- FAMILY AND MARRIAGE: Marriage is important to families, society
- Why ‘You Marry the Family’ Is Annoying Advice
- 01. You can’t ignore family relationships
- 02. You can create your own family culture.
- 03. Your vow is to your spouse alone
- The Necessity of Marriage
- Why Children Need Married Parents
- Why traditional marriage and families are important – Diocese of Rapid City
- The Importance of Marriage and Family
- 1. How did Jesus define marriage, its origin and permanence?
- 2. What is one of the purposes and privileges of marriage?
- 3. How did Paul explain the fifth commandment for children and parents?
- 4. What had Timothy known from a child?
- 5. What should be our motivation to put God first in our lives and honour Him?
- The Importance of Marriage in Our Society
FAMILY AND MARRIAGE: Marriage is important to families, society
“Being unmarried is one of the greatest risks that people voluntarily subject themselves to.” — Bernard I Cohen and I-Sing Lee, “A Catalog of Risks”
”Jesus replied, ‘The people of this age marry and are given in marriage.’” — Bible
According to the Pew Research Center the last several years have seen a significant decline in marriage rates. For example, in 1960, two-thirds (68 percent) of all people in their 20s were married.
In 2014, just 27 percent were. Of course, marrying at an older age is also on the increase, but consider the overall statistic: About half (50.2 percent) of all adults in the U.S.
were married in 2014; back in 1960, seven in ten (72 percent) were.
Does that mean that society believes marriage is not important? Not necessarily. Again, according to Pew, “the vast majority of adults consider their own family to be the most important, most satisfying element of their lives.”
In addition, “Americans are more upbeat about the future of marriage and family (67 percent say they are optimistic) than about the future of the country’s educational system (50 percent optimistic), its economic system (46 percent optimistic) or its morals and ethics (41 percent optimistic).”
There continues to be a great deal of empirical evidence for the benefits of marriage to the couple and their children.
Married men and women are healthier and live longer, they accumulate more money, their children are happier and tend to be more successful in life, and the overall benefit to society is significant.
Assuming these benefits we’ve mentioned are sufficient to maintain the viability of the institution of marriage is dangerous, however, because man’s rules and mores can be changed by man.
For example, some of today’s laws make it more attractive economically for couples not to marry, especially if they have children.
Marriage was designed by God to provide the very fabric of society. Even societies (past and present) that chose not to recognize God have had and maintained the institution of marriage. A family consisting of marriage between a man and a woman and any children that may result will consistently produce the benefits mentioned above.
Difficulties will still occur. They do in any relationship and marriage is no exception. But in a marriage relationship the covenant commitment encourages couples to work through conflicts and come out stronger.
Society teaches that love makes a marriage, but in reality it is marriage that generates and strengthens the love.
As a simple analogy, a person may set out to create a painting or play a song on the piano or build their own house because of an attraction for what they are entering into, but it’s the time, energy, effort (particularly in overcoming obstacles), and ultimate success that truly make it a work of love.
These articles prepared by FAMCO are designed to help build and enhance marriages. They work best, however, if we recognize marriage isn’t an arbitrary construct of man; it is designed by God. Hence success is most ly achieved when the designer is obeyed and the design manual is followed.
From Feb. 7-14, National Marriage Week USA will be celebrated across the U.S. Here in Aiken, FAMCO is sponsoring an event called Marriage Is Worth Celebrating on the evening of Jan. 27.
The evening will consist of a dinner at Woodside Plantation Country Club, fellowship and fun, and some very beneficial information and teaching from Jeff Payne, director at Foundations Christian Counseling Center in Charleston. Jeff has been with us before and we look forward to his insight into what marriage and relationships are all about.
Take advantage of this opportunity to go on a date with your spouse. Research shows that dating at least once a month significantly improves relationships. Start off the New Year with a commitment to spend quality time with your spouse at least once a month – preferably each day – but don’t put off that time together, however long.
The cost is $49 per couple and sponsorship for couples to attend is also available. For further information about this event or to purchase tickets please see the contact information below.
