VBS Marriage Enrichment Seminar North Jackson church of Christ June 3-5, 2009
“In every marriage more than two weeks old there are grounds for divorce; the trick is to find, and continue to find, grounds for marriage.” -- From the play, Double Solitaire, by Robert Anderson
“The growth of [marital] love is not a straight line, but a series of hills and valleys… Sometimes idiosyncrasies that used to be irritating become endearing … and sometimes they do not. In marriage we learn to live with each other, accepting each other’s sharp edges and corners … (as) part of the complexity of a partner who has become woven deep into our (very) own selves” -- M. L’Engle, in Two-Part Invention.
Matthew 19:4-6, NKJV 4And He answered and said to them, “Have you not read that He who made them at the beginning ‘made them male and female,’ 5 “and said, ‘For this reason a man shall leave his father and mother and be joined to his wife, and the two shall become one flesh’? 6 “So then, they are no longer two but one flesh. Therefore what God has joined together, let not man separate.” -- Jesus Christ
First Marriage Divorce Statistics • 1/5 of all first marriages are disrupted by either separation or divorce in the first five years. • After 10 years, 1/3 of all first marriages are disrupted by either separation or divorce. Published by the Department of Health and Human Services, Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), 2002.
The Americans for Divorce Reform estimates that “Probably, 40 or possibly even 50 percent of marriages will end in divorce if current trends continue. However, that is only a projection and a prediction.” Divorce statistics collection: Summary of findings so far,” Americans for Divorce Reform, at: http://www.divorcereform.org/
Cohabitation • Reports suggest that between 40 and 85 percent of couples who live together before getting married end up in divorce.
Characteristics of Persons that have a Higher Probability of Divorce • Younger age at time of marriage • Lower education • Has children from a previous relationship • Cohabitation prior to marriage • Sexual activity prior to marriage
Divorce Rates Among Christian Groups: • A recent study by the Barna Research Group released the results of their poll about divorce on Dec. 21, 1999. • They had interviewed 3,854 adults from the 48 contiguous states. The margin of error is around 2 percentage points.
The Barna Survey Found: • 11% of the adult population is currently divorced. • 25% of adults have had at least one divorce during their lifetime. • Divorce rates among conservative Christians were significantly higher than for other faith groups, and much higher than Atheists and Agnostics experience.
Why? George Barna, president and founder of Barna Research Group, commented: “While it may be alarming to discover that born again Christians are more likely than others to experience a divorce, that pattern has been in place for quite some time. Even more disturbing, perhaps, is that when those individuals experience a divorce many of them feel their community of faith provides rejection rather than support and healing. . .”
(continued) “. . . But the research also raises questions regarding the effectiveness of how churches minister to families. The ultimate responsibility for a marriage belongs to the husband and wife, but the high incidence of divorce within the Christian community challenges the idea that churches provide truly practical and life-changing support for marriages.”
The data showed that the highest divorce rates were found in the Bible Belt!!! “Tennessee, Arkansas, Alabama and Oklahoma round out the Top Five [including Nevada with the highest] in frequency of divorce . . . The divorce rates in these conservative states are roughly 50 percent above the national average” of 4.2/1000 people.
Donald Hughes, author of The Divorce Reality, said: “In the churches, people have a superstitious view that Christianity will keep them from divorce, but they are subject to the same problems as everyone else, and they include a lack of relationship skills. . . . Just being born again is not a rabbit’s foot.” • Hughes claims that 90% of divorces among born-again couples occur AFTER they have been “saved.”
Transitional Points of Marriage Bring Unforeseen Challenges • As newlyweds • The birth of a first child • Children entering school • Preteens become teenagers • Launching adult children from the nest • Couples entering midlife and retirement • Remarriage
Purpose of Marriage Enrichment • To improve marital communication • To deepen marital commitment • To encourage marital companionship • To strengthen marital cooperation • To survive marital conflict • To equip married couples for successful and satisfying marriages.
Why Does God Care about Marriage? 1) Marriage reflects the image of God (as lovingly relational). Genesis 1:26-27
2) Marriage forms the foundation of society. Genesis 1:28; Matthew 19:4-6; Colossians 3:18-22
3)Marriage provides the opportunity for growth. 1 Corinthians 7:2-6, 10-14; 1 Timothy 3:4-5, 12; 1 Peter 3:1-7
4) Marriage gives humans an antidote to loneliness. Genesis 2:18-25
5) Marriage symbolizes the union of Christ and the Church. Ephesians 5:22-33
Overview of Enrichment Seminar Session #1: “The Purpose of Marriage” This lesson will look at Biblical teaching on marriage as existing for five primary reasons.
Session #2: “Sweetening a Marriage Gone Sour” This lesson will focus on how couples can rejuvenate their marriages.
Session #3: “Working Through Marital Conflict” This lesson will present six principles for successfully navigating through “love fights.”
Session #4: “Keys to a Successful Marriage” This lesson will explore three fundamental keys to a successful marital relationship.