Wednesday, August 03, 2005

Egocentric Culture Losing the Purpose of Marriage

Egocentric Culture Losing the Purpose of Marriage
[ECUSA] [General]
By Kathryn Hooks
August 3, 2005

(AgapePress) - The supremacy of autonomy in our society pervades every avenue of the culture -- including the institution of marriage. Same-sex marriage debates heat up the political and cultural front lines as homosexual activists argue for their rights to express their sexual feelings and normalize them through redefining marriage. While same-sex marriage claims center stage in the marriage debate, the homosexual's view of marriage as a self-serving institution is manifesting itself in heterosexual marriage trends as well.

Traditionally, society has viewed procreation and the raising of children as a central purpose for the institution of marriage, and family-centered communities have represented an integral part of the American way of life. However, this view is in decline as the national birth rate decreases and culture caters to divorce and cohabitation with little regard for the detrimental consequences children face in broken and fragile families. In July, The National Marriage Project -- an initiative located at New Jersey's Rutgers University -- released its The State of Our Unions 2005, an analysis of the state of marriage in America, and a key finding highlighted this decline in the child-centeredness of our nation's homes.

The report states Americans on average are having fewer children and currently less than 33 percent of all households include children. That compares to 1960 when slightly less than 50 percent of all households included children. It is projected that by 2010 only 28 percent of American households will include children. This declining figure and the diminishing presence of children in a majority of households inevitably results in fewer homes, neighborhoods, and communities where the interests of children hold high priority. Of the households that do contain children, a significant percentage fail to provide the stability a child needs. The report noted the increased percentage of children growing up in fragile homes due to increases in divorce, out-of-wedlock births, and unmarried cohabitation.

These trends are consistent with the evolving view that marriage and the raising of children are separate endeavors. According to one survey, as reported in the study, nearly 70 percent of Americans view the main purpose of marriage as something other than having children. The effect of this attitude is seen as more parents considering divorce decide not to hold marriages together for the sake of their children. A nationally-representative 1994 survey cited in the report found only 15 percent of the population agreed parents with children "should stay together even if they don't get along."

To Fill the Earth with His Glory …
In chapter one of the Bible, God established the first marriage creating male and female in His image, and then "[He] blessed them and said to them, 'Be fruitful and increase in number; fill the earth and subdue it' (Genesis 1:28)." God created marriage between a man and a woman for the purpose of procreation in order to fill the earth with His glory. Deuteronomy Chapters 6 and 11 paint the home and daily family living as the training ground for teaching virtue and the ways of the Lord. It is the responsibility of parents to nurture and train children in preparation for joining and benefiting society to the furtherance of the Kingdom of God.

Overwhelming data shows the best environment in which children thrive and grow is a stable, harmonious home with both biological parents. This type of family structure is modeled in God's design and purpose for marriage.

Jesus speaks to the permanence of covenant marriage stating, "So they are no longer two, but one. Therefore what God has joined together, let man not separate (Matthew 19:6)." As taught by the apostle Paul in Philippians, covenant marriage is a model not only for children but also for the world to see Christ's relationship with the church -- one of commitment and unfailing love.

A materialistic, egocentric culture has elevated adult pleasure over the interests of children. Is it any wonder marriage lies on the brink of redefinition by the homosexual agenda when society is losing sight of the intrinsic purpose for the institution of marriage -- procreation and the raising of children? Until the truth about God's covenant design and purpose for marriage and family is taught vehemently without excuse in our church pews, schools, and communities, children will continue to suffer the consequences as the disconnect between marriage and raising children widens.

Kathryn Hooks is director of media and public relations for the American Family Association in Tupelo, Mississippi. For more information on preparing, strengthening, and restoring marriages according to God's design and purpose, she recommends a visit to the "Marriage Savers" website.

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