Commentary

Marriage—Soon Obsolete?

Americans say yes, but they are wrong.
 

Is marriage on the way out? Is adultery still wrong? Are home and family life to disappear from society? How and when did the institution of marriage originate? Does it serve any necessary purpose? Herbert Armstrong asked those questions well over 40 years ago in his booklet Why Marriage! Soon Obsolete?

The title of that booklet flashed before my eyes when I read a recent Associated Press headline using the same terms. “Four in 10 say marriage is becoming obsolete,” it said (emphasis mine). “[N]early one in three American children is living with a parent who is divorced, separated or never-married,” it said. “More people are accepting the view that wedding bells aren’t needed to have a family” (Nov. 18, 2010).

Those people couldn’t be more wrong! I know the negative statistics surrounding the families without monogamous marriages. And I have, over the years, worked with people whose lives have shattered as a result.

I know and have studied for years the figures surrounding the devastation caused by single-parent, broken families produced by couples without the courage nor the sense of responsibility to make a lifetime marriage commitment. Not to mention the terrible psychological damage done to those who deign to establish a “family” within a homosexual relationship.

But more, I know, from a lifetime’s experience, the very opposite—the unspeakable blessings, the peace, the happiness and the security that come from being bound in marriage to one wife for almost half a century, and the tremendous stability such a relationship produces in a second and on to a third generation!

I know because I’ve simply lived it!

I’ve heard every argument over the years from the feminists, the leftists, the so-called swingers of the ’70s, and the morally deprived generations produced from the beatnik to the rap generation. Most have argued against marriage as the ideal way to build healthy families and societies. And most used their argument to justify their own chosen immoral lifestyle.

Well, I’m thankful that, as a young person seeking after truth, I came across one who preached the truth, and who challenged his listeners to prove he was right!

I took the challenge and proved it!

As a young married parent of two 42 years ago, I read Herbert Armstrong’s booklet prophesying of a coming generation that would see marriage as largely obsolete. Now I read the headline that shows the fulfillment of that prophecy.

The sure thing about prophecy is that all you have to do is wait, and one day it will be fulfilled.

The Pew report that sparked the newspaper article revealed that around 29 percent of children under 18 now live with a parent or parents who are unwed or no longer married—five times more than in 1960. Among these, about 15 percent have parents who are divorced or separated; the other 14 percent have parents who were never married. A notable chunk within those two groups—6 percent—have parents who live together, but decided to raise children without getting married.

When I attended elementary school from the mid-1940s to early 1950s, I did not know the meaning of the term divorce. I was the only child in my class from a single-parent home. My mother was widowed. I consciously felt my status diminished by not having a father like all my peers.

By the time my eldest son reached high school, half his peers came from either single-parent homes or homes that had suffered the identity trauma of divorce and remarriage.

We pride ourselves on just how we have “matured” as a highly developed, politically correct society. But in reality, our society is rapidly devolving back to the pre-Flood Noachian era of trashed moral standards, no absolutes, and popularized perversion in human relationships. The result was annihilation!

Your Bible prophesies of those times repeating themselves today, times of mass carousing, times when the God-given laws of marriage would be trashed as obsolete! (Matthew 24:37-38).

We live in this society today.

The Pew poll revealed that about 39 percent of Americans say marriage is becoming obsolete. As the Associated Press brought out, “that sentiment follows U.S. census data released in September that showed marriages hit an all-time low of 52 percent for adults 18 and over. In 1978, just 28 percent believed marriage was becoming obsolete” (ibid.).

But the deepest concern ought to be that our society has lost the definition, the meaning, and the vision of the term marriage as revealed in Scripture—applying to the monogamous relationship between one man and one woman (Genesis 2:24).

“When asked what constitutes a family … four of five surveyed pointed … to an unmarried, opposite-sex couple with children or a single parent. Three of five people said a same-sex couple with children was a family” (ibid.).

What would happen within another lifetime? Could the marriage institution itself even survive? The reality is that if marriage as an institution does not survive, then civilization as we know it will collapse!

Thank the Eternal Creator of man and woman, the Creator of the institutions of marriage and family, that we will never reach that stage! The Son of God, the Savior of mankind, has declared that when we see society degenerate back to its pre-Flood condition, the Creator is about to intervene in the affairs of man! He will put a defining stop to humankind’s rebellious, anti-God ways, and usher in the establishment of His very own government on Earth!

“But of that day and hour knoweth no man .… But as the days of Noe were, so shall also the coming of the Son of man be” (Matthew 24:36-37).