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<< Discover the Book, with Dr. John Barnett

Discover the Book - Jan. 25, 2008

  • 2008 Jan 25

Biblical Marriage


One of my favorite moments in ministry is when I stand up on the platform with two trembling hearts standing before me at the wedding ceremony. May I remind you of what they agree to be at just one portion called the LIGHTING THE UNITY CANDLE:


The two outside candles have been lighted to represent your lives to this moment. They are two distinct lights, each capable of going its separate way. To bring joy and radiance into your home, there must be the merging of these two flames into one.


From this time onward may your thoughts be for each other father than for your individual selves; may your plans be mutual, your joys and sorrows shared.


Remember you only get one chance in life to start with a wonderful Biblical marriage. It is worth the wait. Don’t squander one of the greatest areas of life by doing your own thing instead of God’s! I think the choice is yours. Where are you headed in your marriage and as a family? You will never get to anywhere you are not headed right now! But if we aren’t careful, what is the other choice? It is called unhappiness, unfaithfulness, hardness, and divorce.


There are over 111 Million[1][1] of us in America who are married. That is the majority or 56% of all over 18-year-old adults. Most of us only faintly realize the dangerous climate we live in. We live in a culture soaked with the stain of divorce that has penetrated to the depths of all our institutions. Listen to a couple paragraphs from a book called The Divorce Culture[2][2].

"Divorce is now part of everyday American life. It is embedded in our laws and institutions, our manners and mores, our movies and television shows, our novels and children's storybooks, and our closest and most important relationships. Indeed, divorce has become so pervasive that many people naturally assume it has seeped into the social and cultural mainstream over a long period of time. Yet this is not the case. Divorce has become an American way of life only as the result of recent and revolutionary change.

For most of the nation's history, divorce was a rare occurrence and an insignificant feature of family and social relationships. In the first sixty years of the twentieth century, divorce became more common, but it was hardly commonplace. In 1960, the divorce rate stood at a still relatively modest level of nine per one thousand married couples. [emphasis added] After 1960, however, the rate accelerated at a dazzling pace. It doubled in roughly a decade and continued its upward climb until the early 1980s, when it stabilized at the highest level among advanced Western societies. As a consequence of this sharp and sustained rise, divorce moved from the margins to the mainstream of American life in the space of three decades.

Beginning in the late 1950s, Americans began to change their ideas about the individual's obligations to family and society. Broadly described, this change was away from an ethic of obligation to others and toward an obligation to self. I do not mean that people suddenly abandoned all responsibilities to others, but rather that they became more acutely conscious of their responsibility to attend to their own individual needs and interests. At least as important as the moral obligation to look after others, the new thinking suggested, was the moral obligation to look after oneself. [emphasis added]

People began to judge the strength and "health" of family bonds according to their capacity to promote individual fulfillment and personal growth. The family began to lose its separate place and distinctive identity as the realm of duty, service, and sacrifice. The conception of divorce as both an individual right and an inner experience merged with and reinforced the new ethic of obligation to the self. In family relationships, one had an obligation to be attentive to one's own feelings and to work toward improving the quality of one's inner life. This conception of divorce strongly argued for removing the social, legal, and moral impediments to the free exercise of the individual right to divorce.

The Lord has offered to each of us a choice. We can either choose to follow His plan or ours through life. One of the most visible of all our choices is the person we marry. The choice is either a marriage after our own heart or after God’s own heart.


[1][1] Latest Census figures also reflect an average of 950,000 divorces per year, an average of 2.3 million marriages per year and at present 10% of the population of adults in the US are divorced and not remarried.

[2][2] THE DIVORCE CULTURE: Rethinking Our Commitments to Marriage and Family, by Barbara Dafoe Whitehead, Vintage Books, A Division of Random House, Inc. New York 1998

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