Saturday, 03 August 2013 13:18

Marriage Benefits

Written by  Bob Crittendon
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Family life is of great benefit to us - and we recognize that a home where God is worshipped and honored and His principles are placed in motion can produce a high degree of security and satisfaction.  I am so grateful to celebrate this month 23 years of marriage to my lovely, wonderful, and Godly wife, Beth.  We have seen the Lord bless our union and our family in amazing ways, for which I am deeply thankful!

 

The home can be an instigator and incubator for spiritual growth, as families learn to live with and love each other in the way that God would intend.  As a result, we are strengthened, our lives are more secure, and we send a strong message to our culture about the importance of family and the sanctity of marriage.

 

 Psalm 103 opens with these 2 verses: Bless the Lord, O my soul; And all that is within me, bless His holy name!  Bless the Lord, O my soul, And forget not all His benefits…The Psalmist goes on to enumerate just some of those benefits.  A relationship with Christ and following His principles produces satisfaction, because His way is best!   I believe that marriage carries a unique set of benefits.

 

We’ve heard a lot about marriage and “benefits” recently, as the Supreme Court has decided that gay couples who get a marriage license in states where such relationships are incorrectly viewed as “marriage” should receive the same benefits that traditional married couples receive.  Honestly, you might try to extend material benefits to these couples, but the benefits of real marriage are more than a check in a mail or some sort of government-granted right.

 

Marriage is a God-ordained institution, and to be in a committed relationship predicated on love and respect for one another, recognizing that the Lord has joined the two parties together, gives a tremendous degree of satisfaction.  A thriving marriage can encourage and support each of us, and provide a stable environment in which children can grow up.  Our homes can be havens for security and habitations in which we can grow spiritually. 

 

In a recent piece that Marvin Olasky wrote for WORLD, he highlights a book by Mary Eberstadt, How the West Really Lost God.  In setting up his piece, Olasky quotes from the National Marriage Project, saying that the “Great Crossover” is now upon us:  the median age at which women first give birth, 25.7 years, now falls below the median age at first marriage, 26.5.  That’s because 48 percent of all first births now come outside the comforting bounds of a two-parent family. 

 

He writes that one reason for this crossover is clearly declining faith in the cross—fewer people believe what God teaches about marriage.  He then cites Eberstadt’s contention that the decline in family formation could lead to a further decline in religious belief.  He states that she flips the conventional wisdom - first religious decline, then family decline - and argues that family formation increases religious involvement but unformed or broken families lead to a broken church.  She puts her thesis in italics: “Something about living in families makes people more receptive to religiosity and the Christian creed.”

 

Olasky adds that God uses child-bearing and child-raising to draw people to Himself; they learn that they are not the center of the world, that they belong to their spouses and to God.  He says that self-focus is the chief obstacle to God-focus, and when family trumps self, the road to transformation providentially becomes open.

 

These writers highlight spiritual benefits to traditional marriage, which can have enormous social implications and provide a strong foundation for a stable society.

 

Unfortunately, the trends are moving in an opposite trajectory.  The latest National Marriage Project report  points out that we are witnessing a striking exodus from marriage, especially among high school-, but not college-educated, young people, for whom raising children amid unstable cohabiting relationships and serial partnerships is in danger of becoming the new norm. 

 

This rapid decline of marriage among the almost 60 percent of the nation who are high school-educated but not college-educated has been dramatic.  As recently as the 1980s, only 13 percent of the children of moderately-educated mothers were born outside of marriage.  By the late 2000s, this figure rose to a striking 44 percent!

 

While I believe the Scriptures teach that the traditional marriage structure is the most effective, I applaud those single parents who attempt to raise children and provide stability in situations, often not of their own making, in which families become fractured.

 

A basic premise that I like to share is: God’s way is best!  Marriage, as defined by God, is a relationship with multiple benefits - to each individual, to the families that marriages anchor, and to the society at large. 

 

 

Last modified on Saturday, 03 August 2013 13:26
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