The Importance of Marriage
Almost everything of lasting value in civilization has its roots in the family. The family was the first successful peace group – the man and woman learning how to adjust their temperaments to one another, while at the same time teaching the pursuit of peace to their children. In fact, there is no greater training ground for the development of the ‘fruitage of the spirit’ than in the family relationship.
Consequently, if the families are good, the society is likewise good. The great cultural stability of the Jewish people, and any other nation, lies in the strength of their family groups. Marriage, as the yoking together of a man and a woman in a bond of partnership and love, forms a stable foundation which can foster peace, which, in turn, leads to happiness.
However, we must recognize in the 21st century that marriage and family life are not identical. Many modern families are single parent households. For whatever reason, marriage was not pursued or was not successful or resulted in the early death of one of the partners. Yet, the ‘spirit of family’ can exist and flourish in such circumstances resulting in similar peace and happiness even through the ideal family arrangement of two parents is not available.
When we extol the values of marriage and the two-parent household, we never want to discourage or dismiss the valiant and courageous single parents who are striving to honor the Father in their current circumstances. Though they do not have a physical mate to share the load, they do have a spiritual helper, the Spirit of Truth, which is the presence of the Christ as though he were actually in their midst.
“If you love me, keep my commands. And I will ask the Father, and he will give you another advocate to help you and be with you forever— the Spirit of truth. The world cannot accept him, because it neither sees him nor knows him. But you know him, for he lives with you and will be in you. I will not leave you as orphans; I will come to you. Before long, the world will not see me anymore, but you will see me. Because I live, you also will live. On that day you will realize that I am in my Father, and you are in me, and I am in you. Whoever has my commands and keeps them is the one who loves me. The one who loves me will be loved by my Father, and I too will love them and show myself to them.”
– John 14:15-21
Whether your family is a two-parent or one-parent household, always keep in mind the frailty and uncertainty of physical life, that ‘time and unforeseen occurrences befall us all.’ (Ecclesiastes 9:11) Rather, learn the lesson the Apostle Paul learned, to be content in whatever circumstance we find ourselves:
“I know what it is to be in need, and I know what it is to have plenty. I have learned the secret of being content in any and every situation, whether well fed or hungry, whether living in plenty or in want. I can do all this through him who gives me strength.”
– Philippians 4:12-13
Yes, whatever our family circumstances, we can achieve happiness through the strength imparted by the Father’s power and the Spirit of Truth of the Christ. Marriage is an absolute asset to happy family life. But the spirit of family life – the enduring bond of love, support, and encouragement – is the greater portion that can exist even when the family’s reality is not ideal.