From the pen of Dr. Sam Jones
Entreat me not to leave you, Or to turn back from following after you; For wherever you go, I will go; And wherever you lodge, I will lodge; And your people shall be my people, And your God, my God” (Ruth 1:16).
These are the words of Ruth to her mother-in-law Naomi. She describes in an eloquent and coherent way her determination and commitment to remain with her. For decades, perhaps centuries, these words have been recited at weddings. These words have been recited as spouses pledged their undying love and commitment to one another.
There was a time in America, even Freed-Hardeman, when she was a marriage market. But times have changed. America and FHU are no longer marriage markets. According to the U.S. Bureau of the Census, for the first time in American history a few years ago less than 50% of Americans between the ages of 18 and 55 were married. People are not only waiting longer to get married, many have made the decision not to marry.
Allow me to remind you of several statistical facts related to marriage and divorce, and then recommend a need in America.
- There remains a 50% probability of new marriages ending by divorce.
- Each year since 1973, over 1.1 million marriages have been terminated by divorce.
- Researchers estimate that the majority of marriages in America are “empty-shell” marriages, i.e., spouses have lost their love for each other.
- Each year, approximately 2.7 to 3.0 million people, mostly women are severely assaulted by their spouses.
These are just a few of the disturbing statistical facts about married life. Will the value of marriage continue to decline? Will the probability of divorce continue to increase? Will spousal abuse continue to rise? Will your marriage remain intact until the death of you or your spouse? I don’t know the answer to the above questions, but there’s a great need. There’s a need for parents to teach their children to value marriage and to be committed to their marriage. Teach them to not only be committed, but to develop a strong passion to want their marriage to be the best it can be. Help them to understand that this requires developing a plan to keep the marriage intact and rewarding. Help them to see marriage not as a curse but as a “gift” from God (Prov. 12:4; 18:22; 19:14). What are you doing to make your marriage better? For you who are single, what is your plan to keep your marriage intact after marriage? Without a plan your marriage will never be the best it can be!