On September 23, 1995, a Proclamation to the World was made concerning marriage and families. The Proclamation begins with: "We the First Presidency and the Council of the Twelve Apostles of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, solemnly proclaim that marriage between a man and a woman is ordained of God and that the family is central to the Creator's plan for the eternal destiny of His children…."
The Proclamation continues: "The First commandment that God gave to Adam and Eve pertained to their potential for parenthood as husband and wife. We declare that God's commandment for His children to multiply and replenish the earth remains in force. We further declare that God has commanded that the sacred powers of procreation are to be employed only between man and woman, lawfully wedded as husband and wife…."
The Proclamation further states: "… By divine design, fathers are to preside over their families in love and righteousness and are responsible to provide the necessities of life and protection for their families. Mothers are primarily responsible for the nurture of their children…."
This Proclamation states very clearly how Heavenly Father feels about marriage and family. I looked for other evidence for the importance of marriage in building strong families, communities and nations. I found a number of sources that explained clearly why marriage is good for everyone. One source listed a number of "legal and practical ways" that marriage "changes your life." Some of those benefits are as follows: "filing joint income tax forms," "family partnerships," "inheriting a share of your spouse's estate," "receiving an exemption from both estate taxes and gift taxes for all property you give or leave to your spouse," "receiving Social Security, Medicare, and disability benefits for spouses," "receiving veterans and military benefits for spouses," "obtaining insurance benefits through a spouse's employer," "visiting spouse in a hospital intensive care unit," "making medical decisions for your spouse" if needed, and "making burial or other final arrangements." This source lists other legal and practical reasons for marriage.
The New York Times printed some results from a study on marriage . "A body of demographic research presented at the Conference of the Population Association of America today indicates that marriage offers dramatic emotional, financial and even health benefits over the single life and cohabitation." According to Linda Waite, the association's president, commitment increases with marriage, and this "enhanced commitment" "increases all levels of the support that individuals bring to their relationship and lives." Waite argued that "the married enjoy better health, more money, and more satisfying sex."
In an article written by Rebecca Dalmas entitled "Why Marriage?" the author wrote: "Yet while marriage is a social state and lifestyle, and it is based on a philosophy of well being, it is also based on innate biological forces." The author states, "Like any law, the institution of marriage does two things: it provides consequences and it teaches. Marriage, as strange as it sounds, makes divorce possible; or in other words, marriage improves the enforcement of parental rights and responsibilities when a couple parts. Secondly, but just as essentially, it teaches the importance of commitment before sex…." "…Most importantly, marriage helps us manage our drives and their consequences toward the best possible outcome."
Another source explained why a "healthy marriage is not just a luxury item, its something we should strive for and expect. Marriage researchers have determined that having a healthy, happy, fulfilling marriage benefits all family members." This source listed marriage statistics from research by the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services and the Healthy Marriage Institute. These statistics all compare families when the parents have healthy marriages to those with unhealthy ones. In families when parents have healthy marriages, all family members are "healthier" both physically and emotionally. These families tend to be "wealthier" and to enjoy "better relationships" between spouses as well as between parents and children. Members of families when parents have healthy marriages are "less likely" to attempt or commit suicide, abuse drugs and alcohol, contract STD's, commit violent crimes, or live in poverty. Men in healthy marriage "live longer," have more "stability in employment", make "higher wages," and have a "more satisfying sexual relationship." Women in healthy marriages have a "more satisfying relationship." They are "less likely to be victims of domestic violence, sexual assault or other violent crimes." Children and youth raised by parents in healthy marriages are "more likely to succeed academically" and "attend college." They are "less likely" to "commit delinquent behaviors," "be a victim of physical or sexual abuse," "be sexually active as teenagers," or "become pregnant as a teenager or impregnate someone." They have decreased "chances of divorcing when they get married." They are more likely to "be open and honest" and to "seek wisdom and understanding from God." Communities with a "higher percentage of couples in healthy marriages" also benefit. They have "higher rates" of "physically" and "emotionally healthy citizens." They have "higher rates of educated citizens" and "home ownership" as well as "higher property values." They have "lower rates" for "domestic violence," "crime statistics," "teenage pregnancy," "juvenile delinquency," and "migrations" and "decreased need for social services."
I believe that God knew about all the benefits that come from marriage. I believe that He ordained marriage because He wanted all of His children to have the benefits of it. I also believe that we can strengthen the communities we live in and our nation by building strong, healthy, happy families.