The Family and Marriage Coalition of Aiken, Inc. (FAMCO) provides resources for you to succeed in your marriage and families. Roger Rollins, Executive Director, FAMCO, 803-640-4689, email@example.com, www.aikenfamco.com.
Why ‘You Marry the Family’ Is Annoying Advice
If you’ve ever had a serious relationship, you’ve definitely fielded the never-ending barrage of questions: “How many siblings does he have?” “What is his mom ? Does she you?” “When are you going to meet the family?”
Then, inevitably, these questions terminate in the singsong, oft-repeated phrase: Don’t forget, you don’t just marry an individual, you marry the whole family.
Even though those words make me want to rally for a nationwide, collective eye roll, I have to admit that after almost four years of marriage with parents-in-law, seven sisters-in-law, and four brothers-in-law in the picture, there’s no denying the truth in that overused statement.
So, why is it so irritating?
Because it conflicts with two very primal instincts we all get when we fall in love: The first is our desire for intimacy, and the second is our certainty that the relationship we have is unique and unintelligible to those who are outside of it.
There’s no bigger damper on those instincts than to admit there is a large group of people involved who have a right to an opinion on your relationship. Everything in our bodies wants us to scream, “No, this is just about us; no one else matters.”
Nevertheless, the fact remains that you can’t separate your spouse from the family they came from. What you can do, though, is realize that “you marry the family” is a big generalization.
There are ways in which that is very true and ways in which it is untrue, and figuring out the difference will help you make a better decision about who to marry and how to ease family-related tension after you marry.
01. You can’t ignore family relationships
There’s no way to get the reality that your spouse’s family history will have a major impact on your relationship. It matters whether your spouse grew up in a loving home or a harsh one, a broken home or a whole one; it matters how his parents chose to parent and it matters how his character was formed as a child.
If there are things you don’t about the way your spouse and his family treat one another, it’s important to discuss it because it’s almost guaranteed to come up in your married life together at some point. And that goes for the good things, too.
If there are things you really about your future spouse’s family relationships, you can feel more confident that you will have a similar experience together.
One of the things that gave me a lot of peace while dating my spouse was his level of respect and care for his mom. You could clearly tell that this was demanded of him and instilled in his character from a very young age and it gave me confidence knowing that this behavior would probably influence his treatment of me and later, influence the behavior of our children toward me.
Your spouse is different than his family, but he was formed by his family and it’s a big mistake not to take that in to account when making a decision about marriage. In that sense, you very much “marry the family.”
02. You can create your own family culture.
On the other hand, despite what may have been the case with either of your families, you can find comfort in the fact that your family unit is still separate and comes first. This refrain has been a peace-creating balm for my own marriage since my spouse and I come from different nationalities and cultural backgrounds.
Our first year or two of marriage was difficult because our respective families had very different ways of doing things, different foods at the holidays, different expectations about what’s polite, and how to share news with other family members.
There are even differences in little things the fact that my family loves sitting around the living room with paper plate dinners and his family would never not eat around a properly set table.
It was a major worry for both of us that our own family would either morph into a carbon copy of my spouse’s family or mine depending on who won the cultural tug of war.
Fortunately, we realized that while we didn’t have the ability to change the cultures we were raised in, we do have the ability to dictate exactly how we would our own family unit to be. We picked some traditions and expectations from each side that we d and threw out the ones we didn't . As a result, we’ve formed a family that has its own culture.
Of course, our respective families still have a big place in our hearts and we enjoy participating in their way of doing things when we visit. But now we can remind our kids: at home, we do things differently.
03. Your vow is to your spouse alone
When we're married, we’re asked commit to a life of self-sacrificial love, where we put our spouse’s needs above our own. Love also demands us to make ourselves utterly vulnerable, revealing our flaws and weaknesses and accepting those of our spouse. These commitments are so intense, no wonder it feels a little off-putting when we’re told we need to “marry the family” as well.
When you say “I do” you are opening your heart to embrace a group of people who love and care about your spouse and therefore have some natural right to a relationship with you and especially with the children that might come from your union.
