The Challenges Facing Today’s Christian Marriages

I can't take this anymore
I give up…

Marriage was instituted by God in the Garden of Eden, thus “therefore a man shall leave his father and mother and be joined to his wife, and they shall become one flesh” (Genesis 2:24, NKJV). God’s intention for marriage was for man and woman to become a single united font rather than a divided font. It is sad that this division has crawled into the space of the faithful who are supposed to be custodians of God’s words. A study by Baylor University indicates that evangelical Christians have higher than average divorce rates than Americans with no religious affiliation. However, several factors have put a huge dent in the intended unity that was supposed to distinguish the institution of marriage from other unions.

Clinton and Trent (2009) state that financial issues is often the reason why 50% of new marriages end in divorce. Furthermore, a report from the University of Virginia’s National Marriage Project showed that couples without assets are 70% more likely to divorce within three years than couples with $10,000 in assets. However, Gottman and Silver (1999) view financial issues as solvable problems that require “clearheaded budgeting” (p. 195). Couples who divorce due to financial issue do not successfully resolve the problem rather the issue develops into perpetual problems about emotional needs and power.

What other challenges do you see facing today’s Christian marriages?

References

Baylor University. (2014, February 5). Evangelical Christians have higher-than-average divorce rates, new report shows. ScienceDaily. Retrieved January 14, 2015 from http://www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2014/02/140205103258.htm

Clinton, T. E., & Trent, J. (2009). The quick-reference guide to marriage & family counseling. Grand Rapids, MI: Baker Books.

Miller, A. (2013). Can this marriage be saved? Retrieved from http://www.apa.org/monitor/2013/04/marriage.aspx

Gottman, J., & Silver, N. (1999). The seven principles for making marriage work. Three Rivers Press: New York, NY.

2 thoughts on “The Challenges Facing Today’s Christian Marriages

  1. thelifewelllived2013

    I think there is an acceptance of “growing apart.” We can talk about taking a person in sickness and in health, but what does that mean? Does that mean my wife will sit over me as I lay sick in a hospital bed? I think many people take it thus. I also think they are only half correct.

    How many people take the time to ask what their partner wants out of life and what it will take to make it happen? If one accepts this up front, how many take the time and emotional investment to keep asking, to make sure the path is one the two people are still fulfilled following? I know when my wife and I got married, we planned to do medically fragile foster care as she told me was her wish on our first date. However, before our oldest daughter came to our house, I told my wife I needed the ability to reconsider, as a couple, if our taking her into our house ended badly (death or state taking her from us to go to a bad home for her). I did not and do not know how I would handle such an event. My wife and I agreed to assess at any point a child comes to our home or leaves it (even for respite care for a weekend). It is our way of making sure we are still in lock step on the big decisions. I see many families where I don’t see a shared sense of purpose whether it is to raise a child, make money, or even just have a place (physical and emotional) to relax with our loved ones for the rest of our lives. So often I see couples mismatched in purpose and struggling to merge them. The lucky ones find balance with their individual needs and their shared needs. Lord knows it is not easy.

    I sometimes wonder if this might be why arranged marriages seem to fail less often than our emotional, love based marriages of Western culture. Perhaps our parents who raised us and shaped our values had a higher success rate matching us for the long run with mates from matching families and values? I honestly don’t know, but I have thought about it quite a bit.

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    1. LMAF

      I absolutely agree with the points you have made. Indeed when commonality of purpose, goals, and values are lacking in any relationship the end result is chaos. It is ideal to occasionally revisit and reaffirm the “shared sense of purpose” in order to maintain unison. I also concur with your position on the difference between arranged marriages of today and those of the past, parents sought for families that shared similar values which create room for more uniformity than differences as it relates to family values and systems.
      Thank you for your thoughtful insight.

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