"He who finds a wife does what is good and receives favor from the LORD." - Proverbs 18:22
Marriage is good. It sounds like a no-brainer, but sadly it’s not. A growing number of American adults—especially young adults—have come to the conclusion that marriage is expendable. Many view marriage as an outdated, archaic institution that needs to be redefined or scrapped altogether.
While most young adults wouldn’t go so far as to say that marriage is “bad,” the statistics speak for themselves: Over the past fifty years marriage rates among young adults (20 to 34 years of age) have declined significantly. One recent study discovered that almost 70% of American men under the age of 35 were unmarried. Many young adults avoid marriage like the plague, choosing instead to pursue inferior options like cohabitation or one-night stands.
Consider this: There is a growing men’s movement in our country called “Men Going Their Own Way,” or MGTOW. Men who have joined this movement believe women are not worth the trouble. They are not opposed to casual sexual encounters with women, but they refuse to commit to any woman. They believe the cost of doing so is too high. MGTOW men pride themselves on not being tied down by a girlfriend, and they adamantly reject Valentine’s Day and other societal pressures to be chivalrous and dote on their ladies. In their view, boxes of chocolates and bouquets of flowers are a complete waste of money.
Does this movement sound ridiculous to you? It should. But it’s symptomatic of a deeper problem. Let’s face it: Our culture celebrates selfish individuality and narcissism while ignoring service and sacrifice. And the repercussions of doing so have been devastating for the American family. A growing number of children are being raised in single parent homes because men have chosen to be sperm donors instead of fathers. Research is conclusive that the likelihood of juvenile delinquency, drug use, gang activity, promiscuity, and dropping out of high school all increase in homes where the father is absent. There should be no doubt that alternatives to traditional marriage have proven themselves to be abysmal failures.
But what does the Bible say? In Genesis 2:18-25, we read of how God created the very first marriage. Many people these days seek to discard marriage without stopping to consider how its Creator designed it in the first place. How foolish! Marriage is a magnificent creation of God, and we need to embrace its original design and purpose as described in Genesis 1 and 2. We discover two created purposes for marriages in these two chapters: companionship and bearing children.
In Genesis 2:18 God focuses on the first of these two purposes as He says, “It is not good for man to be alone. I will make a helper suitable for him.” The Hebrew word translated as “helper” describes one who comes alongside another for support, for assistance and to shore up his/her weaknesses. Bottom line: Adam was incomplete on his own. By himself he couldn’t be all that God had created Him to be or do all that God had commanded him to do. He needed a perfect companion to provide him with unparalleled fellowship, love and sexual intimacy.
This leads us to the second created purpose for marriage: bearing children. God gave Adam and Eve this command in Genesis 1:28: “Be fruitful and increase in number; fill the earth and subdue it.” This command to have children and fill the earth was so important to God that He repeated it several times in the Book of Genesis. He reiterated this command to Noah in Genesis 8:17, Genesis 9:1 and Genesis 9:7. And in Genesis 11—after people had refused to be fruitful and multiply—the Lord diversified human languages at the Tower of Babel in order to make it so.
You see, people in ancient times resisted God’s command to be fruitful and multiply. And that same resistance is persistent in America today. A growing number of adults who can have children have chosen not to have children, viewing them to be an unnecessary annoyance, burden and restrictor of freedom. Meanwhile, far too many women have chosen to engage in promiscuous sex, ending up with three or four children who all have different dads. How far we have strayed from God’s original design for marriage and the family!
Contrary to popular belief, marriage is not expendable and children are not an unfortunate byproduct of sexual freedom. Quite the opposite: A child is a gift, a joy and a blessing from God. But they are a blessing intended for a committed husband and wife who can raise the child together. Marriage was designed by God to provide a husband and wife with unparalleled companionship and to provide a stable and nurturing environment within which to bear and rear children.
Sadly, as the days go by, many young men and women continue to choose cohabitation, one-night stands and “Going Their Own Way” as alternatives to marriage. But these have always been and always will be inferior alternatives. Marriage is good. Having children is good. And they are designed by God to go hand-in-hand.
Dane Davis is the lead pastor of First Christian Church of Victorville and the author of Holy Huldah! Lessons You Should Never Forget from Bible Characters You've Never Heard Of. To hear Pastor Dane's messages for for more information about the church, visit www.fccvv.com.