Have you ever stopped to think about the importance of your marriage? Marriage is hard; is it worth it? In this post, Guy looks at why your marriage matters and gives you some thoughts you would be wise to ponder…

When I got married at 22 years old, I had the wrong idea about marriage.

I don’t think it was an unusual idea.

Deep down, I thought that marriage would make me happy.

It would kill loneliness, I would have someone to share domestic duties with, and of course I had high expectations of lots of physical intimacy.

What do you notice about these three ideas?

They are all about me!

The Problem With Marriage

And here lies the fundamental problem that most of us have going into marriage. Men (women, also) have expectations about what being married will do for them. When you think about it, why wouldn’t you? After all, you are giving things up to get married to someone, and so if you think about it as a business transaction — a contract — the benefits have to outweigh the costs.

This idea makes lots of sense, doesn’t it?

And so, when you look at marriage like you would buying a new car, some will weigh up the costs versus perceived benefits and choose not to buy the car – or get married.

That is the choice we all have if we ever find someone who we consider marriable. Others will get married, but as the marriage wears on, and they continue to weigh up pros vs cons, and when the cons outweigh the pros for a while, it becomes time to dissolve the marriage.

In the USA, in 2015 there were 17 divorces per 1000 married women over 15 years, and Professor Philip Cohen from the University of Maryland was cited in a Bloomberg article of June 2016 as stating that 52.7 % of marriages end in divorce, with the average length of a marriage being about 12 years.

Expectations Kill Marriages

So when two people get married, both coming in with their own expectations about what marriage will do for them – is it any surprise that it doesn’t take long for the fireworks to start?

What are some of these expectations:

Examples from Him:

  • That she will cook, and wash and iron my shirts
  • That she will keep the kids quiet when I get home tired from work
  • That she will make love X times per week
  • That I can get home, eat and then go out with my mates (don’t worry, she will clean up too).
  • …. and so on

Examples from Her:

  • That he will run errands for me
  • That he will share 50% of the housework
  • That he will make enough money to provide the comforts I want
  • That he will meet all my needs for attention and understanding.
  • …. and so on

The Benefits of Marriage

There are practical life issues that each one of these expectations speaks to that do need to be worked through, but at its best, marriage is not two people coming together to co-share work and benefits, two people co-existing under a contract of convenience.

No. At its best, marriage really is about two people becoming just one person — emotionally even more so than physically.

This is all very well and good, and great theory, but what are the practical benefits of being married?

Well, during the 31 days of October last year, we posted on Facebook 31 reasons why marriage matters – largely taken from “Why Marriage Matters – 30 Conclusions from the social sciences” which is available from the RealMen24/7 Amazon-affiliate bookstore.

You can also download the short pdf version from here: Why Marriage Matters – Institute for American Values

In brief, though, your marriage matters because:

1. Marriage is Good for Children

  1. It is good for children to be raised in a committed, healthy marriage between one man and one woman. Thousands of independent studies demonstrate that kids do better in traditional well-functioning marriages.
  2. Kids have better relationships with mum and dad when mum and dad are married and together
  3. Stability is more likely when kids are born into an established marriage
  4. Kids are more likely to thrive if they grow up with a married mum and dad
  5. Kids who grow up with an intact marriage are themselves more likely to have successful marriages
  6. Divorce increases poverty levels for children impacted by it
  7. Children, on average, who live with their own two married parents enjoy better physical and emotional health
  8. Kids who have both mum and dad at home are less likely to get involved in serious crime
  9. Marriage is associated with lower rates of drug and alcohol abuse by teenagers
  10. Kids raised by divorced or unmarried parents do worse academically.

2. Marriage is Good for Women

  1. Married women experience a lower rate of domestic violence than cohabiting women
  2. Marriage is associated with better health for both men and women
  3. Marriage fosters better quality and longer-lasting relationships between couples
  4. Marriage reduces poverty and hardship for disadvantaged women
  5. Married couples seem to build more wealth on average

3. Marriage is Better For Men

  1. Married men live longer
  2. Married men earn more money
  3. Family breakdowns significantly increase the risk of suicide
  4. Married men have much better relationships with their kids

4. Marriage is Better For Society

  1. When marriages are successful, society has fewer instances of mental illness, psychological distress, and physical harm to resource and support
  2. Kids growing up in healthy marriages are better able to contribute to society, not dependent on it and involved in crime
  3. Kids from intact marriages tend to be better educated and better equipped to contribute to the workforce
  4. Fewer kids and adults in prison from less crime – something we all want!

For a deeper look at the benefits of marriage that come through the social sciences research, I suggest you check out the resource mentioned and other great marriage books I have listed at the end of this article.

