We know what it means to keep our bodies strong and healthy, but what about our marriages? Keeping this union strong can be difficult. It requires effort, intentionality, and lots of forgiveness. But, does it really matter if we have a healthy marriage?
Culture says it doesn’t. “Stay married as long as you’re happy, and, if you’re not, chart a new course.” Marriage, many believe, is all about you. If it’s not to your satisfaction, move on. The purpose of marriage boils down to lust, love, and romance. Pleasing oneself reigns supreme.
But, God tells us something different about marriage. The Bible instructs us to mutually love and respect each other. Strong marriages require a commitment long after the passion fades. And most of the time, that’s difficult.
Prioritizing marriage can compound this difficulty, even when our hearts are set on a healthy marriage. Between children, jobs, and household duties, setting aside time to work on your marriage each week may feel impossible to schedule.
But, that doesn’t mean you shouldn’t do it. In fact, just the opposite. The state of your marriage matters—and not just to you! The state of your marriage matters to your children, your community, your health, and to God.
Here are the first two reasons why the state of your marriage matters:
1. The state of your marriage matters to your children.
Your children are watching—learning what marriage should look like from your example. Though no marriage is perfect, investing time in your marriage will pay giant dividends when it comes to what your kids learn about the importance of marriage. If mom and dad are serious enough about their marriage to continue to date, take trips away together, and prioritize each other during the week, children learn that marriage, like a garden, needs to be tended.
When you have a strong marriage, your children also benefit in other ways. Did you know that girls raised in a home without married parents are more likely to have sex as a teenager and, accordingly, to experience teen pregnancy? Young men and women who don’t get the benefit of witnessing a healthy marriage in their own homes may grow up to underestimate the importance of marriage for themselves. Children who grow up in homes with married parents are less likely to live in poverty, fail in school, and suffer emotional problems.
2. The state of your marriage matters to your well-being.
Men who are married make more money, have better sex, and better health. Men who stay married live almost ten years longer than those who are unmarried.
Interestingly enough, for women, marriage only has similar benefits if the relationship is happy. Women in satisfying marriages have better heart health, healthier lifestyles, and fewer emotional problems according to Linda C. Gallo, Ph.D.
According to the Harvard University Health Blog, married people tend to live longer, have a lower chance of becoming depressed, have fewer strokes and heart attacks, are less likely to be surprised by a medical diagnosis (i.e. they receive early diagnosis and treatment for diseases).
In his book, The Meaning of Marriage: Facing the Complexities of Commitment with the Wisdom of God, pastor and author Tim Keller says the following, “Marriage has the power to set the course of your life as a whole. If your marriage is strong, even if all the circumstances in your life around you are filled with trouble and weakness, it won't matter. You will be able to move out into the world in strength.”
Prioritize the health of your marriage and you’ll feel physically, emotionally, and spiritually healthier too!
Come back next week for part two of this special blog series and learn why marriage is part of being Pro Abundant Life!