January 2015

The Attack on Marriage

The Wall Street Journal had an interesting article on November 2, 2014 about changes in the institution of marriage. Below are a few excerpts from the article, “What Married Couples Won’t Tell You.”

1.  Marriage is going out of fashion: The percentage of American adults who've never been mar¬ried has reached a record high, according to the Pew Research Center. Americans are staying in school longer, focus¬ing on careers after they grad¬uate, and getting married later in life. The median age for get¬ting married is now 27 for women & 29 for men, up from 20 for women & 23 for men in 1960. One group for whom marriage is on the rise: same-sex couples. 

2.  We planned for divorce before our wedding: In a survey by the American Academy of Matrimonial Law¬yers, some 63% of attorneys said they've seen an increase in the number of clients seeking prenuptial agreements. 

3.  Our wedding may break the bank for us: The average cost of a wedding in the U.S. rose to $29,858 in 2014, according to a survey of nearly 20,000 brides by wed¬ding website With couples marrying later, they're more likely to be spend¬ing their own money.

4.  Our guest will pay more: Destination weddings and more lavish ceremonies have become more common, and the guests are forking out accordingly. This year, guests are projected to spend an average of $592 per couple per wedding, according to American Express, while dropping another $109 per wedding on gifts. Some 43% of Americans say they've declined to attend a wedding for financial reasons.

5.  The bigger the wedding the shorter the marriage: The more spent on a wed¬ding, the shorter the marriage, according to a recently released study by economics pro¬fessors at Emory University. Surveying 3,000 couples, the report concluded that those who spent $20,000 or more on their wedding were 46% more likely than average to get divorced; those who spent be¬tween $1,000 and $5,000, in contrast, were 18% less likely than average to split.

6.  We’ve got infidelity on the brain: In a 2012 survey by NORC, a research organization affiliated with the University of Chicago, some 12.3% of married women and 19% of married men admitted to extramarital affairs (de¬fined as sex outside of marriage). Many Americans appear to be "monogamish"- they would cheat if they knew they could get away with it. 

7.  Social media is breaking us apart: Some 86% of respondents in USA Network survey said social networking makes it eas¬ier to cheat, and almost one third admitted to having had an emotional or romantic relationship exclusively online. 

8.  But money could keep us together: The higher you income, the more likely you are to stay together, according to the Emory study. Couples in households making more than $125000 a year are 51% less likely to-split than those earn¬ing less than $25,000 annually, and prospects for marital suc¬cess worsen as income falls. 

9.  You’re never too old to get divorced: Studies have noted a sharp increase in divorces among boomers. Adults aged over 50 accounted for more that 25% of divorces in 2010, up from less than 10% in 1990 according to a study by Bowling Green Great State University.

10.  Splitting up was her idea: Two-thirds of divorces are initiated by women, according to the National Marriage Proj¬ect. Among the reasons: state divorce laws tend to favor women with re¬gard to child custody. A less generous explanation: Divorced women are more likely to have had unfaithful husbands, says Jeff Landers, a New City-based attorney. 

The institution of marriage has been bombarded by a changing immoral society. The norm is to have sex before marriage and to live together before marriage so that the couple can find out if they are compatible. However, the Bible has always had a high view of marriage: it was instituted by God in the Garden of Eden and was given a crown of glory by the Apostle Paul who likens it unto the holy union which exists between Christ and His Church. So no matter what our society says, as believers in Jesus Christ let us hold firm to the institution of marriage and the blessing it provides to all the faithful followers of God’s Word. 

                                                                                                                            -Pastor Mike Kotrla

February 2012

Romantic Love 

Being in love is a wonderful thing. Yet, why is romance usually dead after marriage?  For many, why do the days of marriage seem so dull, even boring?  These are real and difficult questions. Truly, marriage is based on a commitment, but as you read the book of Song of Solomon you see that God intended the love relationships to be filled with romantic love. Solomon gives six insights to romantic love in 2:8-17.  

Be enthralled by your lover’s name (8,9)
"Listen! My beloved! Behold, he is coming, Climbing on the mountains, Leaping on the hills! (9) "My beloved is like a gazelle or a young stag.” She calls Solomon “my beloved” 27 times in this book.  It is a Hebrew term that denotes a lover.  Notice her pet names: gazelle and young stag. In ancient times the gazelle was a symbol of sexual virility, and was a most complimentary term. 

Be enthusiastic about your lover’s coming (8,9)
"Listen! My beloved! Behold, he is coming, Climbing on the mountains, Leaping on the hills! (9) "My beloved is like a gazelle or a young stag. Behold, he is standing behind our wall, He is looking through the windows, He is peering through the lattice.” She is enthusiastic about his coming. “Leaping and skipping” implies joy and happiness.  As he is looking for her, he can hardly wait to cast his eyes upon this lovely creature. And of course, this causes her to be thrilled with anticipation. This passage shows that when you find that right person, you will be excited and enthusiastic about his arrival!  This is a clue for romantic love, if you are not excited about the person coming to you, or not sad when he or she is gone, then there is probably something wrong with the relationship.  

Be enticed by your lover’s companionship (10-14)
"My beloved responded and said to me, 'Arise, my darling, my beautiful one, And come along. (11) 'For behold, the winter is past, The rain is over and gone. (12) 'The flowers have already appeared in the land; The time has arrived for pruning the vines, And the voice of the turtledove has been heard in our land. (13) 'The fig tree has ripened its figs, And the vines in blossom have given forth their fragrance. Arise, my darling, my beautiful one, And come along!'" (14) "O my dove, in the clefts of the rock, In the secret place of the steep pathway, Let me see your form, Let me hear your voice; For your voice is sweet, And your form is lovely."  The bottom line of these verses is that she enjoys being with him and finds it very attractive to be next to him. Out of all the people that you enjoy being with, your partner should be number one-your best friend.

Be energized by your lover’s commitment to resolve problems (15)
"Catch the foxes for us, The little foxes that are ruining the vineyards, While our vineyards are in blossom."  This is definitely not a description of a fox hunt date.  It is a commitment to work together based upon a real-life picture. The foxes are the small foxes that would get through the walls surrounding the vineyard.  It is a symbol of the little problems that threaten love, a relationship, and a marriage.  The idea is of ridding a couple’s vineyard of the small foxes that could damage the fruitfulness of their love.  Anyone who is in love, must also be committed to resolving the problems that threaten a relationship. 

Be encouraged by your lover’s loyalty (16)
"My beloved is mine, and I am his; He pastures his flock among the lilies.” This woman is encouraged by the intense and unwavering mutual loyalty.  One of the great things that bind a couple together is the sense of belonging. This belonging or loyalty produces security. 

Be excited about your lover’s time  (17)
"Until the cool of the day when the shadows flee away, Turn, my beloved, and be like a gazelle Or a young stag on the mountains of Bether." She knew that Solomon had many duties and would be away, but she anticipated their time together and could not wait for his return.  Every couple needs time alone to rekindle the romance and heighten their love. 

Romance shouldn’t be dead, especially after marriage! Our love relationship shouldn’t be dull and boring. It is each person’s responsibility to make our spouse feel loved. This month, work at rekindling your romance!                                                                                                                                                                                                                                            -Pastor Mike Kotrla