Special Note: This article is included in Jim’s book “An Attitude of Thankfulness” along with 19 other articles and is available for purchase in Paperback and eBook formats at this link: Jim’s Books
In August 2012 my wife and I will have been married for forty-nine years. ALL of the years have been God blessed. We met at a church sponsored summer youth camp in the north Georgia mountains when I was a rising senior in high school. I was immediately struck with her personal beauty, her purity, her character, and perhaps most importantly, her Christian behavior. She was different than the other girls that I had dated. I wanted to ask her out but the timing just wasn’t right. Truthfully, she didn’t care much for me in the beginning. I later learned that some of her girlfriends had told her that I had the reputation of dating a lot of girls then dropping them. In other words, I wouldn’t be a good match for her … period.
Months later I asked her to come to one of my basketball games. To my delight, she came. I was thrilled. Over time I won her over and she was my date at my Senior Prom. By that time I knew that I wanted to partner with her for a lifetime. In my eyes she would be a perfect mate. We dated no one else after we began dating. A little over two years later and after my Sophomore year in college we were married. Ultimately I completed college and graduate school with her strong help.
I know that God put us together. There has never been a doubt in my mind. God blessed us with a wonderful son. We raised him in a Christian home. God led him to marry a wonderful Christian young woman and they too have raised their children in a Christian home. His daughter recently completed college and married a fine Christian young man and we fully expect them to live a successful Christian life led by the Lord. Our grandson just graduated from high school with honors. He is bound for college and is dating a fine Christian young lady. We fully expect him to lead a successful Christian life as well.
God has blessed us in so many ways spiritually and physically. I could not imagine sharing my life with anyone else. God put us together. He knew what was best for us. There are dozens of scripture passages that speak to the sanctity of marriage. Let’s examine my favorites for the purpose of this article.
Scripture: (All English Standard Version – ESV – unless otherwise noted)
(1) Genesis 2:18 – Then the Lord God said, “It is not good that the man should be alone; I will make him a helper fit for him.”
(2) Genesis 2:24 – Therefore a man shall leave his father and his mother and hold fast to his wife, and they shall become one flesh.
(3) Matthew 19:4-6 – He answered, “Have you not read that he who created them from the beginning made them male and female, and said, ‘Therefore a man shall leave his father and his mother and hold fast to his wife, and the two shall become one flesh’? So they are no longer two but one flesh. What therefore God has joined together, let not man separate.”
1 Corinthians 7:39 – A wife is bound to her husband as long as he lives. But if her husband dies, she is free to be married to whom she wishes, only in the Lord.
(4) Proverbs 18:22 – He who finds a wife finds a good thing and obtains favor from the Lord.
(5) Hebrews 13:4 – Let marriage be held in honor among all, and let the marriage bed be undefiled, for God will judge the sexually immoral and adulterous.
(6) Exodus 20:14 – You shall not commit adultery.
(7) Luke 16:18 – Everyone who divorces his wife and marries another commits adultery, and he who marries a woman divorced from her husband commits adultery.
(8) 1 Corinthians 7:1-5 – Now concerning the matters about which you wrote: “It is good for a man not to have sexual relations with a woman.” But because of the temptation to sexual immorality, each man should have his own wife and each woman her own husband. The husband should give to his wife her conjugal rights, and likewise the wife to her husband. For the wife does not have authority over her own body, but the husband does. Likewise the husband does not have authority over his own body, but the wife does. Do not deprive one another, except perhaps by agreement for a limited time, that you may devote yourselves to prayer; but then come together again, so that Satan may not tempt you because of your lack of self-control.
(9) Mark 10:2-7 – And Pharisees came up and in order to test him asked, “Is it lawful for a man to divorce his wife?” He answered them, “What did Moses command you?” They said, “Moses allowed a man to write a certificate of divorce and to send her away.” And Jesus said to them, “Because of your hardness of heart he wrote you this commandment. But from the beginning of creation, ‘God made them male and female. Therefore a man shall leave his father and mother and hold fast to his wife, and the two shall become one flesh.’ So they are no longer two but one flesh. What therefore God has joined together, let not man separate.”
(10) Matthew 5:31-32 – “It has been said, ‘Anyone who divorces his wife must give her a certificate of divorce. But I tell you that anyone who divorces his wife, except for sexual immorality, causes her to become an adulteress, and anyone who marries the divorced woman commits adultery.”
Webster defines “sanctity” as follows: 1 – holiness of life and character; godliness. 2 – the quality or state of being holy or sacred; inviolability (refers to being secure from violation or profanation.) Thus the phrase “sanctity of marriage” refers to marriage as being sacred, holy, secure from violation, and of God.
