Marriage is not only the bedrock of society, but it is a sacred institution designed by God for His glory and humankind’s good.. Marriage plays a significant role in the overall health of a couple and their children, and allows for prosperous, well-ordered societies to thrive.
Unfortunately, the institution of marriage is under attack, especially since Congress passed and the president signed into law the so-called Respect for Marriage Act, which distorts God’s design and redefines marriage as nothing more than abstract adult desires. The true definition of marriage, a union between one man and one woman, must be the law of the land in order for families to flourish and society to thrive.
In addition to the redefining of marriage, marriage rates are declining in the U.S. A recent Pew poll shows that only 34% of U.S. adults believe society is better off if “people make marriage and having children a priority,” while 64% believe society is “just as well off if people have priorities other than marriage and children.” As we know, these beliefs are woefully misguided, and our country is experiencing the consequences of a lack of strong families headed by married dads and moms.
This is bad news for individuals and society in general. A major survey published by Harvard Medical School shows that married men are healthier overall and live longer than men who were never married or are divorced. For women, marriage provides security and a safe environment to raise children, who ultimately provide both spouses with life-long fulfillment. Further, married couples also have happier, healthier relationships than cohabiting couples.
Marriage is not only vitally important for couples, but it is also a major determinant of their children’s health and success. A child born into the home of his/her married mother and father “will receive the complimentary love of a mom and dad,” noted Katy Faust in an interview with Family Research Council’s Tony Perkins.
Children born outside God’s design of a life-long heterosexual union are at greater risk for homelessness, drug use, child poverty, teen suicide, academic failure, teen pregnancy, and more. “Every social ill we are facing today is because this country, culturally and legally, is getting the family wrong,” says Faust. Further, A recent study found that children raised in stable homes are “more likely to flourish economically, educationally, and socially.” Marriage is the best way to provide children with a foundation for success.
The good news is that more children are living with their married mother and father, according to the Institute for Family Studies. This is because both marriage and divorce rates are declining, meaning the marriages that do occur are more stable. In addition, fewer unmarried women are having children while the number of children born to married parents has been more stable.
The Institute for Family Studies promotes the Success Sequence, which consists of three steps that ought to be taken in a certain order to ensure the highest chance of success in one’s life. These steps include getting at least a high school diploma, getting a full-time job, and getting married before having children. Young adults who complete the Success Sequence in order, even in the face of big challenges, have a much greater chance of achieving success. This is true for every race and economic background in America. In fact, the latest research shows that 99% percent of young people who follow all three steps are not poor as adults.
As Christians, our mission is to promote marriage in every way we can. “We must encourage the marriage of eligible bachelors and bachelorettes within our circles of influence by not being afraid to be matchmakers. We must be witnesses for healthy and loving marriages and family life to our neighbors and local communities by inviting neighbors over for playdates or dinner, striking up conversations in the barber shop and dentist office, and getting involved in civic life by running for school board and other local, state, and federal offices…We must invite non-believing or fallen away members of our local communities to our churches,” write Dan Hart and Connor Semelsberger of the Washington Stand.
Building a culture of deep respect for God’s design and the institution of marriage is up to us. Until we do, children will fall victim to many societal ills, and couples will experience poorer health and less success. Marriage is every society’s foundational institution, and when that foundation is weak, the society is weak.