With the approach of Marriage Week, let's take a brief look at marriage and its importance.

 Marriage1

PICTURE: Mateusz Atroszko (www.sxc.hu)

 

"Having a healthy and strong marriage is not just a luxury item, it's something we should strive for and expect."

Through Scripture we can see how important marriage is to God. Dietrich Bonhoeffer whilst in prison at the hands of the Gestapo in the Second World War wrote a sermon for his nieces wedding. The sermon was smuggled out on the eve of her wedding and read out at the service. This is a part of that sermon, taken from his  Letters and Papers from Prison

"God is guiding your marriage.  Marriage is more than your love for each other.  It has a higher dignity and power for it is God's holy ordinance through which he wills to perpetuate the human race until the end of time.  In your love you see only your two selves in the world, but in your marriage you are a link in the chain of the generations, which God causes to come and to pass away to his glory, and calls into his kingdom.  In your love you see only the heaven of your happiness, but in marriage you are placed at a post of responsibility towards the world and mankind.  Your love is your own private possession, but marriage is more than something personal - it is a status, an office."

At this time the status of marriage is under continuing pressure and so are marriages themselves despite the fact that through history many from Cicero, governments and many others have concluded that marriage is a cornerstone of society/nations. Research into the how and why seems to be an ongoing activity. 

Having a healthy and strong marriage is not just a luxury item, it's something we should strive for and expect.

Marriage researchers have determined that having a healthy, happy, fulfilling marriage benefits all family members and society at large. Modern research simply echoes what God says in His Word.

Research shows that there are many benefits from strong, healthy marriages. For the community these include higher rates of physically and emotionally healthy citizens, lower domestic violence rates and crime statistics, lower teenage pregnancy rates and lower rates of juvenile delinquency.

There are also benefits for the children and youth who are raised by parents in strong, healthy marriages including better relationship with their mothers and fathers, a lesser likelihood of them abusing drugs or alcohol or committing delinquent behaviours, being a victim of physical or sexual abuse, becoming pregnant as a teenager or impregnanting someone, or being sexually active as teenagers, and a decreased chance of them divorcing when they do get married.

For women, benefits include a more satisfying relationship, greater emotional and physical health, greater wealth, a lesser likelihood of them becoming victims of domestic violence, sexual assault, or other violent crimes or attempting or commiting suicide and a decreased risk of drug and alcohol abuse as well as better relationships with children.

Meanwhile for men, alongside greater emotional and physical health, greater wealth, and a lesser likelihood of them attempting or commiting suicide, the benefits include a greater lifespan, an Increase in the stability of employment, higher wages, and, as with woman, better relationships with their children.

These are just a few of the benefits of strong healthy marriages, you can read more at “21 Reasons for Marriage” from the Marriage Coalition.

Marriage Week in Australia is a time, annually, where there is a convergence of action by many marriage ministries and others; Christian broadcasters and media; and individual churches across the denominations to help build stronger and healthier marriages across the nation. 

During Marriage Week the Christian broadcasters will be devoting some of their airtime to interviews with couples who have had their own ups and downs in marriage and will share how they worked through their situations, there will be special devotionals and some will also have some great listener prizes! Churches are arranging a range of activities - community dinners honouring longevity of marriage and with live speakers or video presentation on aspects of how to build a stronger and healthier marriage; some are showing the movie Fireproof; some are holding renewal of vows services others are starting their next “The Marriage Course” which gives the tools to build stronger healthier marriages and there is so much more that is being planned. 

Full details of who is involved and where the events are shown on the web site www.marriageweek.org.au. It is not too late for your church to be involved and there are no costs attached in becoming a “partner” which gives access to a growing store of resources again at no cost.

Dennis Outred is the organiser of National Marriage Week.