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God’s design for marriage

Many people ask me, “What’s the secret of your long marriage?” My answer is, “Keep your promises and live a long time.” It’s not very complicated.

Now, that might sound like an oversimplification, but here’s another one for you: I believe fundamentally that marriage is as simple as ABC: Adjustments Based on Commitments.  In other words, it is imperative that the foundations be in place.

Here are some foundational principles of marriage:

  • Marriage is God’s idea. It’s not a human construct. That might seem obvious, but that statement is aggressively challenged in our society.
  • Gender and sexuality are also a divine idea. Men and women are both made in the image of God, but there are clear distinctives between them as well.
  • Marriage requires sacrifice. Selfishness is the deathly enemy of marriage. There has to be a willingness to leave your single life.
  • Marriage requires commitment intended to last. If there isn’t an intention to commit “till death do us part,” then that marriage is on shaky ground.

Foundational commitments are clearly understood and agreed upon and tenaciously held on to. Having said that, we go through all kinds of changes during the course of marriage, so adjustments have to be made based on those commitments.

We’re talking about a union of two people who have mutual commitments and make the necessary adjustments—as they have children, for instance. And again as their children leave, as they suffer bereavement of their parents, and all manner of situations. All kinds of things require adjustment, but the fundamental commitments don’t change.

In marriage, God takes a man and a woman, and by His Spirit He begins working in their lives so they become one. And they spend the rest of their days discovering what that oneness means. May God enable you to keep your promises and live a long time!