Till Death Do Us Part

Teenagers today are immersed in a world that glamorizes violence, sexuality, and the hedonistic lifestyle. Homicide and suicide remain amongst the leading causes of death for the 15-24 year old age group. This discouraging trend shows no indication of decline and only scratches the surface of the turmoil young people face today—most of which is hidden from public scrutiny.

In 1999, PBS’ Frontline aired a disturbing documentary entitled The Lost Children of Rockdale County. Apart from the depravity of teen behaviour, what was most shocking was the fact that Rockdale County is an upscale, privileged neighbourhood. Further investigation revealed these teens were craving the positive attention of their parents, who were more focused on the acquisition of material things. Parents did not value their relationships with their children or with each other. Experts observed that Rockdale County is indicative of what is happening right across America. A similar phenomenon is sweeping countries around the world.

Till Death Do Us Part
Another crisis sweeping American families is fatherless homes. Children who grow up without their father in the home are more likely to suffer:

  • lower grades in school
  • higher drop-out rates
  • an increase in violent behaviour
  • higher rates of depression
  • lower self-esteem1

It  is no stretch of our imagination to link the pain our young people are experiencing to the failure of marriage.

Build a Godly Marriage

Parents are the initial socializers of children. When our homes are stable, loving, and nurturing, our children have the highest probability of adopting such codes of conduct into adulthood. Our homes can only achieve these principles if our marriages are stable, loving, and nurturing.

Building a godly marriage is like gardening—it’s hard work! And just like gardening, hard work produces abundance. By nature, women are designed to be the nurturers of the family. Unfortunately, we live in a society that degrades homemakers and elevates career-seeking women. Clearly, many women are forced to work outside the home.

Undeniably, as a society, we need to show greater respect for those women who choose to work in the home. The result of disrespecting homemakers and only admiring career women is the phenomenon witnessed in The Lost Children of Rockdale County. This documentary vividly illustrates what happens to children when the home becomes nothing more than a hotel inhabited by strangers.

“Every wise woman buildeth her house: but the foolish plucketh it down with her hands.” (Proverbs 14:1)

By nature men are designed to be the providers of the family.

“But if any provide not for his own, and specially for those of his own house, he hath denied the faith, and is worse than an infidel.” (1 Timothy 5:8)

Unfortunately, we have built a society that measures value based on material possessions. Consequently, it forces both parents to work. This compromises the value of a mother as nurturer, and the impact of a father, as provider. Building a successful family requires clear roles and teamwork between husband and a wife.

Here are three simple steps we can all consider in order to build stronger marriages and happier, more stable children:

1. Show love.

Every human being desires to be loved. Women, in particular, want to be appreciated for their beauty and grace. If you’re a husband, how well do you show your wife loving affection? Ephesians 5:25 says,
Till Death Do Us Part

“Husbands, love your wives, even as Christ also loved the church, and gave himself for it.”

Love is something that grows over time. Decisions we make today impact our capacity for love tomorrow. No matter how satisfied or unsatisfied we are in our marriages, we can make them happier and more fulfilling starting right now. Husbands look at your wives and reflect on them as gifts from God.

The Proverbs tell us whoever finds a wife finds a good thing and obtains favour from God (Proverbs 18:22). They also tell us to be consumed with the love of our wives (Proverbs 5:19). A great example of the expression of the love of a husband for his wife and spiritual sister is found in Songs of Solomon 4:

“Thou hast ravished my heart, my sister, my spouse; thou hast ravished my heart with one of thine eyes, with one chain of thy neck. How fair is thy love, my sister, my spouse! how much better is thy love than wine! and the smell of thine ointments than all spices!  Thy lips, O my spouse, drop as the honeycomb: honey and milk are under thy tongue; and the smell of thy garments is like the smell of Lebanon. A garden inclosed is my sister, my spouse; a spring shut up, a fountain sealed.” (SongofSolomon 4:9-12)

Notice, Solomon understands that his wife is a garden enclosed, a spring shut up. Women have enormous potential. Love unlocks their potential. If your wife is not happy and infusing your home with love, begin analyzing how well you express love to her. Increase your expression of love and appreciation and watch, like a garden enclosed, how she will bloom; or like a spring shut up, how she will open and flood your home with her love.

2. Show respect

A woman does not realize her full potential until she is in a loving relationship. Similarly, a man does not realize his full potential until he is respected for his achievements. Through love, a man discovers his wife. Through respect, a wife develops her husband. Wives, how much respect are you showing your husband? Ephesians 5:33 says,

“Nevertheless let every one of you in particular so love his wife even as himself; and the wife see that she reverence her husband.”

The English word reverence is translated from the Greek word, phobeo from which we derive our word phobia. Phobeo, however, doesn’t mean fear or panic. It means reverence and awe; in other words, deep respect. In the same sense we hold the Lord in the highest esteem, wives ought to show deep respect to their husbands. This level of respect and admiration brings out the best in men. It is a self-fulfilling prophecy. As wives revere their husbands, their husbands strive to live up to the reverence being shown to them. The example of Sarah, in her role as wife to the great patriarch Abraham, underscores the wise saying, “behind every great man is a great woman.”

“Even as Sara obeyed Abraham, calling him lord: whose daughters ye are, as long as ye do well, and are not afraid with any amazement.” (1 Peter 3:6)

3. Make Your Home a Safe Place

By making our homes happier, we make our children feel safer and more secure. A truly happy home provides a safe environment for children. When children feel safe and secure, they don’t desire to  belong to gangs or  engage in dangerous  behaviour. We can reverse the tragic trend our young people are following.

Rather than point a collective, accusing finger at our children, let’s point that accusing finger at ourselves.  Underscoring our marriages is the question: are they killing our children ?

As the womb is to the fetus, so is the home to the child. A happy and healthy marriage gives our children hope. They see how a happy and fulfilling marriage is, then formulate a vision for themselves of the married life they hope to experience on day.

By observing your marriage, your children should learn to respect others and to respect themselves. They should learn healthy patterns of conflict resolution to take with them as they interact with people beyond their home.

After many years and many experiences, the wise King Solomon, summed up his advice for us in Ecclesiastes 9:9 as follows,

“Live joyfully with the wife whom thou lovest all the days of the life of thy vanity, which he hath given thee under the sun, all the days of thy vanity: for that is thy portion in this life, and in thy labour which thou takest under the sun”.

Husbands and wives, be warm, loving and respectful to each other. Start with the little things: smile often; dress attractively; hug each other in the mornings and throughout the day; touch each other often; get up and greet your spouse at the door when he or she returns home. Do these little things well and the big things will begin to take care of themselves. Not only will you save your marriage, you will save your children. Start now. Your marriage is the foundation upon which our future society depends.


Paul R. Amato, “The Consequences of Divorce for Adults and Children,” Journal of Marriage and the Family, 62(2000):1269-1287.


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