Families, communities, and nations are strengthened by individuals who understand that marriage between a man and a woman is ordained of God. Members of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints believe strongly that marriage and family can be eternal. Such a marriage and family does not come automatically or without intention.
In September 1995 President Gordon B. Hinckley presented a new document to the sisters of the Church of Jesus Christ and to the world. It is titled “The Family: A Proclamation to the World. This document proclaims in its first paragraph “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.”
Lest anyone think that the Prophets and Apostles who authorized this document do not know what they are doing, another organization published another document that supports the proclamation on the family. The document published by the Ruth Institute lists ten reasons why God would ordain marriage between a man and a woman.
1. Your marriage protects the rights of children to know their parents. Children need to experience the love of a mother and father. Children are entitled to a relationship with both parents – to know and be known by both parents….
2. Your marriage directs sexual activity into healthy channels. Marriage creates an expectation that the husband and wife will not be making babies outside of the home with other partners who cannot commit to the child….
3. Your marriage teaches children about the permanence of true love. Children of divorce consistently say that they are unsure whether they can make love last. Children of divorce are more likely to get divorced themselves….
4. Your marriage prevents fatherlessness. Marriage is society’s most reliable way of attaching fathers to their children during the many years it takes for them to reach adulthood. Large numbers of scientific studies over decades have consistently shown that father absence presents problems for children….
5. Your marriage helps your children trust and be trustworthy. The family is a child’s first link to the rest of the human race. Parents spend a lot of time wiping noses and tying shoes, which might seem to be menial chores anyone can do. But as a by-product of fulfilling these mundane tasks, parents convey to the child that he or she matters to them…
6. Your marriage saves taxpayers money. When the family breaks down, the taxpayers often step in: government programs for poverty relief, health, education, and, all too often, juvenile delinquency and criminal justice. One study announces its estimate of the taxpayer costs of father absence in its title: “The One Hundred Billion Dollar Man.” This figure is their estimate of the taxpayer cost of fatherlessness nationwide….
7. Your marriage sets the standard for your children’s future. “Fathers who treat the mothers of their children with respect and deal with conflict within the relationship in an adult and appropriate manner are more likely to have boys who understand how they are to treat women and who are less likely to act in an aggressive fashion toward females. Girls with involved respectful fathers see how they should expect men to treat them and are less likely to become involved in violent or unhealthy relationships.” …
8. Your marriage reduces violence in the community. The most important predictor of criminal behavior is not race, income, or religious affiliation. It’s father-absence. Neighborhoods without fathers are neighborhoods without men able and willing to confront errant youth, chase threatening gangs, and reproach delinquent fathers. The absence of fathers deprives the community of those little platoons that informally but effectively control the boys on the street….
9. Your marriage reduces poverty. In the past, children were largely assured an intact home, and poverty often depended on what a father did for a living. But fatherlessness and other forms of family breakdown now affect about half of American children. Child poverty is more likely to depend on whether children live with their fathers….
10. Your marriage makes marriage available to the next generation. Each of us has a marriage “imprint” based upon the marriage of our parents. Can you imagine entire communities without any marriage modeling at all? For instance, in the Sandtown-Winchester neighborhood of Baltimore in which the killing of Freddie Gray and subsequent riots took place, only 13% of children experience a two-parent home. Children have a harder time understanding what marriage is, how it functions, or how to behave in marriage, since they see permanent relationships so rarely. Such a weak marriage culture also makes it harder for young adults to find a dating pool of qualified partners to choose form. Their acquaintances have most likely not seen or experienced the benefits of a functional marriage either.
These are ten solid reasons why our loving Heavenly Father would ordain marriage between a man and a woman. He wants to protect His sons and His daughters and to create an environment where all of them can thrive.
In my studies I learned of a marriage counselor who was working with men who were not married to the mother of their children. Some of the men had children with several women and were not married to any of them. The counselor was working with one man who wanted to make his current relationship permanent. However, the man did not know anyone who was in a long- term marriage. He had no examples to follow. This did not mean that he would fail in his quest, but it does mean that he would have a more difficult time of doing it.
Heavenly Father had numerous good reasons for ordaining marriage between a man and a woman. One of His many reasons was to create an environment where all His children could grow, develop, and become like Him. Those individuals who understand the important of marriage between a man and a woman can and do strengthen their families, communities, and nations.