Marriage is Sacred . . . at any age!

My grandmother said, “Marriage is for life.” Our society desperately needs to learn this eternal principle. An abiding principle has always been that one man and one woman leave their parents and become one union (Genesis 2:24–25). ­Jesus said this meant, “what… God has joined together, let not man ­separate” (Matthew 19:6). ­Marriage was ­intended to be a lifelong ­commitment. It is a sacred bond.

This past week Adam and I studied with our group at Heritage from 1 Peter 3:1–7. That seems odd to study at an assisted living facility because the text is about marriage. But the reality is that in our culture, it is common for even the elderly to forsake their marriages.  

Several years ago Pat Robertson, political activist and televangelist known for his connection to “The 700 Club,” said that elderly spouses who were married to someone suffering from Alzheimer’s disease were fine to date prior to the death of their spouse and even suggested they divorce them in order to move on with life.

Robertson was asked what to say to a man with a wife suffering ­Alzheimer’s who was already ­dating another woman. Robertson said, “I know it sounds cruel, but if he’s going to do ­something, he should divorce her and start all over again, but to make sure she has custodial care and ­somebody (is) looking after her.” When his co-host asked about the vow “till death do us part” ­Robertson replied, “­Alzheimer’s is a kind of death.” It ­appears that ­Robertson holds the ­position that we are married “for ­better or until worse.”

There was also an article from 2011 entitled “Love late in life.” The article reported that in the last decade the number of couples over 65 ­cohabitating, or living together, has tripled. It also says, “A ­generation or two ago, the idea of older adults living together might have been shameful, even scandalous. That has changed, in part because societal attitudes towards marriage have changed.” Admittedly, one reason for the cohabitation increase is the ­manipulation of Social ­Security ­benefits for the elderly. Some stand to lose substantial funds by ­marrying and forfeiting the benefits of a deceased spouse. But is that enough to justify ignoring God’s laws concerning marriage?

What happened to marriage ­being sacred? And before we sit back and point our fingers at society, let’s remember who has the burden of teaching society about God’s laws. Jesus said that we are to be the “light of the world” and “the salt of the earth” (Matthew 5:13–16). It is our obligation to show God’s truth, including marriage, to all others. It is our job to promote the sacred nature of marriage.

And truthfully, the difficult part for us sometimes is when we become emotional in response—especially something like the difficulty of Alzheimer’s or other diseases. We feel bad for the people involved and make justifications for doing things that quite frankly just aren’t ­scriptural or moral. But consider this... If marriage is sacred for the elderly, how can it be sacred at all?

Marriage is a sacred bond and should be treated as such by all. Or as my grandma said, “It’s for life!”