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 protecting
Perhaps you’ve seen wildlife documentaries depicting the birth of animals on the African plains? It always amazes me how, for many animals, their young are born almost independent.
There are antelopes that, within minutes of being born, are up on their feet and able to run around confidently. Their survival depends on it. Predators such as lion and cheetah have no qualms about having baby buck for lunch.
As humans we are in stark contrast to much of the animal kingdom. We are born completely helpless. It can take us a year to learn to walk unaided, still longer to run. We are unable to defend ourselves.
Whoever fears the Lord* has a secure fortress, and for their children it will be a refuge. — Proverbs 14:26
Marriage is given by God to provide a child with the best possible start in life. Two parents committed to each other and to their child, providing security and protection until that child has reached maturity.
Protecting a child includes shielding them from things external, but also things internal. It means providing them with an environment where they are safe from harm physically, mentally, emotionally and spiritually.
To grow up with two parents who love each other and are committed to each other, provides the security and stability for the development of a mature, well rounded and fully adjusted adult.
God created us with a need to grow in family. We experience vulnerability and we experience utter dependence and in the same way that we experience care and provision from our earthy parents we learn that God is our ultimate carer and provider.
Many studies have been carried out looking at the effects of marriage on children. It has been repeatedly shown that if a child has a married mum and dad at home, they are on average more likely to:
- experience better health
- do better academically
- experience ongoing financial stability
- avoid substance or alcohol abuse
- have a successful marriage themselves
A stable marriage between a man and a woman, has been shown conclusively to be the best place for children to grow up. God designed marriage and when we live his way we get his outcome.
Within the family the protection works at multiple levels. Men are to be protectors of their families, parents to be protectors of their children; protecting the vulnerable and all those within their sphere of influence. Through training and as a role model they teach appropriate behaviour and curtail inappropriate behaviour, thus protecting the immediate family and the community beyond.
* “Fear the Lord” is an expression used in many Bible translations to convey a sense of “having such a reverence for Him that it has a great impact on the way we live our lives. The fear of God is respecting Him, obeying Him, submitting to His discipline, and worshipping Him in awe.” Ref.