That said, while we should always try to maintain a healthy relationship with our partner's family members, we can discriminate when it comes to deciding the level of influence certain family members have on our own family unit and the level of intimacy of those relationships.
So, yes, marriage involves loving each other’s families but our marital commitment to our spouse is a higher priority, and that’s an important difference.
As annoying as it may be to hear, we can’t avoid “marrying” our spouse's family, to some degree. And that’s a good thing. But don’t freak out that you will be required to share every marital decision with your husband’s nosy Aunt Susie because your marriage with your spouse is something very different and much more intimate than any union you’ll have with his family.
The Necessity of Marriage
Thank you for inviting me to speak to you todayregarding an important institution that is increasingly threatenedin our society–marriage. Several years ago, I addressed “TheNecessity of Truth,” and today I will discuss “The Necessity ofMarriage.”
Marriage is one of those truths that, as Iarticulated, is important for the foundation of any healthysociety. There are two ways to approach it.
One is from autilitarian standpoint: Why is marriage a good thing for oursociety? Later on in my talk, I'm going to list statistics thatprove its myriad benefits.
However, first, I will approach thetopic of marriage from a broader perspective: Why is it anintrinsic good?
WhenI talk to my colleagues about marriage and about the objectiveevidence that proves marriage is a good thing, it's remarkable howlittle they know. When I assert that marriage is a good thing andis under assault, they all have a basic understanding that marriageis worth protecting.
However, it is so accepted and so naturalthat my colleagues fail to step back and consider why marriage issuch a good thing. Why is it so important? Why is marriage sofoundational? What is the necessity of marriage?
Toanswer these questions, let me first address the culture in whichwe live and why marriage is an institution that is countercultural.In its essence, marriage is a selfless act. It is the act of givingoneself to somebody else and becoming one.
Ofcourse, it is impossible for two people to unite and remainseparate. And since the essence of marriage is selflessness in aself-centered society, it faces opposition from today's popularculture.
Allfacets of our popular culture, from the entertainment industry toour universities, focus on “ME.” My colleague Senator John Ensignof Nevada told me a story that epitomizes the selfishness of ourculture: “When I was a teenager, I had a sticker in my car with apicture of a bear scratching himself on the tree, and under it wasthe saying, `If it feels good, do it!'”
Thatwas the motto of the '60s and the '70s, and certainly it is themotto today. The image of the bear scratching himself highlights aview of human beings as animals, and that people should do whatpleases them at the moment without a thought to the broaderlong-term consequences of their actions.
Marriage and the “Right toPrivacy”
Marriage, on the other hand, is about selflessness, and it is underassault in the public sphere. Recent federal court rulingsregarding the right to privacy threaten to further underminemarriage.
Theproblem is, although privacy is not an enumerated right in ourConstitution, some activist judges are reading that right into itin their decisions. But rulings that expand privacy–a purelyselfish right–do nothing to serve the common good.
Recently, I participated in an event atthe Constitution Center in Philadelphia on the Preamble to theConstitution, the five principles that form the basis of ourdemocracy: “establish Justice, insure domestic Tranquility, providefor the common defence, promote the general Welfare, and secure theBlessings of Liberty to ourselves and our Posterity.
” My addressfocused on “promote the general Welfare,” the one principle thatwas fundamentally different from all the rest becauseresponsibility to promote the common good rests not just with thegovernment, but with all citizens.
Indeed, our Founding Fathersestablished all the rights in the Constitution not for theindividual's gain, but for the common good.
Thenotion of a right to privacy is not about the common good, butabout “ME.
” Starting during the sexual revolution withcontraception, it quickly evolved to abortion, and now it has foundits way into today's marriage debate.
The reason marriage isimportant is that it affirms what our Founding Fathersunderstood–that the purpose for this country is to use ourfreedoms for the promotion of the common good.
Marriage and theCommon Good
Marriage promotes the common good by building families andraising children. Those of you who have children know that everyday that goes by is about selfless acts in nurturing children.
