Why the Breakdown?
“Pharisees came up to [Jesus], intent on tempting him and saying: ‘Is it lawful for a man to divorce his wife on every sort of ground?’”—Matthew 19:3.
SOME who lived in Jesus’ day questioned whether marriages could or should last. To them, Jesus said: “Did you not read that he who created them from the beginning made them male and female and said, ‘For this reason a man will leave his father and his mother and will stick to his wife, and the two will be one flesh’? So that they are no longer two, but one flesh. Therefore, what God has yoked together let no man put apart.” * (Matthew 19:4-6) Obviously, God intended for marriages to last.
In many lands today, some 40 percent or more of all marriages are “put apart,” ending in divorce. Is the Bible’s advice regarding marriage hopelessly out-of-date? Could it be that marriages fail because the arrangement itself is faulty?
Consider this illustration: Two couples buy the same model car. One couple maintain their vehicle well and drive it carefully. Their car does not break down. The other couple invest no time or energy in maintaining their vehicle, and they drive recklessly. That car breaks down and is abandoned. Where does the fault lie for the second outcome—with the car or with the owners? Obviously, the owners bear much of the responsibility.
Similarly, the fact that many marriages fail does not mean that the institution of marriage is somehow flawed. The millions of marriages that succeed prove otherwise. Those marriages bring happiness and stability to individuals, to families, and to communities. But marriage, like a car, needs good care and regular maintenance if it is to last.
Whether your marriage is days or decades old, the Bible’s advice on how to maintain and strengthen it really does work. On the following pages, note some examples.