Is Marriage Worth Defending?


August 6th, 2010 Posted in Marriage |

Alan F.H. Wisdom, IRD

Executive Summary

By many measures, marriage has weakened in our society over the past two generations. Fewer people marry. More people divorce. Increasing numbers of people move through a series of sexual relationships without ever forming a lasting marriage.

Not only the practice but also the understanding of marriage has shifted. Our society’s view of marriage, centered on mutual emotional satisfaction, is already far from classic Christian teaching. Now pro-homosexuality advocates are seeking to radically redefine the institution, reducing it to a relationship between any “two people who love each other.” Amidst all this conflict, is it worth the cost for Christians to continue to defend and promote this embattled institution?

The Bible teaches that God brought together man and woman in marriage for the good of all humankind. The love between husband and wife is a temporal image of the eternal bond between God and his people. All major branches of the church bless and honor marriage for the way in which it unites the two sexes as “one flesh,” provides the appropriate setting for childbearing and childrearing, offers a legitimate channel for sexual desire, and fosters faithful lifelong companionship between husband and wife.

Marriage is the most basic building block of human society. Almost every known culture distinguishes the marriage of man and woman from other relationships. Typically, marriage is the means by which children are ensured the care of a socially obligated father and mother. The state has a crucial interest in marriage as the incubator for the next generation of citizens. Contemporary social science confirms the benefits of marriage—in terms of physical and psychological health, social adjustment, and economic prosperity—for both adults and children.

As marriage comes under challenge, U.S. Christians face three options: They can yield to the cultural trends devaluing marriage. Or they can admit defeat in society but try somehow to maintain traditional teachings inside the church. Or they can swim against the current and insist that both church and society lend a hand in strengthening marriage. We believe that only this last option is faithful to the Scriptures and conducive to the long-term good of society.

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