Several things particularly impressed me as I completed the reading and video assignments this week.
As a member of the church marriage has always been something that I saw in my future because I was taught about the importance of eternal marriage from a young age. This eternal perspective on marriage helped me to realize why I should get married instead of choosing another option such as cohabitation. However, I often thought that if I wasn’t a member of the church I would most likely choose the cohabitation route, at least for a while, instead. In my mind I saw the benefits of being able to get to know a person better before entering into such a binding commitment like marriage. Even when I looked at marriage from a strictly secular point of view I knew that I never wanted to experience divorce and cohabitation seemed to be a way to help prevent that.
While I always felt like marriage was for me, I didn’t necessarily think it was for everyone. I felt that people could be just as happy in cohabitation relationships or even as single parents. I saw people with all different family situations and most of them seemed to be living happy, healthy lives with no more or less problems than me. So this brought me back to one central question; Does marriage really matter?
After reading through the research on this topic I was shocked to learn about all of the different secular benefits a healthy marriage and two parent home provide. One of the most dramatic findings to me was probably the estimated $1.1 billion savings annually for taxpayers if family fragmentation were reduced by just 1 percent. (State of Our Unions) Wow, and that’s just money! I think the biggest benefit that comes from a strong marriage are smart, productive, happy children. After all, as cliche as it sounds, they are our future. It’s scary to think about how the generation of children coming from increasingly fragmented homes will ultimately affect the future of our world.
Now I can say with 100% confidence that yes, marriage does matter from both an eternal and secular perspective.
The last point I want to touch on comes from Elder Oaks’ talk on divorce. The entire talk was excellent, but there was one particular thing he said that just resonated with me. He said, “Under the law of the Lord, a marriage, like a human life, is a precious, living thing. If our bodies are sick, we seek to heal them. We do not give up. While there is any prospect of life, we seek healing again and again. The same should be true of our marriages, and if we seek Him, the Lord will help us and heal us.” I love this quote because it reminds me that marriage is a big deal and should not be taken lightly. While divorce cannot always be avoided it is up to us and our spouses to do everything we can to keep our marriages alive. Divorce brings death to not only your marriage, but so many other things.