I don’t believe that my selected verses need that much discussion for the purpose of this article. These words are not only time-honored and such sensible advice, they are direct communications from God Almighty himself recorded in His Holy Word. Those that believe in Jehovah God and do their best to follow His commands understand that ALL of the Bible is true, inerrant (without error), and is THE GUIDE for our how we as His children are to conduct our lives and our marriage.
So here’s a brief synopsis of the selected verses. Marriage was ordained by God (1, 2) to be between a man and a woman. Marriage is designed by God to be permanent (3). Those who are married find God’s favor (4). Marriage is to be honorable and God judges sexual immorality and adultery in a marriage (5, 6, 7). The husband and wife are to yield authority over their bodies to each other (8). God does not expect or want a married couple to divorce (9), but allows it when adultery is present (10).
Unfortunately the wonderful and blessed marriage my wife and I have experienced is not that experienced by today’s average American male/female couple. The majority (52% according to recent government statistics) of today’s male/female “couples” are not married. They just “live” together as though they were married, at least for a season, and sometimes then get married. Often times when things aren’t going well enough to suit one of the partners, they just leave … only to start another relationship where the partners live together. Many argue this is a way to avoid divorce and that it gives the couple time to learn about each other BEFORE they make a permanent marriage commitment. Life is full of excuses for why people don’t follow God’s commands.
Sadly, co-habitation has been “sold” to the American public as an acceptable alternative to traditional marriage. It has been plastered on our TV screens and the subject of countless Hollywood productions. Even many Christians have been deceived by all of the hype and they too participate in this lifestyle. This is a very dangerous practice and goes directly against what God has taught us through His Word, the Bible. The Bible is clear: co-habitation without marriage is sin and sin has earthly consequences. (See my recent article: Sin’s Earthly Consequences)
A Gallup poll conducted just prior to Christmas in 2009 found that 78% of Americans identified themselves as “Christian.” I find it strange that 52% of male/female couples in the United States are living together, unmarried. Coincidentally, 52% of Americans now favor “same-sex marriage.” Such marriages are in direct violation of God’s Word, no matter how much you try to argue otherwise. By the way, having to refer to a “couple” as “male/female” in and of itself bothers me.
So, man has once again overstepped his authority and placed himself above God. The Jews did this many times and always suffered the consequences. I am reminded of when Moses was on Mount Sinai receiving The Ten Commandments and the people took things into their own hands. When Moses descended from the mountain he found the people had fashioned a golden calf so they could worship this god like others were doing in Egypt and other countries. Such disobedience caused their emerging nation tremendous pain and agony as they wandered in the desert for forty years before finally entering the promised land.
Later in the history of God’s people, one king after another in Israel and Judah did not do what was right in the sight of the Lord. Instead they adopted the ungodly and immoral practices of their neighboring countries and worshiped other gods such as Baal, Ashtoreth and Molech. They even participated in perverted sexual orgies as part of their pagan worship. Does this sound familiar? It does to me. Israel and Judah ultimately paid a staggering price for their sin. They suffered the slaughter of hundreds of thousands of their mighty men (soldiers) and citizens resulting in the complete collapse of their nation. They lost their homeland. They lost their way of life. They lost touch with Almighty God. And as a result, they spent generation after generation in captivity in a foreign and cruel land.
Let me take a short side-trip here to provide some insight into a related topic and America’s current political and spiritual situation. Acceptance of the gay lifestyle by Americans is now in the majority. Perhaps this is the REAL reason that President Obama recently came out with his full-fledged support for same-sex marriage. President Obama has actually voiced three differing stances on this issue over the past four years and will likely change again after the election. Each change of heart the President has voiced has coincided with that which was politically expedient at the time. His positions are in direct opposition to what the Bible teaches. I can only presume that the President has placed his beliefs above those of Almighty God. Why? So he can garner enough votes to get re-elected. That’s why! One has to conclude that the President’s recent choice to support same-sex marriage is strictly for political reasons. Why else would he go against the Christian “majority,” the 78%, at this point in time? His advisers have assured him that he will receive more votes by taking this position. I’m rather sure his advisers are right unless Christians, including the 78% who claim to be Christians, stand up for what God expects of them.
Take a look at excerpts from an article that recently appeared in the New York Times … yes, the liberal New York Times. Click on this link: Gay Marriage Rally It is no secret that I am an ultra-conservative by national news media standards. I am a Bible believing Baptist that lives in a southern state. What our President is advocating, same-sex marriage, is an abomination according to the scripture (Leviticus 18:22 – “Thou shalt not lie with mankind, as with womankind: it is an abomination.”) No one, especially a Christian … and including President Obama … can alter God’s viewpoint nor choose to ignore it. There is just no other Godly way homosexuality and same-sex marriage can be viewed. It is a sin and not to be practiced. Our leadership, our nation and future generations will suffer immeasurably and pay the consequences for our nations potential agreement with such an unGodly position. America is in a downward, satanic moral spiral. We are sick and need healing.
