Some people think that living together is a good test run for marriage, having the fringe benefits of marriage without the commitment—to see how they will do later if they get married. Studies show that those who live together have a higher divorce rate than those who don’t. In fact, 85% of the people who live together before marriage end up divorced. Maybe God knew what He was talking about when He told us how to do marriage. A successful marriage is a total commitment.
- God’s objective for marriage is leaving and cleaving. To cleave in the Hebrew means to glue or to cling. You are leaving one thing and taking hold of another. You are departing from and are attaching to. A successful and lasting marriage starts with leaving all other relationships. Your primary responsibility is to your spouse.
- Give maintenance to your marriage. 1 Peter 3:7 says, “Husbands, dwell with your wives with understanding, giving honor unto the wife, as unto the weaker vessel, and as being heirs together of the grace of life, that your prayer be not hindered” (kjv). The word dwell means to be aligned to or give maintenance to. You have to keep working at it. Keep giving your marriage attention.
- God is very specific about sex in marriage. Sex is given by God to be enjoyed by two married people for them to enter into a state of oneness—a bond. Sex is great in marriage but can be extremely destructive outside of it.
- God invented marriage. It is His idea. It is between a man and a woman in a commitment that should last a lifetime. We need to do it His way.
- God gave sex for a special expression of love between a man and a woman committed to each other in marriage. It is not a toy. It is a gift from God.
- Marriage is not so much about finding the right person as it is about being the right person.
Pay attention to what the Bible says, and do marriage God’s way by leaving and cleaving, leaving all other relationships, and by making your marriage your most important relationship. Put the needs of your spouse before your own, and watch what God will do. Do everything you can to cultivate and weed the garden of your marriage. You will live happily even after because God said you would in the Bible, and you can trust what God says.