Butsociety is failing to affirm the vital institution of marriage onany level–legal, societal, any level–and for this reason,marriage is under assault, with high rates of divorce andout-of-wedlock births pummeling the traditional family.
Given the high stakes for society, it isimportant for public leaders to understand why marriage isimportant and to communicate that to the American public. But manypoliticians still do not understand what makes marriage worthdefending.
Forexample, Senator Max Baucus of Montana asserted during a recentSenate Finance Committee markup that the federal government shouldwithhold funding from programs to promote healthy marriages in thewelfare reform reauthorization bill because it is not thegovernment's place to encourage people to get married–marriage isnot for everyone.
Butlooking at marriage in general, from the utilitarian perspective,there is no question that marriage is good for society: Children,women, and men all benefit enormously.
Looking at the benefits for children, there is a wealth ofevidence that children living in two-parent homes are better offthan those in single-parent families.
They are 44 percent lessly to be physically abused, 47 percent less ly to sufferphysical neglect, 43 percent less ly to suffer emotionalneglect, and 55 percent less ly to suffer some form of childabuse.
Those living with their two marriedparents through age 16 have higher grades, higher collegeaspirations, and better attendance records than children inone-parent families or who experience family disruption. They alsoare half as ly to drop high school.
Furthermore, children in two-parent homesare less than half as ly as children in single-parent familiesto have emotional or behavioral problems.
And children who livewith biological or adoptive parents are about a third as ly asthose living with single parents to use illegal drugs, tobacco, oralcohol.
In addition, boys raised with two parents are about halfas ly to commit a crime leading to incarceration by their early30s.
Clearly, the research shows that marriagehelps children do better on every level, and that is exactly whythe government should encourage healthy marriages.
For women, despite a whole generation of a movement thathas misled them into thinking that marriage is not necessarily intheir interest, the evidence proves otherwise.
Studies show that wives are 30 percentmore ly to rate their health excellent or good than singlewomen of the same age. In addition, married women (and men) areless ly to suffer long-term chronic illness or disabilitiesthan single women. And mortality rates are less than one-third ashigh among married women as among non-married women.
Women gain financially as well–marriageincreases income by 50 percent for women (25 percent for men)–anddomestic violence rates decrease substantially. Married women arefar less ly to be victims of intimate-partner violence thandivorced, separated, or never-married women. The rate per thousandfor divorced or separated women is 31.9; never married women, 11.3;married women, just 2.6.
Finally, the evidence shows that marriage benefits mensignificantly and serves as a civilizing influence on them.
Notably, single men have almost six timesthe probability of being incarcerated as married men, and men wholive with their biological children are more involved in thecommunity and service organizations, more connected to their ownsiblings, adult children, and aging parents. Fathers living withtheir children invest more hours per week in work and careers thannon-fathers.
Men's financial gains are substantial.Married men make 25 percent more money than single men, andtwo-parent families are five times less ly to be in povertythan single-parent families.
Their health and quality of life alsoimprove with marriage. Mortality rates are two-thirds as high amongmarried men as among single men. Married men (and women) are lessthan half as ly as their divorced counterparts to attemptsuicide.
Theevidence is overwhelming: We need to promote and protect marriageto secure a healthier society. Therefore, the public policyimplications are clear: The government must promote marriage as afundamental societal benefit.
President George W. Bush understands thenecessity of marriage and has said he will support an amendment tothe Constitution that defends marriage against the threats from thecultural breakdown. Marriage must remain the standard for familylife in the society.
Bothfor its intrinsic good and for its benefits for society, we needmarriage. And just as important, we need public leaders tocommunicate to the American public why it is necessary.
The Honorable Rick Santorum is a United StatesSenator from Pennsylvania.
