Day 9

Principles of Marriage

from the 1 & 2 Corinthians reading plan

1 Corinthians 7:1-40, Genesis 2:24

BY Rebecca Faires

Scripture Reading: 1 Corinthians 7:1-40, Genesis 2:24

Almost half of marriages end in divorce, and the average length of a marriage that ends in divorce is only eight years (according to 2014 US census data). Eight years! It’s shocking that we stand up and promise “‘til death do us part,” yet only half of us make it past eight years. Marriage is hard. And indeed, the skills necessary to simply get along long-term with other people, not just spouses, are really difficult to come by. When we concede that marriage doesn’t have to last, we also allow that friendships don’t need to last. When the going gets tough, it’s just so much easier to find new friends and start over. Except it’s not.

On paper, marriage is an unachievable task. Paul commands wives to submit to their husbands, and then he turns to the husbands and piles onto the first unbelievable task this astonishing humdinger: “Husbands, love your wives as Christ loved the church” (Ephesians 5:22-25). In one fell swoop, it seems Paul is making an open-and-shut case that marriage is just never going to work. He even follows this up by saying, essentially, marriage is too much for him, and he’s chosen to keep out of the fray; and if anyone else has the constitution for it, they should stay unmarried also (1 Corinthians 7:8).

But here’s the problem: not everyone has Paul’s self-control, and instead we, ahem, “burn with desire” (v. 9).  We fall in love, and that love leads us to make wildly extravagant promises to each other. We promise, in our best clothes, in front of all our aunts and uncles, to love and honor one another for the rest of our lives. These are the bravest, most ridiculous promises I’ve ever made.

I want to write a book titled, ’Til Death Do Us Part, and Other Lies I Told While Wearing a White Ball Gown. Because even though I’ve been married for thirteen years, have I truly kept my wedding vows? Have you? Even before we’d driven off into the sunset, I had already broken my vows. My heart was full of love, but my soul was still inclined to offer my new husband far less than the love I’m called to give. But that’s really the whole point. And that is why marriage is a covenant. We make extravagant promises that we cannot keep, but God keeps His promises. He created marriage and designed it to last.

God has called us to live in peace (v. 15), and it’s His peace that makes it possible for us to do so. I can rely on Him. He keeps His promises. He is there in the ceremony, walking through the covenant just like He did in the Old Testament. He makes our covenants, and He keeps up both ends of the deal. May we look to Him to preserve our marriages, our friendships, and our families. He is the One who takes our brave words made on brave days and makes them come true.


Post Comments (118)

118 thoughts on "Principles of Marriage"

  1. Abigail Sais says:

    What I️ find cool is that because of His background, Paul was probably married at one time. He knew the GIFT of marriage and the GIFT of singleness. His charge in this passage to glorify God where we are is so convicting and challenging.

    *also CHURCH, let’s do a better job at making EVERYONE feel like they belong not just happily married couples. Marriage is NOT the goal-Jesus is!

    1. Abigail Sais says:

      *his background

  2. Teresa says:

    I will be praying for you Mary. I pray that God will put that kind of love in your heart. I was in a marriage that was not good. I prayed that God would put that kind of passion for my husband in my heart. He did so so much to bring more to that marriage. So I know He can. Ask Jesus to bring healing and all that He created marriage to be….to your marriage. You can also go to marriage retreats. I went to one….and it was amazing. Praying for you and your husband.

    1. Bridget’s Mom says:

      Thank you Teresa for reaching out. (This is Mary. I changed my name here). I will continue to ask God to develop the kind of love He wants my husband to have. My husband is a loving, affectionate man & it breaks my heart to feel the way I feel. I think there is a deep healing needing to be done in me in God’s gentle timing.

  3. Jessi Ling says:

    I’ve been married now for just over one year. We got married fairly young. I was 22, he was 24. He’s my best friend and all I want to do is spend time with him. -divorce has never been an option for me to even think about. Still isn’t. And it encourages me to see people saying it’s there 40+ wedding anniversary. That makes my heart fly. Also the comments here with stories of divorce and heartbreak, break my heart. They encourage me to think toward the future and embrace this moment. I want to be intentional with these early years. It’s already been so hard to make the healthy habits now. Hard to stay focused on the goal. I pray I can love my husband the way I’m called to and the way I promised to. That we can pray together, reach out to others together, encourage each other more and fix our eyes on Jesus more then ever before.

