The past year has been a memorable experience for our family. We are now at the stage of life where our children are starting to move towards marriage. Our two oldest sons are now engaged to two remarkable women. Next year will see two weddings plus our twenty-fifth wedding anniversary. My bank account is already crying — but mostly with happy tears.
Recently, I had a conversation with several people reflecting on how many people (Christians included) we all know who are choosing to live together instead of, or to delay, getting married. In 2001, 16.4% of all couples in Canada were living together. This number increased to 21% in 2016 (source: Statistics Canada). In Quebec, 31.5% of all couples live together instead of being married. It seems the trend in society is towards cohabitation.
As a ministry, we celebrate marriage, and we don’t believe cohabitation honours God.
What is Marriage?
Marriage is a covenant between two people and God. It is the coming together of a man and a woman to become one (Genesis 2:24). This covenant and the union of two people to be one is more than just the launch of a new family, it’s a reflection of what God Himself is like. He makes a covenant with His people and the Bible describes God as being one (Deuteronomy 6:4). As my friend Steve Masterson always told me, “Marriage is far more about God than it is about us.”
In addition to the spiritual reasons for marriage over cohabitation, there are also concerns for the stability of children. “Cohabitation continues to confer a stability disadvantage on individual children … Marriage seems to be associated with more family stability for children across much of the globe.” (World Family Map, 2017 — Social Trends Institute)
I want to challenge every man reading this article to consider the importance of marriage. If you are living with your girlfriend — imagine if God had made no covenant with you. Imagine if He could profess love for you, but just walk away if/when He wanted to. Where would it leave you spiritually? That’s where you are leaving your girlfriend. Make a covenant with her — marry her.
If you are already married — remember, marriage is the place where you get to give the world (and your wife) a glimpse of what Jesus is like. You get to show everyone how much Jesus loves the Church by the way you love your wife. This is our high calling and privilege as married men.