Why Children Need Married Parents
As of 2004, 68% of children lived with two married parents. (“Family Structure and Children's Living Arrangements,” Federal Interagency Forum on Child and Family Statistics, http://childstats.gov/amchildren05/pop6.asp)
In 2004, 23% of children lived with only their mothers, 5% lived with only their fathers, and 4% lived with neither of their parents. (Family Structure…)
Only 45% of all teenage children live with their married biological parents. (“The Positive Effects of Marriage: A Book of Charts,” Patrick Fagan, www.heritage.org/Research /Features/Marriage/index.cfm)
Children in single-parent families comprise 27% of all American children, yet they account for 62% of all poor children. (“The Positive Effects…”)
The three most significant reasons children are raised without their married mother and father are unwed pregnancy, cohabitation, and divorce. (“The State of Our Unions: The Social Health of Marriage in America 2006,” David Popenoe and Barbara Whitehead, National Marriage Project, http://marriage.rutgers.edu print version p.33)
- Children raised in intact married families are more ly to attend college, are physically and emotionally healthier, are less ly to be physically or sexually abused, less ly to use drugs or alcohol and to commit delinquent behaviors, have a decreased risk of divorcing when they get married, are less ly to become pregnant/impregnate someone as a teenager, and are less ly to be raised in poverty. (“Why Marriage Matters: 26 Conclusions from the Social Sciences,” Bradford Wilcox, Institute for American Values, www.americanvalues.org/html/r-wmm.html)
- Children receive gender specific support from having a mother and a father. Research shows that particular roles of mothers (e.g., to nurture) and fathers (e.g., to discipline), as well as complex biologically rooted interactions, are important for the development of boys and girls. (“Marriage and the Public Good: Ten Principles,” 2006, www.princetonprinciples.org)
- A child living with a single mother is 14 times more ly to suffer serious physical abuse than is a child living with married biological parents. A child whose mother cohabits with a man other than the child's father is 33 times more ly to suffer serious physical child abuse. (“The Positive Effects…”)
- In married families, about 1/3 of adolescents are sexually active. However, for teenagers in stepfamilies, cohabiting households, divorced families, and those with single unwed parents, the percentage rises above 1/2. (“The Positive Effects…”)
- Growing up outside an intact marriage increases the chance that children themselves will divorce or become unwed parents. (“26 Conclusions…” and “Marriage and the Public Good…”) * Children of divorce experience lasting tension as a result of the increasing differences in their parents' values and ideas. At a young age they must make mature decisions regarding their beliefs and values. Children of so called “good divorces” fared worse emotionally than children who grew up in an unhappy but “low-conflict'”marriage. (“Ten Findings from a National Study on the Moral and Spiritual Lives of Children of Divorce,” Elizabeth Marquardt, www.betweentwoworlds.org)
- There are two inseparable ends of marriage: the good of the spouses and the procreation and education of children. The education of children in faith, love, and wisdom is a vital task of married parental love (Catechism of the Catholic Church 2249; Guadium et Spes #50).
- At the 2006 World Meeting of Families, Pope Benedict XVI emphasized that the love of a mother and father provides security for children and educates them about the beauty of faithful and eternal love. www.vatican.va/holy_father/benedict_xvi/speeches/2006/july/documents/hf_benxvi_spe_20060708_incontro-festivo_en.html
- Pope John Paul II spoke of parents as co-creators and educators, highlighting the fundamental example of self-giving love and personal communion that married parents supply to their children. Married parents present children with their first experiences of the love of God and the Church. (“Familiaris Consortio,” #36-38)
- The U.S. Bishops have addressed the value of married parents for children?s well-being and Christian formation: ?…we support and applaud the often heroic efforts of single-parent families. We also emphasize the value of parents staying together and sacrificing to raise children. Children generally do best when they have the love and support – personal and material – of both their parents.? (?Putting Children and Families First: A Challenge for Our Church, Nation, and World,? 1991)
- The U.S. Bishops have pointed out that a committed marriage is the foundation of a family. “It strengthens all the members, provides best for the needs of children, and causes the church of the home to be an effective sign of Christ in the world.” (“Follow the Way of Love,” 1994). Nearly a decade later the bishops reaffirmed this point, stating that the stable, loving relationship of a mother and father “present only in marriage” provides the best conditions for raising children (“Between Man and Woman: Questions and Answers about Marriage and Same-Sex Unions,” 2003)
Social science research shows clear advantages when children are raised by two married parents. This does not diminish the exemplary efforts of many single parents, whose “courage and determination” the U.S.
