In this series we will be looking at some of the basic principles of what makes marriage important from the Christian’s perspective. I will simply be considering some of the ancient wisdom that has stood the test of time and is found in the Biblical texts.
Marriage is for building
Sometimes the most important things in life are the things that we don’t see. The things we can easily overlook often turn out to be indispensable. Neglecting them can do damage to ourselves and others.
At university I studied Civil Engineering but hopefully you don’t need an engineering degree to know that buildings require foundations. In life we have to dig deep if we want to build high. If you don’t invest in going down, what you put up is going to fall down.
Righteousness exalts a nation, but sin condemns any people.
— Proverbs 14:24
Righteousness – that is living according to the pattern given by God – is not just good for the individuals concerned, but for their entire nation. A stable marriage is the foundation of a stable community and the ripples go beyond it’s own borders. A good marriage will have a positive effect on working environments, on education, and on health… The effects are far-reaching.
Dr Wade Horn, the first president of the National Fatherhood Initiative, told the story of young men in Central Park, New York. He wrote of groups caught up in a frenzy of sexual harassment, thefts and victimisations, and all in broad daylight. Even the presence of video cameras did little to deter to assailants.
Whilst many campaigned for a greater police presence Dr Horn asked a simple question, “Where have all the fathers gone?”
It turned out that, for those that did have a father at home, they were often absent, preoccupied with things other than being a good role model for their sons. A Catholic priest, Fr. Gordon MacRae, who wrote that of the young men he met in prison, eighty percent grew up in a home without their father.
A strong family unit, with good leadership has a good influence on society. But until such times as all families are able to function well there is an onus on all of us:-
Learn to do right; seek justice.
Defend the oppressed.
Take up the cause of the fatherless;
plead the case of the widow. — Isaiah 1:17
We have a calling to help build a health society; to be fathers to the fatherless, to strengthen and encourage marriages. We must train our sons and daughters for life as responsible, godly men and women who know how to live life well, married or not.
The following quote is not taken from the Bible, apparently it is an old Chinese proverb, yet it conveys something of the importance of good marriages as a sound foundation for building society.
When there is love in marriage, there is harmony in the home;
when there is harmony in the home, there is contentment in the community;
when there is contentment in the community, there is prosperity in the nation;
when there is prosperity in the nation, there is peace in the world.
When marriage is treated with proper honour, and when married life is done well, the effects are significant. Great marriages are essential for building great society.