Posted by: rhenderson8110 | December 3, 2013

Why Are Our Marriages Failing?

Why are our marriages falling apart in droves? Why are many of the ones that stay together unhappy and unfruitful? And I’m talking about those that are ‘in the church.’ Why is it that our marriages don’t look much different? What are we missing? I’ve had the pleasure of listening to a number of great messages as of late on the subject of family. I’ve read a number of wonderful books and articles as well. And it has caused me to think about this a lot. What are we getting so wrong? Because the facts show that we are missing it… In many ways, completely.

The conclusion I have come to is this: As a church culture we have a complete lack of understanding as to what a ‘covenant’ is. In other words, we don’t even know what we agreed to on our wedding day. Sure, we know we’re supposed to do conflict resolution, speak kindly and be intimate even when we don’t feel like it. Sure, we have a marriage license and understand we shouldn’t allow divorce to be an option. But the further I looked into this the more I realized I did not know. Covenant is a concept that has disappeared from our culture at large. A covenant is a binding agreement; it is a formal, sealed contract- it’s a promise. In other words, when two parties agree to terms of a covenant it is binding- that means forever with no going back. In a message I listened to lately Gary Petty described the covenant that God made with Abram. Genesis 15:18 says, ‘On that day the LORD made a covenant with Abram…’ Now that word, ‘made’ literally means ‘to cut’ a covenant. If you remember, God had told Abram that He would inherit an enormous amount of land and Abram’s response was, ‘How will I know I will inherit it?’ In other words, ‘Father, give me a sign so that I may know you will make it happen. He was essentially saying, ‘I believe, help my unbelief.’ And God responded, “Bring Me a three-year-old heifer, a three-year-old female goat, a three-year-old ram, a turtledove, and a young pigeon.” Then he brought all these to Him and cut them in two, down the middle, and placed each piece opposite the other…” And the sentiment behind this was, ‘If I (God) break this covenant, may the same be done to me.’ He literally ‘cut’ a covenant with Abram. Do we view the marriage covenant that way? Would we be willing to say, if I break this covenant allow me to be cut to pieces? Perhaps if we did this on our wedding day we would take it more seriously than we do. We need to at the very least understand it in principle. There is no turning back. We are committed, 100%.

Ministry of marriage

Another aspect that is often misunderstood is to Whom we are making this covenant with. On August 1st, 2010, Alex & I entered into covenant with God– not with each other. We held hands and vowed in front of those witnesses to keep our promise to God- to walk together to become more like Jesus Christ and to learn to love each other in a way that is glorifying to Him. Perhaps the most profound thing I am learning about our marriage is this- it’s not about us. Your marriage is not about you. It is not about our happiness. Marriage is a ministry. Now, if we put into practice the principles that God has given us, marriage is designed to bring us great and overwhelming joy! God made it that way as a gift to us. But let’s not be deceived; it is not about us. We are either demonstrating the relationship between Jesus Christ and God the Father or we are bringing shame on them. Period. This understanding should cause us to think very deeply about who we marry. As counter-cultural as it is we need to slow down, think deeply and pray continually when we are choosing our mates. The question should not only be ‘will we be happy?’ but rather, ‘can we work together to glorify God?’.

Marriage is not just an institution; it is a calling. It is not a party; it is a responsibility. You are doing a work- long before you have children. So many people, women in particular, yearn for children so much that they forget the importance of what they are doing right now. Does your yearning for children prohibit you from investing wholly in the gospel of marriage? Are our marriages falling apart as we focus our prayers, thoughts and desires towards something else? A job, a child, a home, a ministry, etc. Let’s change the tide of divorce and ineffective marriages. Let’s take a deep breath and grab hold of the responsibility that we have to be lights to a dark world- especially in this area. If we can demonstrate genuine devotion and service to one another within our marriages we can illustrate to the world what God wants to have with each of them- a true, authentic, passionate loving relationship.

Here are links to some incredible resources on the topic:


  1. Great post, sweetie! I know this is a topic very dear to your heart, as it should be. I believe you’ve only begun to scratch the surface with this.

  2. My husband and I have been married almost 39 years. We had rough years, but believed that we were in covenant with God and therefore would have no excuse for divorce. As we heard that many young couples are divorcing, we talked about the lack of understanding about the covenant agreement with God. Your article is timely and well written. I hope many will read it and take steps necessary for a vibrant marriage, with God as their focus.

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