Bishops recognized in “Follow the Way of Love”(p. 10). It does, however, encourage pastoral leaders to promote loving, faithful and committed marriages as the best gift that parents can give to their children.
Why traditional marriage and families are important – Diocese of Rapid City
The Sunday following the celebration of Christmas usually brings us the feast of the Holy Family.
This feast gives families the opportunity to reflect upon the beauty of traditional marriage and the family as God has created it to be.
The Son of God was born into a human family consisting of a loving mother and a dedicated father, a model for all family life since the beginning of time.
As we all know, family life, especially in the United States, faces many challenges today. Our secular culture unfortunately promotes many different forms of family life, oftentimes to the detriment of the children involved. But the church has always upheld the traditional family as the normative place for children to attain their fullest potential as human persons.
Pope Francis, in his Encyclical Letter, Lumen Fidei, writes that the Christian family is founded “first and foremost on the stable union of man and woman in marriage.
This union is born of their love, as a sign and presence of God’s own love, and of the acknowledgment and acceptance of the goodness of sexual differentiation, whereby spouses can become one flesh (cf.
Gen 2:24) and are enabled to give birth to a new life, a manifestation of the Creator’s goodness, wisdom and loving plan. Grounded in this love, a man and a woman can promise each other mutual love in a gesture which engages their entire lives and mirrors many features of faith.
Promising love forever is possible when we perceive a plan bigger than our own ideas and undertakings, a plan which sustains us and enables us to surrender our future entirely to the one we love” (LF #52).
In the Instrumentum Laboris, the document prepared for the III Extraordinary Synod of Bishops, entitled “The Pastoral Challenges of the Family in the Context of Evangelization,” states that “one of the great challenges of the family today consists in attempts at its privatization, running the risk of forgetting that the family is the fundamental cell of society. The (traditional) family is the source of the essential virtues for a life in community. Without the family, a person is unable to emerge from his individualism, since it is the only place to learn the power of love to sustain life, keeping men and women united,” (#33).
Recent studies show that almost all Americans honor the ideal of traditional marriage in theory but have become increasingly tolerant of departures from this ideal.
This comes from a kind of “expressive individualism” that seeks both to give American adults utmost freedom to pursue their own desires and to enforce a public ideal of “tolerance” for family-related choices.
This mindset has the greatest consequences for less-educated Americans, who according to studies are less ly to have a “marriage mindset” and live by norms that lead to strong marriages.
Studies also show that the outcomes in families with two married parents are better than those with only one. In
comparing children raised in single-parent families, children in families with two married parents are significantly more ly to steer clear of events that limit their future economic opportunities (i.e. criminal activity) and they flourish more in today’s labor market. A higher percentage of college graduates come from intact families where mothers have received degrees in higher education.
Paul Amato, president of National Council of Family Relations, notes, “Studies consistently indicate, however, that children in stepfamilies exhibit more problems than do children with continuously married parents and about the same number of problems as do children with single parents.”
We all realize that today cohabitation has become an increasingly common venue for bearing/rearing children. More than 40 percent of children will spend some time in a cohabiting household and 21 percent of children are born into cohabiting unions. Cohabiting families are most common in Middle
America and in poor communities. Studies clearly show that children do not fare as well in cohabiting households as they do in married families. Cohabiting unions tend to have less commitment, trust, sexual fidelity, more violence and less parental supportiveness than married unions. Cohabitation is now a bigger risk to children in the U.S. than divorce.
How does faith play a role in keeping marriages and families strong? Studies show that men and women who share a common faith are more ly to succeed in their marriages. God as the center of one’s marriage is the best religious predictor of marital quality. Those who attend church regularly are 35 percent less ly to divorce.
Faith, lived intentionally, opens one’s heart to the greater meaning of life and love as defined by Christ and his church.
“The truth of love between a man and a woman,” according to Pope Benedict XVI, “can be only understood in light of the love of Christ crucified.
