Studies confirm religion increases longevity, and marriage does too

Studies confirm religion increases longevity, and marriage does too

Istilldo graphic

a married man with heart disease can be expected to live, on average, 1,400 days (nearly four years) longer than an unmarried man with a healthy heart

Some may dismiss this as ‘special pleading’ given that the article does after all feature in a ‘religious’ newspaper (the Catholic Sun). Others however may read it and consider that there is more to God and God’s ways than they had previously thought.

Either way, make sure to share it with friends.

via Studies confirm religion increases longevity, and marriage does too | The Catholic Sun.

Check out also the NZCN|Notes on marriage at http://nzchristiannet.wpengine.com/nzcn-notes/

… and the Marriage Week (7-14 February) website www.marriageweek.org.nz

There’s more to marriage!

There’s more to marriage!

Is Marriage for you?

We’re confused about marriage. We want ceremonies with vows “till death parts us”, yet every year half as many divorce as marry.

How do you picture “marriage”?

Weddings, like Hollywood productions, present the dream of perfect couples, it’s all about love and fulfilment. But that Hollywood self-fulfilment picture of marriage isn’t true.

Another picture of marriage

There’s another picture that surfaced last year in a blog post that went viral. Seth Adam Smith was unknown to most people until he wrote “Marriage isn’t for you”. He repeated advice his dad gave him, when he was having cold feet about marriage. The post was so popular the server crashed, and he featured on US TV news.

As the wedding approached Seth asked himself: “Was I making the right choice? Was Kim the right person to marry? Would she make me happy?” His dad’s response was sharp:

Core Bible teaching on marriage

The foundation for marriage is summed up at the very beginning of the Bible, in Genesis 2.

“For this reason” refers back to the story in Genesis 2; of how God made a human being, planted a wonderful garden and put the human there to cultivate and care for it.

God also recognised that it is not good for man to be alone so He made a suitable helper for him. Let’s examine what that means:

  • a helper is not subordinate. In the Old Testament, almost always the strong “help” the weak. This speaks of our human need for each other.
  • suitable implies both “like” and “appropriate”

Animals didn’t fit the need… So God made a woman who really was: “bone of his bones and flesh of his flesh” – a helper who matches.

Marriage is a spiritual discipline

In Paul’s letter to the Ephesians, chapter 5 deals extensively with marriage and specifically quotes Genesis chapter 2. He goes on to say:

This is a profound mystery – I am talking about Christ and the church.

Marriage echoes God’s love for us in Christ. In marriage we should love as God loves us. Marriage is a “spiritual discipline”.

Seth’s dad expressed deep truths about God’s intentions for marriage.

Marriage isn’t for you. It’s not about you. Marriage is about the person you married.

That’s the Creator’s plan. Genesis 2 tells us that woman and man were “made for each other”, but Genesis 1, telling of the creation of humans, talks about the image of God.

So God created humanity in his own image, in the image of God he created him; male and female he created them.

Love and partnership between man and woman echoes the love within the Godhead. We are to love our wives or husbands as God loved us, but we are also to love and share as God does!

Talk of loving like God seems idealistic. Since Genesis 3, the world is broken by human sinfulness.

Living in a broken world: Marriages in the Bible

Think of Abraham and Sarah, they seem a perfect couple, but Sarah has Abraham sleep with a slave-girl (Gen 16:1-3), and then gets jealous (Gen 16:5). The only perfect marriages in Scripture are the ones we don’t see close enough to see the cracks.

Just as all humans are broken (sinful) and need to repent, all marriages need repentance and God’s grace – as does every other sphere of life.

Marriage can only work with forgiveness and grace – between spouses.

  • If you are thinking of marriage:
    Are you asking “Is marriage for you”, or are you ready to live for your future spouse and children?
  • If you are married:
    Are you behaving as if the marriage was “for you”? How can you change that?
  • If you prepare people for marriage:
    How do you help people understand what marriage really is, and to aim for the real thing?

Tim Bulkeley has been pastor (in England), missionary (in Congo) and taught Old Testament (for twenty years at Carey Baptist College) he and Barbara live between Tauranga and Rotorua and attend South City Baptist Church. They have four adult children and one granddaughter. Tim podcasts and has several websites including his latest project Reading the Bible Faithfully.

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Marriage – Why it matters, where it’s heading and what we need to do

Marriage – Why it matters, where it’s heading and what we need to do

By Glyn Carpenter, New Zealand Christian Network

A Christian understanding

“Because marriage is a gift of the Creator, uniting a man and a woman, and affirmed by Jesus himself, intended for the birth and nurture of children and for building up human families in mutual support and care, it is a lifelong commitment.

Such marriages generate growth in oneness of heart, body, and mind, and provide stability to family life, so that children are cared for lovingly and grow to full maturity. In this way marriage is foundational to a good society.”

 NZCN Healthy Marriage discussion group, 2013 

Marriage – Why it matters

Healthy marriages are a foundation for strong families and strong communities.

Evidence strongly suggests that outcomes for children, on a range of social and emotional indicators, are better when parents are married. And outcomes for adults who are married are generally better than in other co-habiting arrangements.

