|Vol. 15 No. 3 March 2013||
Is marriage under attack in America? Is the family in trouble? I think that the answer is “yes” on both matters. There are many contributing factors; we will note some. However, what is the biggest threat? Maybe we can answer that question, maybe not. The following list is not necessarily in any particular order of importance, just some comments (though it loosely goes from least threat to biggest threat).
1 – The view of marriage is very skewed by television and movies. I do not have any doubt that there is some influence against marriage by the way it is presented in our entertainment venues. However, I do not see that as the biggest threat to marriage in our country.
2 – Some see the pseudo-marriages between individuals of the same sex as a major threat to marriage. It is a travesty, and, to be honest, a joke that it can even be called “marriage” at all, and I am adamantly opposed to the practice of homosexuality, but that is not the biggest threat to marriage, in my opinion.
3 – Couples living together outside of marriage are a serious problem in our society. I often hear “What difference does a piece of paper make, anyway?” I am also adamantly opposed to sexual relationships outside of marriage, and do see the impact that this concept has on marriage. Yet, I am not convinced that this is the biggest threat to marriage in America.
4 – Obviously, the ease of divorce and the huge divorce rate in America is a threat to marriage in America. Divorce is a destructive force, the actions of one or both selfish mates, in most cases. Still, divorce, per se, is not the biggest threat to marriage in America.
5 – What is the biggest threat to marriage in America, then? I am not the ultimate authority. I am not “a prophet, nor the son of a prophet.” Yet, I have a strong opinion about what the biggest threat to marriage in America is: attitudes.
The Attitude that Marriage Is Disposable
So many view marriage as a try it out and see if you like it. If not, then just trade the one you’ve got for another one, like you would a used car. When a couple enters marriage with any thought other than “forever,” marriage is destined to fail once the hard times come (and they will come).
The “Me, Myself, and I” Attitude
When marriage becomes “me” and “you” instead of “us,” then problems come. Divorce is a force, but the impetus behind most divorce is this attitude. Selfishness is a huge destroyer of marriage.
The “Grass is Greener on the Other Side of the Fence” Attitude
Somehow life with someone else is just going to be better. Physical fulfillment of desires is just going to be so much better with someone else. There is a tendency to forget that the same problems of life, struggles and pain are on the other side of the fence as well. It comes down to attitude.
The “Falling in Love; Falling out of Love” Attitude
The idea that love somehow just overwhelmed me is false, and the idea that it somehow just slid away while I was not looking is false. To truly love someone, we must make a conscious decision to do so. When love leaves, it is because we have made the choice to let it slip away. We have stopped trying; we have decided not to love any more. In the Scriptures, “husbands love your wives” is a command. God only commands us to do that which is under our control. We decide to work at loving another, to nourish and to grow that love. We also decide to stop working at it and to let it die. No one just “falls out of love.” It is a controllable attitude!
My heart breaks as I see more and more people who cause their marriages to fail because of attitudes they have developed. I am not talking about just out in the world, but in the body of Christ. How sad to see marriage attacked, homes destroyed, children torn apart – because of attitudes that do not have to be there. These attitudes, to me, are the greatest danger to marriage in America. We need to teach our young people, and drill it into them: One man – One woman – for life, period. If both mates enter marriage with this attitude, and maintain this attitude through all the good and bad times, then they will not ever consider divorce, much less become involved in it!
Worse Than an Unbeliever
There are not many things in Scripture that are worse than being labeled as an unbeliever, but not caring for your family is one of those things (1 Timothy 5:8). If God has blessed you with a family, He expects you to care for it. You might be leading as a father/husband. It might be the incredible work of a wife/mother. Whatever your case is, God expects you to care for the ones He has given to you.
No family is perfect. Not even yours! However, as the problems come (today!), how will you show that you’re caring for the family He has given you? If you have not lately, you could start by praying, thanking God for the great people He has given to you.