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The man who finds a wife finds a treasure and receives favor from the Lord. Proverbs 18:22
Do you realize what you have in your marriage? Can you look beyond some of your petty little trials and disappointments and see the big picture? Someone once said, "Marriage with peace is this world's paradise." Solomon phrased it a little differently, calling a wife "a treasure" that comes with a fantastic bonus: "favor from the Lord." We are on safe ground to say that a woman who finds a husband is likewise benefited and blessed. Marriage is a wonderful thing designed by God. If you are married, even if the relationship is at times difficult – and whose isn't? – you hit the relational jackpot. You are living a life worth celebrating.
What's so good about marriage? What kind of blessings and benefits can you expect as a married person? We can think of seven right away, and it's good for us to remember them, celebrate them, and thank God for them from time to time.
1. Your marriage has saved you from the pain of divorce. The divorce trend in our country – which is higher among Christians than in the general population – is fueled by a wrong perception about the outcome of divorce. People think it's a way out of a difficult relationship. They see divorce as a doorway to a fresh start and a happier life. But is the grass really greener on the other side of the marital fence? No! Virtually everything we have researched on divorce concludes that those who divorce are no happier – and in many cases less happy – than when they were married. Marriage is the better thing they long for.
Celebrate being married! You have been spared the heartbreak and pain of divorce. What a blessing from God!
2. You will likely live a healthier, longer life. Again, the data from a number of sources over the years show that married people generally outlive their divorced counterparts. Why? We all know that stress, anxiety, loneliness, and other relational and emotional pains wreak havoc with physical health and tend to shorten life. On the other hand, while marriage is not a guarantee of long life and uninterrupted wellness, it is a less stressful and therefore healthier environment.
Celebrate being married! You will probably be around for some of those anniversaries for which the family will give you nice presents!
3. You are likely better off financially than divorced people or people who never married. You may be thinking of the obvious here: the expenses of alimony and child support that you never have to worry about if you stay married to the treasure you found. But married people also tend to be more settled and stable in the work environment, holding onto their jobs, earning promotions and bonuses, and building financial security.
Celebrate being married! You are probably better off financially than others who have left their marriage in hopes of finding something better.
4. Your kids have a better chance at a happy, productive life. Granted, you may not be the role models of loving, nurturing parents you want to be. But your kids take strength from the fact that their parents are together. Even in those periods when you're struggling through your own relationship, your kids are better off and feel more secure than they would if they were in a broken home.
Celebrate being buried! Your kids will rise up and call you blessed because you are letting out your commitment to love and cherish each other.
5. You have saved your kids from the potential pain of a stepfamily arrangement. This statement is true if you are in a first marriage. If you are in a second, third, or even fourth marriage, you know the painful complications to the stepfamily setting. Your kids may be living with those consequences. Yes God's love and your love, plus time and a good decision, can help your kids deal with the pain. If you have not been divorced, can you imagine your son or daughter having to live through such an experience, can you imagine your child trying to adjust to a new mom or dad – a stepparent – perhaps in a new home? Can you imagine the heartache of limited interaction with your child, sharing your child with another family? What a tragedy!
Celebrate being married! You have spared your kids and yourself the agony of a broken family.
6. Your kids have a better chance of adjusting to society. Again, the overall data is conclusive: Kids from broken homes are more likely to get swept up in drugs, alcohol, and premarital sex than kids from intact homes.
Celebrate being married! One of the blessings you reap from your faithful commitment to each other is the higher probability that your kids will make it in this world.
7. You are a testimony that building a godly marriage is worth the effort. How many divorces have you witnessed in your extended family, your circle of friends, your neighborhood, or your church? You probably know a number of them. How many couples do you know whose marriages are struggling or are teetering on the brink of separation and divorce? You can probably think of several. Then there's your marriage. It's far from perfect, but you are still moving in the right direction. As such, you are a positive role model to your world that a marriage built on God's principles in Scripture can not only survive but thrive. You never know how many couples you may influence in the right direction just by attending to the health of your own marriage.
Celebrate being married! Your marriage relationship may cast the deciding vote for many couples who would pursue separation and divorce if not for your positive influence about what marriage can be.
Celebrating love doesn't take a growing marriage for granted. Consider what God has done in keeping you together and deepening your love and intimacy as husband and wife. Praise him for what you enjoy, and every once in a while kick up your heels and party!
Think about the marriages of each of the people listed below. You may think of several names and some of the categories. Which ones made – or are making – a significant, positive impact on your marriage? What about these marriages was so special to you? Which marriages communicated that husbands and wives are a treasure and that the Lord smiles with favor on the marriage relationship? Which marriages were not a positive influence? Why?
Your spouse's parents
Your spouse's grandparents
Other relatives in your extended families
Ministry couples you have known well (pastors, evangelists, missionaries)
Church lay leaders
Childhood friends with whom you have stayed in touch
I am so grateful, heavenly Father, for the treasure you have given me and my spouse. Thank you for allowing me to find him [her]. Thank you also for the favor we have enjoyed throughout our marriage. You have been gracious and generous toward us, even when we fail to love each other as we should. It is sometimes hard to imagine that our children have been blessed and protected because of our marriage and that others around us – our friends, neighbors, church members – have been helped through the favor you have given our marriage. I am humbled that you would use our relationship to bless others. Please continue to find us pliable to the Holy Spirit’s work and willing to grow deeper as a couple – not just for us, but also for others. Amen.
Renew Your Love
Plan and carry out a surprise celebration for your spouse this week. It doesn't need to be fancy or expensive, just something special you know will surprise or please your spouse. For example, you could leave a small gift on his or her pillow, take him or her to the ice cream shop after dinner one evening, or give him or her a long back rub at bedtime. Use your imagination. As part of your special surprise, verbalize your appreciation for your spouse and the marriage you have. Don't just "wing it"; give some thought to what you will say!