such a way as to prevent quarreling. Marriage in its organization resembles a monarchy rather than a democracy. When a dispute arises in the home, it is not to be settled by a majority vote. God has appointed a supreme court to settle every dispute in the home, and when that authority decides on any issue there is no appeal to a higher court. The divinely appointed system of government in the home is recorded in I Corinthians 11:3, “but I would have you know, that the head of every man is Christ; and the head of the woman is the man; and the head of Christ is God,” is learn from this scripture that order and subordination pervade the whole universe and is essential to its wellbeing. The obvious meaning of the passage is that the woman is subordinate to the man, the man is subordinate to Christ, and Christ is subordinate to God. n other words man is over woman. Christ is over man, and God is over Christ. If this respect for authority is disturbed in any of its parts, the divine will has been violated, and God is greatly displeased. God has placed in every household a member of the home who has the authority to settle all disputes and keep down disturbance in the home. That one person is the father and husband. The husband is in authority and the woman and children are not. A part of the preparation for marriage is for boys and girls to learn their respective roles in the government of the home. The man is under the strict control of Christ and God and will answer to God for any abuse of his authority. Whereas, the woman is under the strict control of her husband, Christ, and God. The same is true of all children in the home. The breakdown of authority in the. home has become the curse of marriage. It is becoming fashionable for every member of the family to do what is right in his own eyes. For the most part father has lost his authority, and the result is a knock-down-drag-out in the home. If the wife does not get her way, she makes it miserable for him and threatens him with divorce. Children often refuse to comply with Father̓s wishes and rebel until finally in disgust the parents give in and let them, have their way. All such disorderly conduct greatly displeases God and is a violation of His divine will. Ephesians 5:22-25 says, “Wives submit yourselves unto your own husbands, as unto the Lord. For the husband is the hea4 of the wife, even as Christ is the head of the church; and he is the savior of the body. Therefore as the church is subject unto Christ, so let the wives be to their own husbands in everything. Husbands, love your wives, even as Christ also loved the church, and gave himself for it.” Disobedient wives and unloving husbands cause marriage to fail. What is the extent of the husband's authority in the home? Ephesians 5:24 says, “Therefore as the church is subject unto Christ, so let the wives be to their own husbands in everything.” The words, “in everything” indicate that the husband has complete authority in the home. Certainly the wife has a right to disagree with her husband and reason with him. But if she cannot persuade him with reason and respect, she must yield to the judgment of her husband. She must not quarrel and cause disturbance in order to have her way. This does not mean that the husband is always right, but it does mean the husband does have the right to make the final decision. Each woman has the right to decide which man shall exercise this authority over her a~d her children. Doubtless some women have more intelligence and better judgment than the husband, but this does not justify displacing the husband as the head of the home. If you married a drunkard, you have my sympathy, but you are still required to be an obedient wife. He is still the head of the house, and you will have to put up with his bad judgments. In every family there should be a head, someone who is to be looked up to as the counselor and advisor, and to whom all should be subordinate. If you want to have a successful marriage, get father back to the head of the home. The husband and father is to be submitted to in all matters except conscience and religion. The husband cannot force his wife and children to disobey God and conscience. There, his authority ceases. But in all other matters whether it be business, life-style of family and children and domestic arrangements, God holds him responsible for the oversight of all things in the home. If I were a woman, I would take my time in choosing the man who is to exercise such a control over my life.