Married 72 Years

According to The Economist, “the average length of a marriage before a divorce in the mostly rich countries of the OECD [is 13.6 years]. Italians stick it out longest (perhaps because formal separation is lengthy and expensive). Americans, stereotypically impatient, only stay together eight years before divvying up the wedding gifts.”

These statistics reflect the condition of marriage in 2014. Whether trends have improved or not since then, I don’t know. But either way, one thing is clear. Numbers like this are tragic. American marriages lasting only eight years? That’s terrible!

God intends for marriage to be a lifelong commitment, “for better, for worse … until death do us part.” It’s his idea, not ours. And God hates divorce (Malachi 2:16). That’s why I’m thankful for the example of godly, lifelong marriages. Though lifelong marriages are less common, they are still happening, and that’s a wonderful thing.

Though lifelong marriages are less common, they are still happening, and that’s a wonderful thing.

My wife and I will celebrate our 10th anniversary in May. My parents will celebrate their 40th anniversary in June. And guess how long my father’s parents were married, before Grandpa passed away? A full 72 years. Now that’s a long time to be married, and that’s a good goal for my marriage too!

What about you? If you’re married, are you married for life?

Marriage is a matchless gift from God. The experience of marriage teaches you more about God, about yourself and about what really matters – more than any other relationship can do. Baked into every marriage are some very real and very personal challenges. But these are not things to run from; they are the doorways to knowing God and understanding love in a fuller way.

Unfortunately, prevailing opinion teaches us that the challenges of marriage are problems to avoid, and divorce is the way to do this. But the opposite is true. The challenges of marriage are opportunities to embrace. They are the one way you have to learn the love of God in a way that no other relationship can provide.

The challenges of marriage are opportunities to embrace.

When you experience your marriage God’s way, you learn to lean upon the inexhaustible love of God in every way, and then live out that very love from God to your spouse. When you walk away from your marriage, you walk away from the greatest classroom of God’s love. And that, my friends, is a serious mistake indeed. That is not the nature of God’s love.

In a world littered with the shattered shards of broken wedding vows, I thank God for a Grandpa and Grandma who showed me, in a simple way, what God’s love can accomplish. I thank him for parents who are showing me how its done. I thank him for a loving, patient wife who is learning how to love with me, for life. And most of all I thank him for his never-ending, undeserved love for me, demonstrated by his death on the cross for my many terrible sins.

Then I thank God for those who join with me in believing him for lifelong marriages to his glory. 72 years. It can be done, and it must.

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