Marriage an exclusive and definitive love becomes the icon of the relationship between God and his people and vice versa,” (Final Report of the Extraordinary Synod of Bishops on the Family, #19).
Pope Francis, in treating the connection between the family and faith, writes: “Encountering Christ, letting themselves (young people) be caught up in and guided by his love, enlarges the horizons of existence, gives it a firm hope which will not disappoint.
Faith is no refuge for the fainthearted, but something which enhances our lives. It makes us aware of a magnificentcalling, the vocation of love. It assures us that this love is trustworthy and worth embracing, for it is God’s faithfulness which is stronger than our every weakness,” (LF #53; Instrumentum Laboris, #7).
When faith is weakened, the foundations of life, family and society are weakened (LF #55).
Much more can be said regarding why traditional marriage and family express the mind of God and are at the very foundation of what makes up a good society. But lack of space for further reflection in this edition has won out. The family has often been referred to as a “domestic” church.
As we begin a new year, perhaps all families can take the time to reflect upon their own family life from this perspective, praying the words of Pope Francis, “Holy Family of Nazareth, reawaken in our society (and our families) the awareness of the sacred and inviolable character of the family, an inestimable and irreplaceable good,” (From a Sunday Angelus in St. Peter’s Square, Rome).
May God richly bless your marriages and families.
The Importance of Marriage and Family
Photo Credit: Masterfile
Eight-year-old Danny Dutton’s teacher assigned her class to “explain God.” Danny wrote, “One of God’s main jobs is making people. He makes them to replace the ones that die so there will be enough people to take care of things on earth.
He doesn’t make grown-ups, just babies, I think because they are smaller and easier to make. That way, He doesn’t have to take up His valuable time teaching them to talk and walk; He can just leave that to mothers and fathers.
” The innocence of a child highlights the importance of the family.
A recent Pew survey revealed that, while nearly 40 per cent of Americans think marriage is obsolete, more than three-quarters say it’s best that children be reared by parents who are married.
1. How did Jesus define marriage, its origin and permanence?
Matthew 19:4–6 “At the beginning the Creator ‘made them male and female,’ and said, ‘For this reason a man will leave his father and mother and be united to his wife, and the two will become one flesh.’ . . . So they are no longer two, but one. Therefore what God has joined together, let man not separate.’ ”
In defining marriage from Eden as a union between a man and a woman, Jesus ruled out other sexual arrangements as legitimate or beneficial.
Seth Eisenberg, president of the PAIRS Foundation (Practical Application of Intimate Relationship Skills), one of the biggest relationship-education organisations in America, says, “Marriage is glue. You can build something with it. Living together is Velcro.
The commitment of marriage gives people the opportunity to grow and thrive in ways that other relationships do not.”
2. What is one of the purposes and privileges of marriage?
Genesis 1:28 “God blessed them and said to them, ‘Be fruitful and increase in number; fill the earth.’ ”
Research shows that children need quality care from both parents or with stable substitutes for parents. The most caring teacher cannot provide the loving attention of parents and other family members.
3. How did Paul explain the fifth commandment for children and parents?
Ephesians 6:1–4 “Children, obey your parents in the Lord . . . which is the first commandment with a promise—‘that it may go well with you and that you may enjoy long life on the earth.’ Fathers, do not exasperate your children; instead, bring them up in the training and instruction of the Lord.”
4. What had Timothy known from a child?
2 Timothy 3:15 “From infancy you have known the holy Scriptures, which are able to make you wise for salvation through faith in Christ Jesus.”
Sadly, children today often learn more from the TV than from their parents. On average, kids spend more than six hours each day with media, which is more than they spend with their parents or in school.
Katherine Ramsland reports a 1999 study which showed that by age 18, the average child had been exposed to more than 200,000 violent acts and 40,000 dramatised murders.
They will see nearly three-quarters of a million commercials and girls will get 250,000 messages about what they’re supposed to look .
