Husbands, love your wives, as Christ loved the church and gave Himself up for her. Ephesians 5:25
"Marriage and the family are in a deplorable state. Don't you know just as many Christians get divorced as do people of the world?"
How many times haven't you heard that quote?
If you've heard it once, that's one time too many. The truth is it ain't necessarily so. In an article carried by LifeWay Research, it was found there is considerable difference in divorce rates between unbelievers and practicing Christians.
That means those who walk the walk along with talking the Christian talk have a divorce rate considerably less than the America's average Joe and Jane. In truth, knowing the impact that the presence of the Savior brings to our lives, we should be surprised if it were different.
Now when we talk about practicing Christians, you need to understand we are not talking about the super-duper believers among us. They don't have halos and harps. No, qualifications used to measure a practicing Christian was simple. They were people who attended church faithfully, who read their Bibles regularly, and prayed both individually and with their spouses.
If you want the numbers the study came up with -- and who of us doesn't -- the research said that Catholic couples were 31 percent less likely to pursue and get a divorce, while protestant couples were 35 percent less likely to go their separate ways.
Now those numbers come from a scientific study.
Me, I'm not so scientific. But I did conduct an experiment during my last ten years in the parish. Any couple that came in for marital counseling was asked, "Do you pray together? Understand I'm not talking about table prayers or night-time prayers with your children. I'm asking, do you both take a look at the day's events, the challenges you're facing, the temptations you've encountered and share them with each other and the Lord in prayer?"
Some of the couples looked at me as if I had poleaxed them. The idea had never occurred to them.
The long and short of their responses was this: never, and I'd like to repeat that word -- never -- did I have a couple who prayed together come to my office concerning a bad marriage. Now I can't say it doesn't happen. It probably does. But, in my experience, it never did.
This partly goes to show that people who share their marriage bed and their bank accounts can go one step further and that is to share the burdens of soul and spirit with each other and the Lord.
Apparently, following the example our Redeemer has set in love and sacrifice makes a difference. How could it not? The transformation which Jesus brings about when His forgiveness is applied to sinful human beings is not diluted when it is shared.
So, married couples, why not try a similar experiment for yourself? Go ahead, try praying together.
Now, if you do, I can promise at the beginning it may feel embarrassing, difficult, uncomfortable. Don't let that stop you. It will get better, easier and, before long, you will wonder why you never prayed together before. And if you're not married, find a friend with whom you can "take it to the Lord in prayer."
THE PRAYER: Dear Lord, You listen to the prayers of your people. I give thanks that, because of Jesus' sacrifice, You do so. Now may I make full use of Your invitation to come to you with joy and sorrow, sadness and song, praise and petition. In Jesus' Name. Amen.
In Christ I remain His servant and yours,
Pastor Ken Klaus
Speaker emeritus of The Lutheran Hour®
Lutheran Hour Ministries