  4. Mary Roy says:

    I have never had the kind of love that I long for. My husband is a wonderful, loving man who deserves more than I can give him. I say that because I don’t love him with a passion that I long to have. I am faithful to him and I do love him but I also feel badly for him because I’m unable to love him in the way he deserves. We have been married 20 years. I was 36 and I know I settled. And nobody wants to feel that. I am confessing this to Jesus as I confess it here now. Please just pray for me.

  5. Lost but found says:

    Marriage is hard. Period. That’s what it is. But worth it. It takes so much effort and constant ‘not giving up.’ Coming from a family where if something went wrong, you beat the person up, told them how worthless they are and how much they are disposable then walk away to wake up the next morning to start the cycle of a ‘family’ all over again. This was my image of marriage. I swore to everything that my marriage will not reflect the slightest of my childhood. My parents still remain married.
    Have I kept my vows? No. . Do I remember them word for word? No. But the overall; I fall wayyyy short. Sometimes my love doesn’t reflect the love we want to give because of hurt or because they do something that upsets you or because you’re embarrassed or because sometimes alone time is the time you know you don’t have to live up to expectations. I strive to be a better wife, all the time. Sometimes hurt wins..

    Times when my husband drinks alcohol, I see my dad sitting there and I have to refocus and see that it’s not my dad. My husband once promised me that he would stop drinking alcohol because of the childhood I had because that was the main ingredient of abuse I faced. Months later, alcohol won that promise and that promise remains broken. For years after that, I feel second to alcohol. Despite the fact that my husband drinks on occasion; those occasions I feel so low sometimes as I’m back to being a little girl who was told my her dad that he would stop drinking because he threw me down the stairs and beat me and my mother (leading to be call 911 and have him arrested at age 8). Once again, I’m a broken promise.

    I still love through the hurt, I don’t yell, call names, say he’s a mistake, hit him; I’m not my parents. End of story. But it is hard as ever to not fall into that automatic reaction. I pray all the time for heavenly eyesight to not replicate that. I love the phrase “He is the One who takes our brave words made on brave says and makes them come true.” Amen.

  6. Tracy Norris says:

    My husband had a porn addiction. I tried everything I could to sway his attention. I felt it wasn’t fair. I felt I was successful as a mother and a career person. The house was clean,, dinner was made each night, I provided appropriate wifely attention, but the more I tried, the farther away he pulled. I was a Christian, both of us were raised in the church, but neither of us were asking God for help. I eventually took a sledge hammer to our marriage…..I had an affair, I made my husband put our house for sell, made our kids move to a different town so I could be closer to my parents, split our finances, filed for divorce and was on a path of total destruction until the day before our divorce hearing. We made it somehow. I begged him back, ended, the affair, bought a new house, put the family back together and started over. It wasn’t the right way, but it’s what happened. I most regret the done to damage to our kids. It was a really rough time for them. I’ve prayed for forgiveness. And try to forget.

    1. Destiny Rose says:

      Tracy, my parents had a similar experience early in their marriage. I know it is probably still hard. The Lord is not done yet loving you! Praise God for restoration and forgiveness!!

  7. Amy Rinta says:

    Trusting haha

  8. Jena Holliday says:

    I have only been married 4 years, my parents over 35 years. I had a good example through my parents – letting God hold His covenant in their marriage. I have seen through them, it is hard, and it takes a lot of work. And so I can understand Paul’s sentiment with saying its easier to give God your all without the distractions of a man or a woman that you also love dearly. We walked through a tough year, last year, and through the pain it brought us closer. I know there are more hard days ahead, but I am thankful that Jesus bought and paid for it all; I can give it to Him, I can run to Him, I can find my hope in Him. I also know there are really good days ahead, and because of the bad I will cherish those days and seasons so much more. Loved reflecting on these verses today. Thanks SRT!

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