According to the UK magazine The Economist, the average American marriage lasts only eight years.
Many marriages of show business personalities are even more brief. Britney Spears and Jason Alexander may have set a record, for their marriage lasted only 55 hours.
Dennis Rodman and Carmen Electra were married for nine days; Jennifer Lopez and Ojani Noa were married for 11 months (she later married again, but that marriage lasted only six months). Kim Kardashian and Kris Humphries were married for 72 days.
Of course there are exceptions, even among the famous.
I seem to recall that Bob Hope and his wife were married for more than half a century. So too were Paul Newman and Joanne Woodward. Tom Hanks and Rita Wilson have been married for 26 years.
One thing we always need to remember is that a wedding does not make a marriage. Just because a couple pledge their lives to each other does not guarantee they will keep that pledge. Yesterday’s promise is one thing; today’s commitment is another. So it is with our faith.
Far too many Christians think they must be right with God because they were baptized as infants, or because they had an encounter with God as a teenager, or because they went to Sunday School as infants.
That is all good, but past commitment is no substitute for present obedience. As for marriage, human understanding of it has changed greatly over the centuries.
Some people say they want a ‘Biblical marriage’. But what does that mean? For the first thousand years of Christianity, the Church was not involved in marriages.
In most parts of the Bible, polygamy was the usual practice. It was only in 1140 that the bride and groom had to give their consent (before then, all they had to do was to be present at the ceremony).
The words “for better for worse; for richer for poorer” date from Archbishop of Canterbury Thomas Cranmer at the time of the Reformation. The state got involved in weddings only with the Marriage Act of 1753.
Our present-day understanding of marriage is certainly not a Bible concept. It would be hard to find a modern-day Christian who would be happy with a truly biblical marriage. In those days, women were regarded as part of the ‘property’ of men.