Guide to the Issues:

Guide to the Issues:
Marriage

Overview

  • “Marriage is a sacred union, ordained by God to be a life-long, sexually exclusive relationship between one man and one woman.   History, nature, social science, anthropology, religion, and theology all coalesce in vigorous support of marriage as it has always been understood:  a life-long union of male and female for the purpose of creating stable families.”  Focus on the Family
  • After individual human life itself, nothing is more precious or more essential to the survival and the success of human society than the family.  This is because human civilization is built from the bottom up, not the top down.  The first brick of the foundation is individual human life, and the second brick is the family.
  • Beyond natural law and even God, there is still a good reason to uphold the ideal of the traditional family.  The reason the married, one-man, one-woman natural family is the ideal family is that we know that both the spouses and the children in such families have a better chance in life.  Such children, for instance, do better academically, financially, emotionally, and behaviorally.”  Family Research Council   Peter Sprigg

History and Marriage

  • Marriage is not an American invention.  It has existed as an institution since the beginning of civilization, and thus supersedes our modern laws.  “Centuries of laws, policies, and traditions have grown up around marriage as a union of a man and a woman.”  Thomas Sowell  Jewish World Review
  • Every long-standing society has viewed marriage as a union of male and female.  Studies of previous civilizations reveal that when a society strays from the sexual ethic of marriage, it deteriorates and eventually disintegrates. See J.D. Unwin, Sexual Regulations and Human Behavior (London:  Williams & Norgate, 1933).
  • Analyzing studies spanning several thousand years on several continents, late Harvard sociologist Pitirim Sorokin found that virtually all political revolutions that brought about societal collapse were preceded by sexual revolutions in which marriage and family were no longer accorded premiere status.  As marriage and family ties disintegrated, the social restraints learned in families also disintegrated.  Societal chaos then ushered in tyrants who promised to restore order by any means.  Judge Darrell White (Retired)  Survey Says…Save Marriage  2001 Attorneys Ministry
  • In The Complete Marriage and Family Home Reference Guide, Dr. James Dobson cites J.D. Unwin, a British social anthropologist who spent seven years studying the births and deaths of eighty civilizations.  Dr. Unwin reported from his exhaustive research that every known culture in the world’s history has followed the same sexual pattern:  During its early days of existence, premarital and extramarital sexual relationships were strictly prohibited.  Great creative energy was associated with this inhibition of sexual expression, causing the culture to prosper.  Later in the life of the society, its people began to rebel against the prohibitions, demanding the freedom to express their internal passions.  As the mores weakened, the social energy abated, eventually resulting in the decay or destruction of the civilization.
  • Dr. Unwin concluded that the energy that’s holds a society together is sexual in nature.  When a man is devoted to one woman and one family, he is motivated to build, save, protect, plan, and prosper on their behalf.  However, when male and female sexual interests are dispersed and generalized, their effort is invested in the gratification of sensual desires.  Dr. Unwin wrote:  “Any human society is free either to display great energy, or to enjoy sexual freedom; the evidence is that they cannot do both for more than one generation.” Joseph Daniel Unwin, “Sexual Regulations and Cultural Behavior,” address given on March 27, 1935, to the medical section of the British Psychological Society, printed by Oxford University Press (London, England).

Nature and Marriage

  • Even a casual observation of nature reveals the vital distinctions between male and female and the need that each has for the other.  Gender distinctions are not simply an artificial social construct.  Men and women are uniquely designed to complement each other physically, emotionally, and spiritually.  Marriage is the means for melding the two sexes into a stronger and more complete whole.  Thus while marriage has intrinsic value of its own, a primary purpose of marriage is procreation.  Marriage is the natural and best means for the propagation of the human race.  Focus on the Family

Children and Marriage

  • The optimal environment for raising a child is one in which the child’s mother and father are married to each other.  Deliberately depriving a child of a mother or a father is not in the child’s best interest.  On average, when compared with children raised by both parents, children in single-parent homes fare worse in virtually every measure of well-being.  See, for example, D.A. Dawson, “Family Structure and Children’s Health and Well-being,” Journal of Marriage and the Family, 53:573-584 (1991).
  • Men and women are distinctly different.  Each gender brings vitally important-and unique- elements to a child’s development.  Research reveals that the presence of a father in the home affects children’s cognitive and verbal skills, academic performance, involvement in or avoidance of high-risk behaviors and crime, and emotional and psychological health.  See Blankenhorn, Fatherless America.  (New York: Basic Books, 1995).  See also, K.D. Pruett, Fatherneed.  (New York: Free Press, 2000).
  • A wealth of research and information has been published about the power and importance of the mother-child bond.  See for example, B. Hunter, The Power of Mother Love.  (Colorado Springs: Waterbrook Press, 1997).