But marriage is more than just a list of benefits.  There is, in fact, an even greater purpose for it, and this reason is also an intrinsic part of why marriage is under attack today.

The True Purpose of Marriage

God intended marriage to be even more than just a nice way for men and women to live together and bring up children.

Don’t get me wrong, the benefits listed above are not small reasons. Even without any other reasons, the benefits that men, women, children and society gets from marriage are sufficient reasons for marriage by themselves.

But the thing is, that God intended marriage to be something more than even that.

God intended marriage to be a picture of his covenant relationship between himself — through Jesus Christ — and his people. Through a proper functioning marriage, we learn about His love for us, as well as our need for him.

The apostle Paul talks about this idea in Ephesians 5:22-30.

Then, in verses 31-32, he says:

“Therefore a man shall leave his father and mother and hold fast to his wife, and the two shall become one flesh.” This mystery is profound, and I am saying that it refers to Christ and the church – Ephesians 5:31, 32 ESV

Have you ever wondered why that last piece was on there, about Christ and the church? Read on.

Marriage isn’t just a Contract

You would have heard about many Hollywood A-listers having pre-nuptial marriage contracts. That’s a sad way to begin — planning for the end — but marriage isn’t supposed to be a contract; it is a covenant.

The first thing about a covenant is that it is God who does all the work.

Look into the covenants made in the Bible — God did the work necessary to make and confirm each one. God also did the work required for the marriage covenant.

Derek Prince in “Husbands and Fathers” says this about it:

“God’s purpose for marriage is unity between the partners.  But the Bible makes it clear that there is only one basis for true unity between human beings … it is covenant.” – Derek Prince

The Bible describes marriage in Genesis 2:24 (quoted by Paul in Ephesians 5)

Therefore a man shall leave his father and his mother and hold fast to his wife, and they shall become one flesh. (Emphasis added).

Leaving is to leave all others, to make a new start, to come out from the loyalty of a child-parent relationship and to hold fast (or cleave) to a new union and loyalty to another person for life.

Likewise, Jesus came out from under the Father-Son relationship he had in Heaven to become a man of flesh and blood. Jesus did that to form a new covenant between God and mankind that would redeem all of mankind from our evil ways and the consequences of that.

So, God did the work in reconciling mankind with himself, and he did the work in creating the covenant of marriage for us so that we can enjoy the full joy of loyalty, love, intimacy, respect and life for life that only comes from a covenant relationship.

When Jesus gave himself for his people, he not only made all this possible, but he also set an example to all husbands of how we are to love our wives:

“Husbands, love your wives, just as Christ also loved the church and gave Himself for it.” – Ephesians 5:25

Oh, and by the way, one day Jesus is coming back for those who love him — as a husband comes back from a long journey for his bride.

Make sure you’re ready!

Protecting Your Marriage

At the time of writing this post, the most popular post on Real Men 24/7 is this one entitled 7 Easy Ways To Make Your Wife (and your life) Fly!

Its popularity was surprising because it is such a simple post, being just about 7 practical and easy ways you can improve your marriage through focusing on your wife.

But it hints at the core of Christ’s example to us.

He gave himself for us. He set aside his interests, his ‘flesh’ to meet our greatest need despite the fact that we were cruel, rebellious, prideful and self-centred.

If you are a husband who says “I can’t serve my wife like that, she takes advantage of me when I do that!”

I say, look at Christ’s example.

Husbands — love your wives without expecting to get anything in return. Love her unconditionally. Serve her to meet her emotional needs.

Recently I interviewed a man — Phil. He had been married 28 years when he discovered his wife was having an affair.

I asked him “Did you consider leaving?”  He said, “No, at that moment I realised how much I loved my wife and I was determined to put our marriage back together”.

He will be married 35 years this year, and his marriage still has issues, but it is better than it ever was before.

The lesson for all of us men is to love our wives BEFORE we are forced to really realise that we love our wives. Better to realise it now, and to act now, than to realise it when damage is done or after it is too late.

I’ll leave you with this final thought to think about:

Men, choose to make your marriage a priority now before you no longer have the choice to make. – Guy Mullon

We have some great resources in the shop on marriage. Check some of these out.










Originally published on RealMen24/7. Image by Emma Bauso on Pexels.

About the Author: Guy Mullon

Guy is a former corporate manager, then funds manager, financial services responsible manager and company director turned entrepreneur. These days Guy is a busy husband and father of 9 children, online author, speaker and coach. Guy is the founder and one of the main contributors to Real Men 24/7, through which he seeks to help men who are 'stuck' get moving again to a life with a plan and purpose.

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