Healthy marriage, as a God-given first institution between a man and a woman, is built on the sacred principle and relationship (Gen 2:24). Healthy marriage matters because by means of marriage, ‘God intended that well-ordered families would transmit truth and holiness from one generation to another.’ Celebrating 2024 Marriage Week is about the vibrancy of marriage as the basis for a healthy home, nation, and family life. More than 140 years ago, Abraham Lincoln prophetically conveyed the timeless truth that ‘the strength of a nation lies in the homes of its people.’ A healthy marriage is essential to the vision and renewal of the Church and nations. 

Marriage, as instituted by God before the entrance of sin into the world, is the foundation of healthy marriage, home, and the family as the smallest complete unit of society (Gen 2:18, 20-24). According to Theodore Epp, ‘as the family goes, so goes to the church, the state, the nation, even the world.’ The Word of God shapes healthy marriage. 

Healthy marriage matters as a God-Given first institution because ‘today, the marriage institution is being mercilessly, brutally and vigorously attached at every angle by sources unprecedented.’ According to His Eminence Sunday Mbang, ‘if a stitch in time is not quickly used to save nine, we must begin to sing the Nunc Dimittis, the beginning of the end, and the terminus ad quem of marriage and also son and daughters, the golden benefits of this God-given institution.’ His Eminence Mbang explained that the early community’s law and tradition dealt effectively with the marriage institution to protect it and prevent it from abuse, molestation, and castigation.’ Today, the story is different, just as Christianity continue to suffer most from its practitioners, teachers, and leaders. 

Marriage, as a sacred and healthy institution for the health of society, summons the Church to wake up in obedience to God and His Words. Sacred and healthy marriage not only creates stability and security for couples but is also the strength of the Church and the nations. The book Raising Godly Children in an Ungodly World: Living a Lasting Legacy by Ken Ham and Steve Ham provides a helpful reflection on healthy marriage with a visible narrative of the marriage of Susanna Wesley, the mother of Methodism.

Susanna’s marriage to her husband, Samuel Wesley, was not without some challenges. As a virtuous woman who built her marriage and home on God and His Word, despite her turbulent marital and parenting experience, she raised children with a strong foundation of biblical faith. Also, she created an incredible faith, marriage, and parenting legacy for the world. Susanna Annesley, born the twenty-fifth of twenty-five children to her parents in 1669, understood the dynamics of a sacred marriage. At age 19, she met Samuel Wesley, an Anglican minister, and they got married in 1688. Susanna and Wesley had 19 children ‘but nine — including two sets of twins — died in infancy. [1]

As it was in the time of Susanna Wesley, marriage, and parenting today ‘also face a disturbing trend of young people leaving home and leaving the Church,’ coupled with biblical illiteracy. Through hardship, loss, and suffering, Susanna exercised virtues of commitment, support to her husband, organisation, and prayer based on her strong faith. To Susanna, ‘the child that never learns to obey his parents in the home will not obey God or man out of the home.’ To Susanna, parenting and marriage are a sacred trust from God. Children thrive on love, just as the home to Susanna is the primary training and spiritual environment. To Susanna, home is where parents model being a Christian and, in turn, present to their children the knowledge and practical opportunities to develop that in their own lives. She passed away in 1742, but she lives on as a model of virtuous woman for healthy marriage as instituted and intended by God.

The coming revival is home-based. It argued that the 21st-century Church no longer represents Christ in the world because the Church has assumed a different personality and doctrine. ‘The home is no longer the worship and training centres it once was. The 21st-century home has become, for the most part, a place to sleep, watch TV and work or play on the computer. Eating is done outside the home on the way to activities that divide the family rather than bring them together. Therefore, families live together under the same roof but do not know one another. Healthy marriage matters because the disintegration of the family has brought about the destruction of the home as God intended it.

Healthy marriage matters as God instituted and intended it. A healthy marriage is about home as a worship centre or training centre that exemplifies God’s standard as disciples. Healthy marriage matters as instituted by God to counter the evolving models that conform more to the ways of the world than to the commands of Christ. Healthy marriage matters as intended by God to overcome the Church’s failure to maintain God’s example of family and home in its members, which has produced a weak, declining, powerless 21st-century Church. 

REVIVAL BEGINS AT HOME. Be a part of the revival. Let us prayerfully sing together the hymn by B. B McKinney, God, give us a Christian home!

1. God, give us Christian homes!
Homes where the Bible is loved and taught,
Homes where the Master’s will is sought,
Homes crowned with beauty Your love has wrought;
God, give us Christian homes;
God, give us Christian homes!

2. God, give us Christian homes!
Homes where the father is true and strong,
Homes that are free from the blight of wrong,
Homes that are joyous with love and song;
God, give us Christian homes;
God, give us Christian homes!

3. God, give us Christian homes!
Homes where the mother, in caring quest,
Strives to show others Your way is best,
Homes where the Lord is an honored guest;
God, give us Christian homes;
God, give us Christian homes!

4. God, give us Christian homes!
Homes where the children are led to know
Christ in His beauty who loves them so,
Homes where the altar fires burn and glow;
God, give us Christian homes;
God, give us Christian homes!