Why are modern marriages failing?

Why Are Modern Marriages Failing?

In contemporary society, the sacred institution of marriage faces numerous challenges, fundamentally altering the dynamics of this divine covenant.

This evolution from traditional values of partnership and unity towards a culture of competition and individualism not only threatens the stability of marital unions but also deviates from the scriptural blueprint laid out for us in the Bible.

Here, we look into the reasons behind modern marriages’ struggles, integrating biblical wisdom to guide us back to the essence of what God intended marriage to be.

The Lure of Personal Achievement: A Modern Idolatry

The pursuit of personal success has become an idol for many, overshadowing the biblical command to “submit to one another out of reverence for Christ” (Ephesians 5:21).

In marriages, this shift towards individualism can lead to partners viewing each other as rivals rather than helpmates, contrary to the scripture that says that God created woman to be man’s “help meet.”

The phrase translated as “help meet” comes from two Hebrew words, ezer and kenegdo.

Ezer means “help,” but in a distinct way.

The Hebrew word Kenegdo means “opposite as to him” or “corresponding as to him.”

The Bible also tells us that:

“Two are better than one, because they have a good return for their labor” (Ecclesiastes 4:9).

By realigning our priorities to value the success of our spouse as our own, we can restore the unity that God envisages for marriage.

The Challenge of Dual-Career Households: Serving Two Masters

While the rise of dual-career households reflects societal progress, it also presents challenges reminiscent of the biblical warning that “No one can serve two masters” (Matthew 6:24).

The struggle to balance career ambitions with the commitment to one’s spouse and family can lead to conflict, where professional success is pursued at the expense of marital unity.

However, by adopting the principle that “Whatever you do, work heartily, as for the Lord and not for men” (Colossians 3:23), couples can navigate these challenges by prioritizing their marriage as their primary ministry.

One of the issues that people avoid discussing because it has been deemed politically incorrect is how a dual-career household impacts marriages and children.

In our corporate and commercial-obsessed world, people have been convinced that their destiny is tied to a career and women, in particular, are told almost constantly that they should serve corporations and bosses – who would fire them any day – than serve their husbands and children.

The data on mom’s leaving the house to work shows a grave picture for the children of modern marriages.

Research by the University of Kansas, for example, concludes that:

“…mothers who spend more time at home have children with fewer emotional problems: they score lower on the behavioral problems index; they are also less likely to be frequently unhappy or depressed. In addition, children with mothers spending more time at home are less likely to hurt someone, steal something, or skip school.”

The findings also suggest that mothers who work outside of the home see their children have more behavorial disorders than mom’s who don’t work outside of the home.

When it comes to marriage, one of the observations I have made in my career as a marriage and family counselor is that couples who spend all day focusing on their careers, going in different directions, and having only their scraps to offer their spouse upon returning home don’t fair as well as couples of single-career homes where “traditional” gender roles exist of a homemaker mother and a provider father.

It isn’t politically correct to speak about, but that doesn’t mean that it’s not true or helpful.

It offers insight into how we might stem the tide that is raging against marriages and families in our day.

The Impact of Social Media: Coveting Thy Neighbor’s LIFE

Social media has amplified the tendency to covet, directly opposing the Ten Commandments’ warning against coveting anything that belongs to our neighbor (Exodus 20:17).

The portrayal of idealized lives on these platforms can sow discontent and competition within marriages, detracting from the appreciation and contentment with one’s own spouse and blessings.

Scriptures remind us, “Let your conduct be without covetousness; be content with such things as you have. For He Himself has said, ‘I will never leave you nor forsake you’” (Hebrews 13:5).

Embracing this contentment can fortify marriages against external comparisons.

Social media platforms have become ubiquitous in daily life, offering unprecedented access to glimpses of others’ lives.

This constant exposure can inadvertently foster a culture of comparison and covetousness, challenging the biblical mandate to “be content with what you have” (Hebrews 13:5).

As followers of Christ, we are called to navigate this modern landscape with discernment and a heart aligned with God’s Word, ensuring that our use of social media does not become a stumbling block to our faith or our marriages.

The scripture warns us against coveting in Exodus 20:17, highlighting the destructive nature of desiring what we do not have.

When applied to the realm of social media, this commandment takes on new relevance.

The curated images and narratives shared online often present an idealized version of reality, leading to unrealistic expectations and dissatisfaction within our own lives and marriages.

This discrepancy between the virtual and the real can erode the foundation of gratitude and contentment that God desires for His children.

And comparison robs us of happiness.

“Comparison is the thief of joy.” -President Theodore Roosevelt

To combat the negative impact of social media on our marriages, we must promote a heart of gratitude, recognizing and celebrating the blessings God has given us, including the gift of our spouse.

Philippians 4:8 encourages us to focus on whatever is true, noble, right, pure, lovely, and admirable.

By applying this principle to our engagement with social media, we can shield our hearts from envy and discontent, choosing instead to rejoice in the unique story God is writing in our own lives.

Furthermore, mutual encouragement within marriage can counteract the temptations of comparison.

As Proverbs 31:10-31 describes the virtuous wife, we are reminded of the value God places on character and godliness over worldly accolades or achievements. Encouraging one another in love and good deeds (Hebrews 10:24) strengthens the bond of marriage and directs our focus back to the Lord, the true source of fulfillment and joy.

In essence, while social media can be a tool for connection and inspiration, it requires intentional stewardship to ensure it does not breed covetousness or discontent.

By anchoring our identities in Christ and nurturing a spirit of gratitude and contentment, we can navigate the challenges of social media, safeguarding our marriages and honoring God in the digital age.

Rekindling the Spirit of Partnership: “A Cord of Three Strands Is Not Quickly Broken”

To counteract the competitive trends eroding the fabric of marriage, couples must return to the biblical model of partnership, where God is the central figure in the union.

As Ecclesiastes 4:12 states, “Though one may be overpowered, two can defend themselves. A cord of three strands is not quickly broken.”

This verse underscores the strength found in a marriage centered around Christ, highlighting the importance of spiritual unity in overcoming life’s challenges together.

Christ does not change and we must commit our marriage to him rather than seeing our spouse as merely an “option” that we might trade in one day.

In conclusion, while modern societal trends have undeniably influenced the dynamics of marriage, the Bible offers timeless, divinely inspired wisdom and guidance for navigating these challenges.

By embracing the scriptural teachings on marriage as a covenant of partnership, mutual submission, and love, couples can fortify their unions against the forces of competition and individualism.

In doing so, they honor God’s design for marriage, creating a testament to the enduring power of faith, love, and commitment in a changing world.

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Lee has experience in the marriage-enrichment service for over 20 years and has a diploma in marriage and family counseling.