Sound Doctrine - Titus 2:1

You Know A Marriage Is In Trouble When...

Warren E. Berkley

Both tell the counselor that the other one is the problem. Counselors and preachers often have this experience. The husband says, "she is really a problem", and the wife says, "the whole trouble is him!" When the report of conflict is dominated by "me" and "what I need" and "what I deserve", you know there is trouble. When husband and wife verbalize selfish concerns, absent concern for children or obedience to God, you know there is trouble. "Let nothing be done through selfish ambition or conceit, but in lowliness of mind let each esteem others better than himself. Let each of you look out not only for his own interests, but also for the interests of others" (Philippians 2:3-4).

There is greater interest outside the home than in the home. In an episode of the Dr. Phil Show, he interviewed a man who was obsessed with his hobby, using a metal detector to find "treasure" just under the surface of the ground. The host of the show pointed out to him: "your wife is a treasure; your children are a treasure". When recreation, nightlife, social engagements, hobbies, and other things outside the home take priority over the marriage, there is trouble. "Nevertheless let each one of you in particular so love his own wife as himself, and let the wife see that she respects her husband" (Ephesians 5:33). "Husbands, likewise, dwell with them with understanding, giving honor to the wife, as to the weaker vessel, and as being heirs together of the grace of life, that your prayers may not be hindered" (1 Peter 3:7).

The kids know there is a problem. Children, even toddlers, are far more perceptive than many parents acknowledge. One of the saddest spectacles on earth is to see children hurting over the bitter conflict their parents fail to hide from them. Fathers and mothers, stop and think: you may fight and win some battle for yourself against your spouse, in a circumstance where your children are defeated by discouragement (Colossians 3:21).

One or both partners are drifting from the Lord. This is often one of the "early warning signs" that trouble is soon to come. It is a fact that as long as both husband and wife are committed to the Lord, there is the best possible source of strength. And in the commitment of both to the Lord and His word, there is a basis upon which to identify and solve problems. If this is so, the contrary is true: when one or both partners drift away from the Lord, the basis of unity and permanence is weakened. "Now therefore, fear the Lord, serve Him in sincerity and in truth choose for yourselves this day whom you will serve but as for me and my house, we will serve the Lord" (Joshua 14:14-15).

When there is more talk of divorce than marriage. One of the worst responses to trouble is to threaten divorce. Look for grounds for marriage, not divorce! When you threaten divorce, you are using something God hates in an impulsive, immature effort to gain what you want (cf. Malachi 2:16). Do you think God is pleased when you tell your mate you will violate God's will? Do you think it will help your marriage and secure stability for your children to get mad and yell about divorce?

"When A Man Has Taken A New Wife"

Bryan Matthew Dockens

To ensure the longevity of marriage, newlyweds should take serious measures to protect their relationship.

Enjoy your honeymoon. Did you know the concept of a honeymoon originated with God? Of course, He never called it that, but notice: "When a man has taken a new wife, he shall not go out to war or be charged with any business; he shall be free at home one year, and bring happiness to his wife whom he has taken" (Deuteronomy 24:5).

Granted, this was a statute of the old covenant, which has been done away. Nevertheless, the concept is relevant. God understands the fragility of a new marriage not properly cared for. It is worth noting the context: this honeymoon precept immediately follows laws on divorce (Deuteronomy 24:1-4). Clearly, God's will is to prevent divorce by encouraging togetherness.

Marrying just before shipping off to battle may be romantic, but is not wise. Neither is it prudent for a married couple to delay moving in together in order to complete a goal like college; it would be better to marry later. Nor should a newlywed undertake any business venture that requires considerable time away from home. Marriage is intended to cure loneliness (Genesis 2:18). Let it.

Get your own place. The practice of some couples moving in with the parents of either the bride or groom is ill advised. Since the beginning, God has taught, "Therefore a man shall leave his father and mother and be joined to his wife, and they shall become one flesh" (Genesis 2:24). "Leave" means "leave"; it does not mean "move in with"!

What business does a man have in taking a wife whom he cannot provide a home for? "But if anyone does not provide for his own, and especially for those of his household, he has denied the faith and is worse than an unbeliever" (1 Timothy 5:8).

Privacy is important for a new marriage to succeed because even the best marriages involve occasional conflict and newlyweds need the freedom to resolve their disagreements without an audience. Lacking the opportunity to discuss matters openly, problems will not be resolved, inevitably leading to bitterness and resentment (Colossians 3:19).

Privacy is also necessary because a godly couple, having previously practiced abstinence (1 Corinthians 6:18), needs the freedom to overcome inhibition (1 Corinthians 7:3; Hebrews 13:4). A nervous couple should not have to worry about what parents or in-laws may notice or overhear.

Conclusion: To enjoy marriage, newlyweds should live together, apart from their parents.

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