Interestingly, since the announcement of support by the President, the NAACP has also come out in support of same-sex marriage. I’m not at all surprised by that move. However, I am agonizingly surprised that many minority pastors are also falling in line and supporting the NAACP and President Obama’s position as a civil rights issue. Come on! I don’t see how any pastor of a Christian church can realistically ignore the Bible’s teachings about marriage. How can so many pastors rationalize this position and compromise their pulpit by supporting a practice that is absolutely condemned by the Bible. I will have to leave the ultimate decision to you. But for me, it is all about supporting President Obama… their preferred political candidate. No matter what is right in the sight of God and no matter what the Bible says. How sad! I suppose I could be branded as a racist because I have “negatively” mentioned the NAACP. So be it! I know my heart.
I expect to receive some negative feedback on this article. I usually do when I write on controversial subjects with the Bible as my guide. That’s okay with me. You see, I am on the Lord’s side. I believe in the Lord’s Word. Love, morality, truth, sin and justice are all defined by God … not man. Marriage is holy. Marriage is of God. Marriage is between a man and a woman, not a man and a man, and not a woman and a woman. I believe wholly in the Sanctity of Marriage! For more reading on a similar topic see the following: On the Sanctity of Life and Abortion
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I enjoyed every word you wrote & agree!!!!! I’m so thankful for life long Christians like you & Charlotte. Lee & I have had a very blessed marriage too!!!!! We will be married 50 yrs. in Sept. We have 3 wonderful daughters and 8 precious grandchildren. So glad to hear from you & hope you are feeling well.
Sandra & Lee … so nice to hear from you. I appreciate your encouragement. Sadly, marriages like ours are the oddity today. It is somewhat a byproduct of today’s generation. They want everything to happen within a 30 minute sitcom situation. And they don’t want to stick things out. They would just rather selfishly walk away from their problems instead of seeking the counsel of the Lord to help them solve them. Marriage falls into that category as well. Our President’s position on same-sex marriage shows just how sick our nation is at this time. God will not continue to ignore our apostasy.
Congratulations on your upcoming 50th anniversary. We haven’t seen you in a long, long time but we are still “close” friends. God bless you, your children and your grandchildren. We had our grandson and his girlfriend for dinner tonight. Both of them are bound for UGA later this summer. Our granddaughter recently graduated from college in three years with a hefty GPA and is married to a fine young man. We are so proud of all of our children/grandchildren. Hope you continue to follow my ramblings. There is a lot more to come in the days ahead. Jim D.
… a comment and response received via email …
On Mon, May 28, 2012 at 1:12 PM, Jim Davenport wrote:
Les, those of us who have been blessed by the Lord with a happy marriage have so much to be thankful for. With my recent health problems the vows that we exchanged in our marriage ceremony 49 years ago ring so true today … ” for better or worse ” … I am so thankful for my wife Charlotte. She has stood by me through thick and thin and has always been there for me. I love her with all my heart and praise God for putting her in my life. I’m still unable to play golf but fully expect to return to the course over time as I rebuild my stamina. In the meantime, I will continue writing and staying close to home. May God bless you and your wife. Jim D.
On Mon, May 28, 2012 at 1:01 PM, Les wrote:
Jim, Thanks for the words of inspiration. They act as a good reminder to all. August 30, 2012 marks our 49th year of marriage and God has blessed me with over 55 years of companionship with this wonderful woman. We started going together when she was 14 years old. I was in the Boy Scouts at Mullins Methodist Church in Memphis, Tennessee when a fellow scout introduced me to this fantastic girl he had met there at church – I think she had just turned 13. I gave her a Cocker puppy for her 14th birthday and the rest is history. Christmas,2011, the Lord took her for a little visit, but, thankfully, he let her come back to me. I think he did that just to make me appreciate how fleeting and how delicate this life can be, and, when it really matters, he listens to our prayers. I hope to see out on the golf course before long. Les
… a comment on this post from MJ
Jim, wanted to share this from today’s sermon: our pastor taught in our denomination’s seminary and related this from this former student who is an Anglican (as in world-wide, bible-believing): his bishop is in Uganda, and was having some world celebration of becoming bishop. The Episcopalian church who have fallen so very far from following God’s word, decided to send a delegation, and not so incidentally, take a large sum of money to the Ugandans. The bishop heard they were coming and wrote: The church of Jesus Christ is not for sale; you dishonor us and Him by attempting to come in the guise of fellowship, when you have made an apostasy of the Word by approving same-sex marriage,and ordaining a homosexual bishop of the American church. Should you repent, and desire to come in the spirit of repentance.
