At our weekly Christian meetings and at larger assemblies, as well as in our publications, we follow a comprehensive Bible educational program that helps marriage mates treat each other with respect and that helps parents develop in their children such desirable values as honesty, morality, integrity, and dependability. This program benefits families, strengthens the community, and pleases the Creator, the Originator of the family.
Principles and examples from the Bible teach good communication practices and effective methods of reconciling differences within the family. These principles provide practical guidance for all types of families, including stepfamilies and single-parent families. We believe that all families, no matter what their circumstances, can benefit from the teachings of the Bible.
Marriage mates with different religions are encouraged to treat each other with tolerance and respect. Children should be given the opportunity to learn about the religious views of both parents.—1 Corinthians 7:12-14.
We view marriage as a serious, lifelong commitment. We look to the Bible for guidance in resolving marital problems in a loving and respectful way. Scripturally, divorce may be obtained on the grounds of marital unfaithfulness. Separation is acceptable in extreme situations, such as those involving willful nonsupport or physical abuse. Whether to separate or not is the personal decision of the wronged mate.—Matthew 19:6, 9; Ephesians 5:33.
The Bible’s advice on marriage is as relevant today as it was when the Bible was written. When husband and wife treat each other with love and respect and view marriage as an exclusive relationship, the marriage is far more likely to survive—and with it the family.
A husband learns from the Bible that he must accord his wife the same esteem and consideration that he shows himself. Husbands are encouraged to seek the opinions and thoughts of their wives in making decisions that concern the family. The father thereby provides his children with a good example of how women should be treated. Wives are counseled to love their husbands and to respect the role the husband has as head of the family. (Ephesians 5:28-33) Is such advice practical in the modern world? After studying social life in Zambia, a researcher from a Canadian university concluded: “Jehovah’s Witnesses experience greater success than members of other denominations in maintaining stable marital unions.”
The Bible allows for separation in extreme cases, such as when there is physical abuse or willful non-support. Divorce is also allowed, but only on the grounds of sex relations outside the marriage. (Matthew 19:8, 9) Whether or not to separate or divorce is the personal decision of the wronged mate. In a marriage in which only one mate is one of Jehovah’s Witnesses, the Witness mate is counseled to show respect and love to the non-Witness mate. The Bible disapproves of a Christian’s breaking up the marriage merely over differences of religious beliefs.—1 Corinthians 7:10-13.