George and Brenda today have reached a milestone most of us will not reach. 70 years married. I would have to be 110 years old to achieve that milestone and Karlene would have to agree to still be with me.
Last year 8463 married couples in NZ decided to call time on their marriages .  9.3 divorces for every 1,000 estimated existing marriages and civil unions in this country.

It is timely to ask at this time of celebration of longevity of marriage about what we can do to ensure that our marriages will last? What does it mean to say, “Till death do us part” in 2016?

The first and most important issue is one of obedience to God and His Word. 

This is a principle that should be in force before the marriage. In Amos 3:3 God says, “Can two people walk together without agreeing on the direction?

For the born-again believer, this means not beginning a close relationship with anyone who is not also a believer. 2 Corinthians 6:14 says: Do not be mismatched with unbelievers. For what partnership is there between righteousness and lawlessness? Or what fellowship is there between light and darkness?

Marriages are two people moving in the same direction. With an unequal yoke, the partners move in different direction and different speeds and it destroys the team.
Another principle that would protect the longevity of a marriage is that the husband should obey God and love, honour, and protect his wife as he would his own body (Ephesians 5:25-31). 

The corresponding principle is that the wife should obey God and submit to her own husband “as to the Lord” (Ephesians 5:22). 

The marriage between a man and a woman is a picture of the relationship between Christ and the church. Christ gave Himself for the church and He loves, honours, and protects her as His “bride” (Revelation 19:7-9).

When God brought Eve to Adam in the first marriage, she was made from his “flesh and bone” (Genesis 2:21) and they became “one flesh” (Genesis 2:23-24). Becoming one flesh means more than just a physical union. It means a meeting of the mind and soul to form one unit.

This relationship goes far beyond sensual or emotional attraction and into the realm of spiritual “oneness” that can only be found as both partners surrender to God and each other. 

This relationship is not centred on “me and my” but on “us and our.” 

This is one of the secrets to a lasting marriage. Making a marriage last until death is something both partners have to make a priority. Solidifying one's vertical relationship with God goes a long way toward ensuring that the horizontal relationship between a husband and wife is a lasting, and therefore God-honouring, one. 

Our marriages should be like the Maori proverb:

He hono tangata e kore e motu; ka pa he taura waka e motu – a human bond cannot be severed unlike a canoe rope, it cannot be severed (Karetu)