April 19, 2021

How Long Should a Marriage Last?

The answer to the question shows a lot about who you are and what you think of marriage.  When created in the book of Genesis, God states that the man and the woman become one being.  God puts them together.  That would generally mean that they are together for life, and the rest of the Bible text on the subject seems to back this up.

However, there is some discrepancies when it comes to adultery.  Jesus even restates it in the Gospels that divorce was permitted in the case of fornication (before the wedding vows) or adultery (after the vows).

Now, there’s a movement to change the terms in the vows to reflect the fact that couples are not going the distance:

People are now searching for vows that could replace the words ‘Till death do us part’, ‘For as long as our live’. They come up with the vows ‘For as long as our love shall last’, ‘Until our time together is over’ which they call more realistic vows but others said that would be recipe for failure marriage.

You see, society has succeeded (in the majority) of defining marriage by love.  There are many ways that this has been done, but the point is that the Western world believes that they must have love to have a marriage.  If they do not have this emotion, then (other than children) there’s really no reason to still be together.

Now, I’m not saying that we should not foster love in our relationships, but what I am saying is that marriage is more about commitment than feelings, and if we want to see marriages last longer we’re going to have to change the concept of why people get married in the first place.

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10 thoughts on “How Long Should a Marriage Last?

  1. I wonder if we had multiple words for the word “love” like the Greek language if it might somehow be clearer in our society what love is and what marriage should look like. While marriage certainly involves romantic love it is much more than that. Hollywood has played up the “fire” of romantic love so much that people really think thats what love is all about. As a result when they see that fire fade for a bit, they start looking for it elsewhere. True love (Agape), doesn’t really ever go away. As a result technically “As long as our love lasts” for believers should be the same as “Til death do us part”.

  2. Ironic that this comes along with the rise of the idea that people need to wait until they are “ready for that kind of commitment.” On the one hand I’m wondering why a person needs to be 30 or older before they are “grown up” enough for a serious relationship — much less marriage or kids!! — and on the other hand I’m wondering what commitment they are talking about when everyone seems to bail at the first hint of trouble. Are we living in a society that fears even the meager responsibility of a marriage “as long as our love shall last”?

    Just call me, “26 and Married for Life”

  3. Pastor Alleister Begg, refuses to change the vows, and will allow a couple to read theirs, after the one is said in the bible.

    I believe marriage should be until one partner passes on.

    However, there are some exceptions. No person should feel obligated to stay in an abusive marriage, ever. Or if the spouse is continually cheating, or addicted to drugs, etc.

    How long is one expected to stay in a marriage like that?

  4. The only two exceptions the Bible makes are for adultery and if an unbeliever leaves. My husband makes a case that a man who beats his wife is essentially “abandoning her,” since he is removing his protection from her. I don’t know. I know I’ve never had to worry about that, so for me it is a moot point until the day I have to advise a friend on the matter — and I hope then that God will guide me.

    I would point out that in the case of adultery divorce is “acceptable” — not necessary. Many marriage, mine included, has survived and even thrived after adultery (so long as there is repentance).

  5. Michelle, you’re right. It only get murkier after that– since some will ask whether or not the party that is divorced can remarry, and it’s different depending on the circumstances.

    I don’t believe that a person is free to remarry after divorce if both were saved. I believe that’s where you turn the spouse into an adulterer. I’m a little bit less certain about the mismatching of spouses.

    Check out the conversation here if you want an indepth look at the scriptures and another point of view.

  6. However, there are some exceptions. No person should feel obligated to stay in an abusive marriage, ever. Or if the spouse is continually cheating, or addicted to drugs, etc.

    How long is one expected to stay in a marriage like that?

    As Michelle pointed out, there are only two allowances for divorce in the bible. For adultery, and if the spouse is an unbeliever and leaves. Any other reason clearly is not in scripture nor do I think it was “forgotten” from the text.

    Do I claim to understand this? Not at all. Would I struggle with encouraging someone who was being abused to stay with their spouse? Definitely. It would weigh heavily on my heart and I would be in constant prayer over the situation. Would I encourage them anyway to stick it out? Yes. Do I think God is bigger then the abusive situation? There is no doubt in my mind. Do I think God will rescue them from the situation? I certainly would pray that He would and I know of times he has. At the same time there are no promises in the bible that the Christian walk will go without physical harm. Would I support them anyway even if they chose to get a divorce? Without a doubt. I would never try to convey that I condoned the decision but what is done is done. We all fall short everyday.

  7. Some time ago, someone over at my blog asked me, ‘Do you think your future husband will want your love, or your duty? When you get married, do you want your husband to love you, or to feel you are his duty?’ – to which I replied it is our DUTY to cultivate love for our spouse. A good marriage cannot exist without love, but love isn’t something that just ‘happens’ (clearly, I don’t mean Hollywood-style infatuation…). Love is a deep feeling we must work on every day!

  8. You’re right there Anna. It’s a lot of work to maintain not just the respect but the actual feeling. I figure that at about 3 years (some more, some less) there are things that change and you have to start to actually work at maintaining a strong emotional bond with your spouse. Practicing good habits will go a long way, though.

  9. 3 years sounds about right. Meg and I stopped fighting constantly around 2-2.5 years 😉 and it has built from there. Now we have a great marriage ;-).

  10. I was just posting about how our understanding of marriage has changed on my blog and also was looking at what happens when someone commits adultery. As you say the concept that it should be for life seems to be lacking these days. And as for duty…don’t even go there!!

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