Married for Life

Song of Solomon 2 16There is a tendency amongst young people today to try out relationships.  What I mean by that is rather than pray to the Lord to direct them to the right person to share their life with for life, they have a “hit and miss” attitude, going from relationship to relationship until somehow they stumble upon a “match” and may or may not make a less than “life-long” commitment then.

According to Statistics Canada:

“During the 50-year period from 1961 to 2011 which corresponded with the censuses of population, considerable social and economic changes occurred in Canada that influenced evolving family dynamics.

The early 1960s was near the end of the baby-boom period (1946 to 1965), when many people married at a fairly young age and had relatively large families. By the end of the 1960s, events such as the legalization of the birth control pill, the introduction of ‘no fault’ divorce, as well as the growing participation of women in higher education and in the paid labour force may have contributed to delayed family formation, smaller family size and an increased diversity of family structures.”

The alarming stats are that in 1961, married couples accounted for 91.6% of census families but by 2011, this proportion had declined to 67.0%. This decrease was mostly a result of the growth of common-law couples.  While the number of married couples rose 19.7% over the 30-year period between 1981 and 2011, the number of common-law couples more than quadrupled (+345.2%).  In 2011, lone-parent families represented 16.3% of all census families. This was almost double the share of 8.4% in 1961 when relatively more childbearing took place within marriage and divorce rates were lower.

“The predominant census family structure in 2011 was married couples, although they continued to decrease as a share of all families. In the 10-year period from 2001 to 2011, married couples dropped from 70.5% to 67.0% of all census families. In contrast, the proportion of census families that were common-law increased from 13.8% to 16.7% during the same period. For the first time in 2011, the number of common-law couples (1,567,910) surpassed the number of lone-parent families (1,527,840).” (Stats Canada)

“After a change to the Divorce Act in 1986 that allowed divorces after only one year of separation (instead of three years before), the total divorce rate in 1987 reached a high of 506 divorces per 1,000 marriages. This means that of marriages which took place in 1987, 50.6% were projected to end in divorce before their thirtieth anniversary.

Since the end of the 1980’s, the percentage has fluctuated between 35% and 42%. In 2008, 40.7% of marriages in Canada were projected to end in divorce before the thirtieth wedding anniversary.”

I’m not a statistician but just looking at the numbers would indicate that in Canada at least, marriage is fast becoming a failing institution.  There is no longer a mind-set amongst people to marry for life if at all.  They would rather live together rather than say “I do” and there is a walk-away mindset when a relationship does not work out.  Common-law “marriages” are on the rise, as are single-parent families, divorce rates (even amongst Christian couples) shows that nearly 50% of all marriages in Canada end in divorce before the thirtieth wedding anniversary.  That is staggering and so very, very sad!

According to the stats, my husband and I have bucked the trend.  Today marks our 35th wedding anniversary and I am praying to the Lord that we have another thirty-five years together (or more)!

Someone asked what our “secret” was.  How do we stayed married for life?  Not sure it’s a secret at all, but I’ll share what I know:

1.  “In his heart a man plans his course, but the Lord determines his steps.”  Proverbs 16:9  (That has been our life verse.  In everything, in every decision, every conversation, family activity, …EVERYTHING…God is in control.  HE directs our steps.  We are submissive to His leading.)

2.  There is a mutual respect and concern for one another.  It’s not a YOU – ME attitude, it’s WE together.  I don’t make a decision without sharing with my husband and vice versa.  We’re a team.  He respects my opinions and I respect his authority as the Spiritual leader of our home.  We compromise when we need to.  I’m his greatest fan, and he is my greatest fan.  We can always count on each other!

3.  We think of each other’s needs and well-being above our own.

4.  We both are well aware that our first love is God.  He is #1 in our hearts and in our home.  Yes, we love each other and love our children but God is first.  We do not usurp authority over God.  “As for me and my house, we will serve the Lord.”  Joshua 24:15

5.  We laugh…a lot.

6.  We share common goals, passions. likes and dislikes, but we also embrace one another’s differences.  He’s into cars, I’m into writing and books.  He retreats to his shop and muscle cars on stress-filled days and I’m okay with that.  I’ve learned more about cars and car parts than I ever thought I’d learn in thirty-five years, and he’s read maybe three books.  That’s okay…at least one of those books was mine 🙂

7.  We take the covenant of marriage seriously.  God brought us together.  It’s a “death ’till us part” commitment.  “For better, for worse, for richer, for poorer.”

8.  I married my best friend.  He is my confident, my partner, my love, my future.

Happy Anniversary, Charles!  Looking forward to the next thirty-five years (or more) together!

 

 

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One Response to Married for Life

  1. Hi Lyn, this is a lovely family life article that highlights the state of affairs today re marriage, and also reminds readers that it’s possible to be a winner. Congrats on your 35th anniversary! I’m pleased to say this month will be our 34th 🙂 From personal experience, I can “amen” to the things you’ve shared re your marriage. It’s so true and important for God to be number one in marriage relationships because through Him we can become all that we should as couples. It’s a continual relationship of love that stands firm when strong winds blow and deepens over the years and embraces so many things like forgiveness, patience, etc. Thanks for sharing and may God bless you both!! 🙂

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