The newspaper headline for the article simply read "More Than Half Will Wish They'd Said 'I Don't.'" It was referring to those who had said, "I do" in marriage. Most of the article was devoted to the findings of Ray E. Short, a University of Wisconsin-Platteville sociology professor. He said, "Research shows that half of all first marriages today will end in divorce, separation or unhappiness tomorrow. Their bliss will go amiss."
It is sad to think that the failure rate for marriage is so high in our society. While marriages fail for many reasons, underlying most failures are common causes -- a lack of understanding of the marriage relationship, the failure to choose a proper mate in a calm, rational way, and a disrespect for God's law concerning marriage.
Before marriage is ever contemplated, one should seek to understand the husband-wife relationship and what is involved in it. First of all, one should realize that they are making a lifelong commitment. Long after the honeymoon is over, the marriage is to endure. In instituting His law which was to govern the marriage relationship, God, in the beginning, said, "Therefore a man shall leave his father and mother and be joined to his wife, and they shall become one flesh." (Genesis 2:24)
God intends for a man and woman to become one in marriage and for that union to endure until death severs the bond (Rom. 7:1-3). Our Lord, in Matthew 19:6, emphasizes the permanent nature of the relationship when He says, "So then, they are no longer two but one flesh. Therefore what God has joined together, let not man separate."
The dissolution of a marriage is a serious matter with God. Matthew 5:32 states, "...whoever divorces his wife for any reason except sexual immorality causes her to commit adultery; and whoever marries a woman who is divorced commits adultery." In the eyes of God, marriage is a lifelong commitment and it should be entered into with that in mind. Every effort must be made to make the union endure the ups and downs, the joys and sorrows, and all other things that happen for better or worse.
As to selecting a proper mate, the professor offered three suggestions:
First, take plenty of time in your courtship and engagement -- the longer the better.
Second, get good, science-tested preparation from textbooks (the Bible is the best book you could use -- GT), marriage and family courses or qualified counselors.
Third, be sure that what you have is real love that can support a long and happy relationship.
He even offered some clues, each in the form of a question, so that a person can sort out a real love from just an infatuation:
To the professor's three suggestions for mate selection, I would add a fourth -- make sure your prospective mate has the same love for the Lord and things spiritual that you have. So many people have either abandoned the faith or had to experience almost insurmountable difficulties in an effort to keep their marriage intact because of their mate's lack of appreciation for or outright hostility of God and the religion of Christ.
Much happiness and fulfillment is possible in marriage if you keep these things in mind. If all husbands and wives would follow the will of God and use His word as their guide in all they do, their "bliss would not go amiss," rather, they would have much satisfaction on this earth and eternal joy in the world to come. Let no one enter into marriage without knowledge of God's arrangement.