There is a heated argument about marriage and who can get married. However, the number of failed marriages is historically high. We need to teach the importance of marriage as a life-altering decision. This emphasis can save them from pain and suffering that lead up to and follow a divorce.
Proverbs 5:7-10: “7 Now then, my sons, listen to me;
do not turn aside from what I say.
8 Keep to a path far from her,
do not go near the door of her house,
9 lest you lose your honor to others
and your dignity to one who is cruel,
10 lest strangers feast on your wealth
and your toil enrich the house of another.“
The Slippery Slope
We all have friends that have gone through a divorce. It is just too common. I don’t know anyone that enjoyed the experience. Yes, escaping a bad marriage can be uplifting, but being in it was not. This Proverb speaks to those that divorce to run to another person, not those escaping a tortured existence.
Notice that the first admonition is to “not go there.” When you avoid the possibility of creating an inappropriate relationship it dramatically reduces the chance of one forming. This is very simple logic. It is something we must keep in mind if we are to protect our marriage. Our long work hours and “work spouse” relationships can open this door. Thus, we need to stay on the alert for actions that may lead us away from our true spouse.
The Cost of Failure
When you look at the outcome of divorce settlements the last half of these verses easily translates. Divorce is often nasty. People will drag out dirty laundry, lie, and manipulate because of hurt and greed. The secrets a married couple share might come out in a divorce court and embarrass all involved. There is also that last verse where the wealth built by the couple ends up being enjoyed by new spouses or attorneys and court fees.
Teaching Children this Wisdom
Why put this weight on a child? Marriage is considered by many to be an adult topic. I do not disagree. When a marriage vow is given it needs to be done by adults with an understanding of the gravity of the situation. The challenge is that kids will not learn the gravity of the occasion without discussion from their parents. Television and movies play down what marriage is with a glamorization of one night stands and pain-free divorces.
The best way to teach children about a good marriage is to display it. Be careful of the situations you enter. Then share with your children the reasons why you avoid the tempting situations. You can skip the details and focus on things like, “That action is only for married couples.” Distinguish between the things that friends do and the things that married couples do. This discussion will require an exploration of friendship and loving actions. However, those are all good topics to explore with your kids. These discussions can be a great foundation for an adult that understands and creates healthy relationships.