Doctrinal Research Paper: Marriage
Marriage is the basic foundation of the family in society. As rates of marriage decrease, other things also are lacking in the strength they previously had. The Family: A Proclamation to the World holds great truths that give us the standard of society that we should be standing for. If we are to return to our father in Heaven, we must maintain our families and let the truths be known to those we are around.
Key words: marriage, society, proclamation
At an ever increasing rate, people are choosing to cohabitate rather than to marry. Marriage is a time old event and decision that is now being questioned of its importance and significance. Our societies need to have a basic structure and that has always been found within the home, families. It is more than a simple tradition, it is a divinely purposed institution to help us return to our father in Heaven.
How Does the Lord Feel?
God’s standards do not change. They never have and they never will. There have been many phases and trends that our society has gone through. In the 1970’s there was the “hippie” movement and they were all about just doing what you want and having a free life. They wanted to be completely unattached. Ever since that time there has been an evolution of the societal thought process concerning Marriage and relationships. In the Book of Saint Mark (10:6-8) in the Bible it says, “But from the beginning of the creation God made them male and female. For this cause shall a man leave his father and mother, and cleave to his wife; and they twain shall be one flesh: so then they are no more twain, but one flesh.” This scripture has had much meaning in my life recently. Being married, I know what it feels like to be one with your spouse and the power it gives you to increase your own abilities.
The world is so large and one of the biggest problems that people face is feelings of loneliness. Heavenly Father has a beautiful plan, The Plan of Salvation that will guide us back to him. Children are reared by loving parents and they have feelings of belonging. The home is a place to learn and grow. From that we continue on to adulthood and find someone who compliments us and us them. We do not have to be alone.
The Purpose and Roll of Family
Every person needs to have relationships in which they can trust and in which they learn and understand life principles. In The Family: A Proclamation to the World, it states: “We call upon responsible citizens and officers of government everywhere to promote those measures designed to maintain and strengthen the family as the fundamental unit of society.” In that statement we find that the family is the building block of society, a society that works and runs off of values. If you take out the foundation of something, it becomes weak and will not withstand trials that come its way.
There are so many challenges that families are faced with each day as individuals strive to find their potential. An example was the beginning of the feminist movement in the 1960’s and 70’s. Women wanted to have a place in the workforce, not only that they wanted to start leading out. That is one place that I see the crumbling of marriage. What society deems important has continually been sliding marriage and family responsibilities out of the spotlight.
Elder M. Russell Ballard said,
We cannot and we must not allow the school, community, television,
or even Church organizations to establish our children’s values. The Lord
has placed this duty with mothers and fathers. It is one from which we
cannot escape and one that cannot be delegated. Others may help, but
parents remain accountable. Therefore, we must guard the sanctity of
our homes because that is where children develop their values, attitudes,
and habits for everyday living. (p.79-80)
This is why the institution of family is so important. When there is the proper order, children learn how to function in society and have security while they develop into responsible, independent adults.
The fight of standing up for marriage and family has always been around. We are battling with ever increasing force as Satan does likewise. Within the church young adults are delaying marriages and concerned about having the absolute perfect situation in order to make that step in their lives. That is part of Satan’s tug on us to be miserable. In a talk given by Elder Holland in a BYU devotional he concluded about this topic: “Certainly do not give into that being who is bent on the destruction of your happiness. He wants everyone to be miserable like unto himself. Face your doubts. Master your fears. ‘Cast not away therefore your confidence.’ Stay the course and see the beauty of life unfold for you.” (1999) There is a huge part of us that wants to fit in, that wants to keep the peace, that wants to simply care for our own family. We think that we are safeguarded if we just care for our individual marriage and family, but that will not work as the fight is getting more and more intense. Heavenly Father has pure intent and reason in the proper structure and it is through this structure of marriage that we may return to him.
What is expected of us?
We know that our entire responsibility is not only to take care of our own family and to have marriage be important to us. As members of the church, we are expected to share what we believe and to stand up for what is right in our community and within our sphere of influence. In 1995 we were given The Family Proclamation. We did not receive new doctrine within this document, but truths were reconfirmed. In the October 2005 Conference, M. Russell Ballard said,
Today I call upon members of the Church and on committed parents,
grandparents, and extended family members everywhere to hold fast to
this great proclamation, to make it a banner not unlike General Moroni’s
“title of liberty,” and to commit ourselves to live by its precepts. As we
are all part of a family, the proclamation applies to everyone.
It makes sense to me that the fundamental unit of society is family, therefore marriage, because it is the overlying unit of society as we are all children of God and have a responsibility to care for and love those around us.
Not Being Married
Part of the trend that we have is that of simply living together and not seeing the need for marriage, because we can still be a happy family. There are many things wrong with this idea. As I have already quoted the Family Proclamation, it expounds on the structure of family. It tells us that marriage is to be between a male and female and those future children have the right to be brought to this earth to parents who are legally and lawfully married.
When we start to break the foundation we see so many parts that crumble on our structure. I found a list of “Benefits of family for children and adults” from familyfacts.org and two of the facts were,
Married mothers tend to create a better home environment for their
infants. Married mothers also tended to interact more positively with
their infants compared to cohabiting or single mothers.
Married mothers are less likely to experience abuse and violence. Even
when the very high rates of abuse of separated and divorced mothers were
added into the statistic, the rates of abuse among mothers who had ever been
married were still lower than the rates of abuse among women who had never
married and those who were cohabiting. Among mothers who were currently
married or had ever been married, the rate of abuse was 38.5 per 1,000 mothers.
Among mothers who have never been married the rate was 81 per 1,000 mothers.
There are many more statistics that show the benefits of marriage on all individuals in society/the family. Marriage is an important institution that has so much weight in the direction of our society.
The choice to marry is more than keeping to a tradition. Marriage is ordained of God and we have to stand up while the society crumbles and do all that we can to maintain the foundational structure of family. Our goal is to return to our father in Heaven and this can only be achieved through the family unit.
Ballard, M. Russell (1991). Ensign, May, 79-80.
Ballard, M. Russell (2005). What Matters Most is What Lasts Longest https://www.lds.org/general-conference/2005/10/what-matters-most-is-what-lasts- longest?lang=eng
Benefits of Family for Children and Adults. Retrieved from http://familyfacts.org/briefs/6/benefits-of-family-for-children-and-adults
The Family: A Proclamation to the World
Holland, Jeffrey R. (1999). Cast Not Away Therefore Your Confidence. Brigham Young University devotional address. Retrieved from https://www.lds.org/ensign/2010/04/making-the-marriage-decision?lang=eng
Saint Mark, The King James version of the Bible.
I hope that was enjoyable!!! (=