Many parents achieve exceptional outcomes despite divorce, bereavement, or children born outside of marriage.

But this does not alter the statistics that show better outcomes for marriage.

Love and MarriageMarriage involves a publicly declared commitment which is a stronger basis for the security which enables children to grow and flourish than uncommitted relationships.

Marriage creates a unit that performs better financially and economically. This not only benefits those in the family but also increases the likelihood of a beneficial impact for society.

Marriage statistics suggest a correlation with lower rates of violence and domestic violence. These are problems that plague our society.

JourneyMarriage – where is it heading?

The rate of marriage has declined over recent decades in favour of casual and de facto relationships. This has gone hand-in-hand with a rise in the rate of divorce.

Some people focus on recent challenges to the legal definition of marriage as a factor in the erosion of marriage. But this is more a symptom than a cause of the problem.

Andrew J. Cherlin, Professor of Sociology at Johns Hopkins University, says that two shifts occurred around the start of the 20th century – over 100 years ago – that have had a serious impact on marriage. (Andrew Cherlin, The-Marriage-Go –Round, Vintage Books, 2010)

  1. Radical individualism – making self-interest the top priority
  2. ‘Companionate marriage’ – the notion that marriage is just about adult companionship, exacerbated today by the idea that romantic love is sufficient basis to get married.

Marriage and divorce ratesIf the present common attitude to marriage is not changed for a better one that appreciates the importance of marriage, the best we can expect is that the situation will drift along – maybe a bit better at some times, maybe a bit worse at others.

At worst, we may see a continual slide over time away from marriage, from commitment, and from God.

What do we need to do?

  1. Commit to doing what you can to change things.
  2. Recognise that marriage between a man and a woman is part of God’s created order. As such it is relevant for everyone – not just Christians or ‘religious’ people.
  3. Learn about God’s purpose, plan, and provision for marriage.
  4. Istilldo graphicFor those who are married, commit to building your marriage based on God’s plan, as a model and encouragement to others, and a witness to God.
  5. Be available to help others, especially younger marrieds.
  6. Talk about marriage – especially to those who don’t know God or who haven’t had good role models.
  7. Celebrate marriage – in your churches, and even better – outside your churches, in the community.
  8. Work together – connect to New Zealand Christian Network via the web.  If you are able, consider supporting the Network and the work we do promoting Marriage Week.
  9. Mark Marriage Week 7-14 February each year in your calendar.
  10. Check out Towards a Strategy for Building a Healthy Marriage Culture on www.marriageweek.org.nz – This is a short paper developed by the Healthy Marriage Discussion group organised by New Zealand Christian Network. Please offer any comments or suggestions you have.
  11. If you agree with the Christian Marriage Commitment that forms part of that statement, please go to the website and register your support. Tell your church and friends about it!

Marriage involves a publicly declared commitment which is a stronger basis for the security which enables children to grow and flourish than uncommitted relationships.

Marriage creates a unit that performs better financially and economically. This not only benefits those in the family but also increases the likelihood of a beneficial impact for society.

Marriage statistics suggest a correlation with lower rates of violence and domestic violence. These are problems that plague our society.

building healthy marriage

Download and print a version of this NZCN|Note to share…

NZ Marriage Week site launched

NZ Marriage Week site launched

MarriageWeekThumbnailMEDIA RELEASE NZ Christian Network is pleased to announce the launch of the NZ Marriage Week website.

In announcing the launch, NZCN National Director Glyn Carpenter said “It’s good that New Zealand can now join with other countries around the world where groups are working to strengthen marriages and the culture of marriage.

“Marriage Week is a joint initiative of Marriage Week International and the World Evangelical Alliance, of which NZ Christian Network is the New Zealand member.

“The purpose of this website is to feature articles and resources about strengthening marriage, and events related to Marriage Week which occurs each year from 7-14 February.

“It is not a website for debating contentious issues relating to marriage. The website is based on the concept of marriage as being between one man and one woman for life.

“Many people these days are simply not aware that when it comes to intimate relationships, marriage offers by far the best chances of a good and successful outcome.

“This website is intended to help get that message out”.

People with relevant information to share are invited to comment on this site or send in articles to be posted.

If you would like to register as a contributor to the site please make contact with the NZ Christian Network office.

Freedom of belief needs to be respected

Freedom of belief needs to be respected

MEDIA RELEASE: With the amended marriage law coming into effect today, New Zealand Christian Network is asking MPs and others who advocated for the law change to respect the freedom of belief and conscience of those who hold different beliefs on this matter.

National Director Glyn Carpenter said, it would be a pity if those assurances are ignored and people are forced to participate against their consciences with ceremonies they do not agree with or face consequences.

“This affects far more people than just marriage celebrants. I have heard this week from people involved in service industries who are worried they may have to close their businesses if they do not provide services for marriage ceremonies they don’t agree with.

“Freedom of belief and conscience need to be taken very seriously, not just for ordained ministers, but for all people” said Carpenter.

 

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