A couple of comments received through Facebook on “The Sanctity of Marriage” …
Jane Wilson Hix
Buddy and I agree 100 percent on your marriage and abortion articles. The Bible never fails us.
Cindy Mobley Sheppard
Cindy Mobley Sheppard
People wonder how our marriage can be so blessed… it’s because we have a bibilical view of life, marriage, family. We need to put on our biblical glasses to read God’s word as its meant to be read. I have enjoyed your articles. Sad statistics. But as for me and my house… we will serve the Lord.
On Sat, May 26, 2012 at 1:14 PM, Jim Davenport wrote:
Martha Joan, so good to hear from you. Gerald’s mother is a sweet, dear Christian lady. While we know where she will spend her eternity, it is still hard for the family to see her go through this. Charlotte and I will pray for her and the family.
I’m glad to read about the practice of your church regarding marriage and the counseling that takes place. Way too many marriages start off wrong, are conducted wrong and end up wrong. 52% of the children in Georgia are not living in two parent families. If we continue to pervert marriage what can we expect for the future. Some say times have changed and that we are way too old fashioned. The Word has not changed. We have changed. Like the prophets of Old Testament times, I feel the need to urge Christians back to God. Unfortunately it is often hard to tell the difference between the Christian and the non-Christian. We have brought the world into the church and we are praying the price. I am committed to spreading the Word as much as possible in the final I have here on earth.
On Sat, May 26, 2012 at 8:53 AM, wrote:
Dear Jim, SO glad you’re feeling better and back writing–such a sweet testimony of a loving, faithful marriage. I remember being at one of the camps, with your church–I think you were dating Charlotte then? It grieves our hearts to hear and read and see the decline of our nation’s morality–especially marriage. Our church takes marriage seriously, and counsels couples strongly that are straying–some are redeemed, some sadly not–but the strong effort is made to address situations that come to the pastors and elders’ attentions. On another note, pray for Gerald’s mother; she is in Collinsville Nursing Home as of this week. Gerald will go over there next weekend–I will continue to pray for you recovery–and to the golf course! Much love to both of you, MJ
On Fri, May 25, 2012 at 8:51 PM, Jim Davenport wrote:
Nice story and memories Bob. God could not have provided me a better wife.
On May 25, 2012, at 7:16 PM, ROBERT WILLIAMS wrote:
Congratulation, My wife and I just celebrated our forty-seventh this past Tuesday. I took her out three times and ask her to marry me. Had to wait a year because I was sent to Korea. She knew me before since she dated my younger brother for a couple of years in high school but I never really knew her because I was in college and very seldom came home.
From: Jim Davenport
Date: Fri, May 25, 2012 at 8:53 PM
To: rosalyn hogan
Thank you for the kind words Ros. I am a lucky man. God put us together and nothing will ever separate us. We will be together in heaven for an eternity. Hope you and Wylie are doing well.
On May 25, 2012, at 6:37 PM, rosalyn hogan wrote:
> This is absolutely beautiful, Jim. I enjoyed it so much.You and Charlotte are so fortunate to have found each other and have had nearly 49 years together. Great picture!
We haven’t talked in some time Jim.. I pick up on some of your articles from time to time… I am like you and am sickened by the apparent moral decay in this country. From the use of drugs to pre-marital relations ie; the “shack jobs” to the laziness of our country’s people who are complacent and willing to live off the “dole” and sweat of others. To sum it up, its like what my dad pounded into me for years and years. “The Holy Bible: God wrote it, I believe it and That’s it!” Keep em coming ole boy.. P.S. I believe a certain sitting presidential candidate is going to get a real surprise in November..
Your ole pal,
Terry Harp Sr.
Very good post Jimmy. It is always good to have some plain sho’nuf word that will plow up next to the corn, as Dean Doster used to say. Hope some out there get the strong message backed up powerfully with God’s word. Didn’t no bush get in between you and the keyboard on this one.
Thanks Gene. This one has been swirling around in my head for the past few months. Two things finally brought it to conclusion: 1 – The current medicine regimen seems to be working and I am feeling better. 2 – I am deeply concerned that we are losing our way of life with our current executive leadership. Openly saying that you are a Christian and then supporting the demise of the sanctity of marriage is reason enough on its own to vote the existing administration out of office. God will not continue to overlook such hypocricy!! Hope to see you and Barbara soon.
God Bless you Jim.
I admire your honesty.
John, your thoughts are always so encouraging to me. I have been feeling better the last couple of weeks and my writing is back. I am thankful for that since my physical activity has been quite limited. Hope to see you soon. Charlotte told me she saw you and your son at church recently. Hopefully I will be back in a few weeks.