What causes a marriage to break down? If it were one issue that
lead to marital strife the problem might be easily addressed. As it is, by the
time a couple is willing to seek help for their marriage, the problems are numerous.
I will address a few of the more common issues apart from sexual sin.
The central problem in marital breakdown is the foundation is
built on sinking sand. A marriage not built on the foundation of biblical
principles, with Jesus Himself as the head and center of the union will
experience difficulties. Because few marriages are truly Christ-centered, it
does not take long for the cracks to appear and before long the foundation crumbles
beneath the weight of the issues. A successful marriage will consist of both
husband and wife determining to defer to the Word of God as their guide for
It is my observation that marriages go south because sinful habits
and practices have developed and gone unchallenged. They begin to erode the
oneness in the relationship and chip away at the foundations of the marriage. Sinful
attitudes of the heart can and must be confronted. Marriage is to be a
relationship of mutual admonishment and exhortation. Husband and wife are spiritual
equals, therefore, they are to help each other overcome sinful habits. It is
not unsubmissive to confront unrepentant sin, it is a kindness and a loving act
to do so! A part of loving ones spouse is desiring they become more like Christ.
Help each other to live for the glory of God.
Another common area of marriage breakdown is selfishness or
self-centeredness on the part of one or both marriage partners. Nothing
destroys a marriage faster than selfishness. When a person reveals selfishness before marriage I would have a
hard time encouraging them to marry. Knowingly marrying a selfish person is
asking for a lifetime of misery and loneliness.
One aspect of selfishness is visible when one or both people are
focused on how the other person "makes me feel" or, when a husband or
wife has a constant demand for affection or attention from the other as proof
of their love. She waits for him to serve
her emotional needs, and he waits for her to wait on his needs. Neither person
gives much thought to the other because they only serve themselves. This becomes
very clear in relationships that are needs based. Our
culture has warped love to be about
meeting needs, squishy feelings, and sexual attraction and fulfillment. With this
worldly mindset, love becomes self-oriented instead of action oriented, sinful
and fruitless. Anything that focuses exclusively on me and what can be done for me
is sinful. It is idolatry. Nothing good can ever come from such selfish
thoughts, beliefs, and desires. Any fruit that is produced will be rotten.
When marriage is others
oriented, the fruit of happiness, joy, peace, fulfillment, and contentment is
present in the couple. Each person looks after the welfare and fulfillment of the
other and seeks the best for their spouse other rather than focusing on self. Husband
and wife are committed to each other fully. They think the best of each other,
and serve each other. This is the kind
of marriage everyone wants.
Biblical love is costly-
requires giving of self, time, interest, thought, consideration, money,
creativity, and sometimes, even your own life! This is costly because it causes
us to deny ourselves. It is being like Jesus, who laid down His life. Until you
reach that point in marriage, you haven’t done enough.