As reported by the Family Research Council in Say “I Do” To Marriage in 2002

  • Marriage and stable families are the keys to preventing child poverty.
  • 32.5 percent of single-parent families with children under 18 were below the poverty level in 2000 versus six percent of married couple families with children under 18.  (U.S. Census Bureau)
  • 86 percent of Americans believe children should be raised in a household that has a married mother and father.  (Worthlin Worldwide Poll, 1999).
  • In a 2000 study of more than 30,000 children evaluated by pediatricians and family practitioners, children from single-parent households were twice as likely as children living with both parents to have emotional and behavioral problems.  (Pediatrics, Vol. 105).

Why Children Need a Male and Female Parent
Citizenlink   Glenn T. Stanton

  • “The cooperative input and influence of a male parent and a female parent is essential for proper child development.
  • “As fathering expert Dr. Kyle Pruett of Yale Medical School explains in Fatherneed:  Why Father Care is as Essential as Mother Care for Your Child, “fathers do not mother.”  Psychology Today explains, “fatherhood turns out to be a complex and unique phenomenon with huge consequences for the emotional and intellectual growth of children.”  A father, as a male parent, brings unique contributions to the parenting project.
  • Likewise, a mother, as a female, uniquely impacts the life and development of her child, as Dr. Brenda Hunter explains in her book, The Power of Mother Love:  Transforming Both Mother and Child.  Erik Erikson, a pioneer in the world of child psychology, explained that father love and mother love are qualitatively different kinds of love. As cited in Kyle D. Pruett, The Nurturing Father, (New York: Warner Books, 1987), p. 49.
  1. Mothers and Fathers parent Differently
  2. Mothers and Fathers Play Differently
  3. Fathers Push Limits; Mothers Encourage Security
  4. Mothers and Fathers Communicate Differently
  5. Fathers and Mothers Prepare Children for Life Differently
  6. Fathers Provide a Look at the World of Men; Mothers, the World of Women
  7. Fathers and Mothers Teach Respect for the Opposite Sex

When we disregard the gender distinctions of parental influence as unimportant or unnecessary, we seriously diminish the proper development of children. Kids need the active participation of a mother and a father, and both parents need to be true to their gender designs.  Both bring different and equally important things to the parenting project.  We impoverish children and society when we deny our kids the influence of a mother and father, because we limit their development into full, healthy adults.

Barbara Dafoe Whitehead writes,  “All this evidence gives rise to an obvious conclusion:  growing up in an intact two-parent family is an important source of advantage for American children.  Though far from perfect as a social institution, the intact family offers children greater security and better outcomes than its fastest growing alternatives: single-parent families and stepparent families.”  “Dan Quayle Was Right,” Atlantic Monthly (April 1993), p. 19.

Discrimination and Marriage

  • We elevate marriage in our laws over other relationships because marriage has proven over millennia to be an obvious societal good.  Marriage is open to any two individuals provided they meet certain criteria regarding age and blood relationship, and provided the individuals are of the opposite sex.  Focus on the Family

Love and Marriage

  • While love is vital, it is not the definitional element of marriage.  We love many people we do not marry.  Focus on the Family

Conclusion
“As Aristotle noted so long ago, the family is the foundation of society, being the smallest unit capable of reproducing and sustaining itself.  Therefore, the stability and health of families mirrors the stability and health of a culture. If the family is the fundamental unit of society, then marriage, the lifelong union between one man and one woman, is the basic building block of the family.”  Judge Darrell White (retired) 2001 FOF Attorneys Ministry  

Marriage is unquestionably good for individuals and society.  It deserves respect and protection.  Any efforts to redefine marriage destroy the institution. “The institution of marriage is absolutely critical to everything we have known in Western civilization.” Dr. James Dobson

Compiled by Cornerstone Family Council
Cornerstone Family Council is a non-profit, non-partisan research and education organization.  Nothing contained herein should be construed as an effort to aid or hinder any legislation.

For further information see Focus on the Family at family.org