By Waylon Bailey
Marriage is good. In fact, it’s very good.
This is what I say repeatedly to couples contemplating marriage: “I highly recommend marriage!”
I really do recommend it. My marriage to Martha has blessed my life immensely and immeasurably. It would be easy to say, I can’t imagine living without her, but several years ago I had to deal suddenly with that reality. While I wouldn’t want that to happen to anyone, it made me think more carefully about the blessing of living with someone for a lifetime and getting to care for one another.
Yesterday, I read about Louisiana’s longest married couple (83 years) in a blog post from Louisiana Family Forum. At the same time, I read of a report from Fox News citing the Brookings Institution study of marriage.
Marriage is the greatest anti-poverty tool we have. The report showed that we would reduce poverty 25% if we had the same marriage rate as the 1970’s. In 1970, 79% of adults were married while the rate is 52% today.
You would never think of marriage being a value for a stable and more prosperous life, but it is.
We live in a society that has ridiculed and devalued marriage. That attitude is harming marriage and harming the well-being of children and adults as well as the well-being of our country.
Co-habitation, divorce, and the general immorality of our society is harming us as a people.
In many ways, I can’t do much about what is happening around me, but I can do this one, very important thing–I can give my all to make my marriage stronger and to help my daughters, sons-in-laws, and grandchildren value marriage.
Martha and I have been visiting our daughter’s family. We’ve had a great time with Brad and Emily, and especially with Reagan and Luke.
Yesterday, I played Reagan the song I will play for Martha today. It is Stevie Wonder’s “I Just Called to say I Love You.” Reagan smiled and looked a bit embarrassed. I didn’t plan to embarrass her, but I intended to let her know that I value her grandmother.
I want her to value marriage, and I want her to look for a young man who will value her as well.
We all know how hard life is, but God has given us the indescribable gift of romance, love, and marriage. Let us do our best to strengthen our marriages and to please God in everything we do.
Tomorrow, I will give you three or four ways that you can strengthen your marriage.
Waylon Bailey is pastor of First Baptist Church, Covington, and a past Louisiana Baptist Convention president. This editorial first appeared in his daily blog about pastoral leadership and Christian living. If you would like to receive your own free copy each morning, you can sign up at his website.