Dr Michael Rich of Harvard University says that “paediatricians across the country are now seeing rising levels of aggression, obesity, substance use, eating disorders and unsafe sexual behaviour where media plays a key causal role.” Dr Sarah Coyne, a professor in the Family Life Department of Brigham Young University, found a correlation between hearing profanity in the media and aggressive behaviour among adolescents.
5. What should be our motivation to put God first in our lives and honour Him?
John 3:16 “For God so loved the world that he gave his one and only Son, that whoever believes in him shall not perish but have eternal life.”
When we accept Jesus as Saviour, God lavishes us with His love, calling us His children (1 John 3:1). In the busyness of life, let’s make sure we make time for God in our families. The rewards are this world.
The Importance of Marriage in Our Society
Pope St. John Paul II said, As the family goes, so goes the nation, and so goes the whole world in which we live. This means that the state of marriage and family life is a good indicator of the state our society is in. But with high divorce rates and young people foregoing marriage altogether, now is the time to emphasize that marriage matters, even in the 21st century.
Recently on A Closer Look™ Archbishop Salvatore Cordileone of San Francisco stopped by to discuss what marriage is, the role it plays in our society, and what we can do to strengthen the institution of marriage.
“Marriage is something in nature, it is not something that society creates. Just by nature, a child comes from a father and a mother,” Cordileone said. “The question is, does society need an institution that connects the child to the man and the woman who brought them into the world, or not? If we need that institution, that institution is marriage.”
But in our society today, marriage can take a variety of forms. Archbishop Cordileone explained the natural view of marriage and why the state should take an interest in this particular relationship.
“Marriage is the union of the two, the nurturing of new life, and the connecting of the child with the mother and the father,” he said. “A society that flourishes recognizes that and puts conditions in place that safeguard the child being able to grow up with a mother and a father.”
But despite the fact that a primary purpose of marriage is the nurturing and protection of children, in today’s society children are seen as merely an option, or a personal choice.
“This has been going on for a very long time, not just the last 10 years,” Cordileone said. “The shift has focused to the adults. It is now seen as an adult-centered institution, rather than an institution that is designed for children to be connected to their mothers and fathers. So if it is just an adult institution, the whole reason for marriage having a place in the law evaporates.”
So if marriage is crucial to a flourishing society, and our current culture has a distorted view of marriage, what can we do to get back on track? Cordileone recognized that it will not be easy, because vocations are not easy.
“This all has to do with helping people develop virtue in their life, so that they can make a commitment and follow through on their commitment,” he said. “We hear a lot about how young people today are afraid of commitment, they don’t want to make a commitment to something that is going to last for their entire lives. And it does take a lot of inner strength to be able to do that.”
He suggested that we emphasize that living out marriage (or any vocation) is difficult, but it is always worth it.
“Anyone in any vocation – marriage, the priesthood, consecrated life – whatever your vocation is, you’re going to go through times when you think you should have read the fine print on your vocation. You weren’t anticipating this,” he said.
“But that’s exactly how God gets us to a deeper level of happiness that He wants us to have. He creates within us a capacity for happiness because it is a greater capacity to love – that is, to give of oneself and to bear with those sufferings.
“Whether they are big or small, whether they are inconveniences and annoyances or the greater sufferings everyone goes through in life, that’s how God creates in us a deeper capacity for love, and therefore, of happiness,” he continued. “Happiness with Him now and forever is what He wants for us. That’s why He gives us a vocation. That’s why it’s important we persevere in our vocation to the end of our life.”
Though it will be difficult, and often thankless, it is our duty as Catholics to proclaim the truth of marriage, family, and vocation to our society in order that we may lead others to virtue, happiness, and eternity with the Lord.
“It’s difficult to get this message across, with all the cultural filters in the media, entertainment, law, education, and all this,” Cordileone affirmed. “It’s hard to get that word through, but we just need to keep proclaiming the goodness of marriage, and keeping it focused on doing what we can for children in the concrete circumstances that they’re living in.”
Listen to the full conversation below:
A Closer Look airs weekdays at 6:00 p.m. Eastern/3:00 p.m. Pacific on Relevant Radio.