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marriage debateIn the historical and often hysterical debate surrounding the legal definition of marriage, there is one crucial class of people whose voice has not been heard and whose fate and future will be affected profoundly by the radical changes being proposed and initiated.

It seems that the whole marriage debate has been concerned with the rights, real and alleged, of adults and has failed to address our responsibility, as adults, to the millions of children who will be impacted by the changes to the law, now and in the future.

Paul Amato of Penn State University is unequivocal in his summary of the negative impact of the breakdown of the traditional family on the healthy development of children:

Research clearly demonstrates that children growing up with two continuously married parents are less likely than other children to experience a wide range of cognitive, emotional, and social problems, not only during childhood, but also in adulthood. Although it is not possible to demonstrate that family structure is the cause of these differences, studies that have used a variety of sophisticated statistical methods, including controls for genetic factors, suggest that this is the case. This distinction is even stronger if we focus on children growing up with two happily married biological parents.

Throughout the entirety of human history, the essential building block of society has been the family. Indeed, until very recently, the very purpose of marriage was inextricably connected to the family. Men and women got married with the expectation of having children. The future of the married couple, and the future of the wider community of which they were a part, was dependent on the begetting and raising of children.

It’s all too often forgotten in these heady days of socially-engineered change that children are always the bottom-line. Their absence leads to an aging population in the short-term, with all the associated problems that this causes, and will lead in the longer-term, which in hindsight will seem like no time at all, to the complete collapse of our so-called civilized society.

This is not to be unnecessarily alarmist. We are already living in a society that has been living beyond its means for many years. The debt-burden which weighs heavily on the global economy demands continuous economic growth. It does not take a genius to work out that a shrinking and aging population cannot sustain sufficient levels of demand to meet the demands of a global economy addicted to exponential growth. A shrinking market must inevitably mean the end of such growth and a possible cataclysmic global meltdown.

In truth, the present marriage debate would not have been possible if we had not already subverted and abandoned the time-honoured and time-tested presumption that marriage existed for the purpose of having children. Marriage has never been an end or thing in itself. It has always been a servant of the family, the means by which the desired end of giving birth to future generations is achieved in the most socially cohesive and healthy way.

In making marriage an autonomous thing, divorced from the family, we are imperiling the future of the society in which we live.

Marriage is not about our own desires for gratification. It is about our responsibility, as adults, to raise children in stable and loving environments. This is good for children but it’s also good for adults. It teaches us to be grown-ups. It teaches us to love in the fullest sense of the word, which is the giving of ourselves sacrificially to others.

To become a grown-up is to learn how to love. It is to realize that love is not a feeling or, as Tina Turner might say, “a second-hand emotion”. It is an act that is also a gift. Marital love is choosing to give ourselves to others, including the children who are the natural fruits of the conjugal act. This is the ultimate purpose of marital love, as it is the ultimate purpose of married life. “The importance of increasing the number of children growing up with two happily and continuously married parents…is self-evident,” concludes Paul Amato. “Children are the innocent victims of their parents’ inability to maintain harmonious and stable homes.”

Make no mistake, children will be the biggest losers in the headlong abandonment of traditional marriage and the traditional family. Like lambs to the slaughter, future generations of children are set to be sacrificed on the altar erected to the god of sexual gratification. They are the voiceless victims, screaming in the vacuum of a loveless society. Whether we know it or not, or whether we acknowledge it or not, we stand condemned by the silence of the lambs.

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4 replies to this post
  1. This essay reminded me of a passage in Elizabeth Goudge’s “The Bird in the Tree” (which I just finished re-reading): “Unless human beings keep their promises we have no sort of hope for anything but chaos for the future…God knows faithfulness to children is the most elementary principle of conduct under the sun, even the animals understand it. The treatment of their children by many of the men and women of this generation passes my comprehension. Your cruelty to them, for the sake of your own selfish passions, is a thing I cannot understand.” This book was written post WWII. How much more has society deteriorated since then!

  2. There are several reasons why a couple may decide that they no longer want to be married, and financial problems are often high on the list

    If we want more family values, then we need to accept for social democracy. It’s too bad America and stress on individual cause so many underlying problems. Start with a civilization that is civil to all levels of their society, and you will get higher morals.

  3. This research points to a hierarchy of marriage types ranked by their benefit to children, and all of these types would deliver greater benefits with greater stability. Those interested in making sure that children grow up in the best possible circumstances would be well advised to abandon efforts to define the ideal form of marriage for enforcement by the State and concentrate on strengthening the real forms we find among us.

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