Recently, Expat Living Hong Kong published an article online with the provocative title, “Is Hong Kong a ‘Marriage Graveyard’?” Reading through the article, it’s evident that the areas of concern are not limited only to expats. They cite three significant realities about Hong Kong living, which can add stress and difficulty to any marriage.
First of all, work simply gets in the way of marriages. The pressure to succeed is high. Work stresses spill over into domestic conflicts and marital dissatisfaction. Often there is difficulty separating career demands and work expectations from downtime and family time.
Secondly, success and high income levels breed entitlement and expectations that can lead to temptations. Unfaithfulness in marriage doesn’t just happen overnight. Work-related obligations and socialising can cause some to drop their guard.
Finally, feelings of abandonment and isolation creep into marital relationships when one or both spouses work long hours or frequently travel on work-related trips. Extended absences have an impact on relational connectivity.
As Christians, we know that marriage takes work and time. Marriage requires commitment. Marital love is an act of volition, not simply of emotion.
Genesis 2:22-24 describes the origins of Christian marriage:
Then the LORD God made a woman from the rib he had taken out of the man, and he brought her to the man. The man said, “This is now bone of my bones and flesh of my flesh; she shall be called ‘woman’, for she was taken out of man.” That is why a man leaves his father and mother and is united to his wife, and they become one flesh.
In a Christian marriage, a husband and wife are equally committed one to another. They are no longer two but one flesh, united together by faith, working together.
In a city like Hong Kong, where so much of our time and energy is spent fulfilling work-related obligations, we must diligently put time and energy into working on our own marriages. Remember, God wants our marriages to thrive, not just survive.
This spring, we’re offering a course that proved very popular a few years ago, “Building a Safe & Strong Marriage,” with counsellors Sarah and Rev. Dr. Keith Condie. Utilising both biblical wisdom and current research on marriage, the five sessions will focus on God’s design for marriage, our connectedness, friendship and communication, sex and spirituality, and managing conflict.
The ‘Marriage Graveyard’ article concludes with a sound suggestion, “Keep your marriage as a top priority.” We hope you will make your marriage a top priority and invite you to join “Building a Safe & Strong Marriage” with your spouse this March and April.