"A child living together with unmarried parents in Sweden has a lower chance that his family will disrupt than does a child living with married parents in the U.S.”
So says Andrew Cherlin of Johns Hopkins University in an article found in this week's Time Magazine.
In yet another response to the Pew Research Center's far-reaching study on marriage today, Time asks the question: "Who Needs Marriage?" Their answer is that, in today's American culture, nobody really does. That is, as long as you are looking for the typical practical reasons that people marry: sex, children and economic stability.
But I believe that God designed marriage to be more than that. Sure, marriage does offer us the opportunity for sexual activity, an environment for raising a family, and the hope of economic security. But God also designed marriage to be a place for us to be sanctified...to learn to grow in Godliness. No institution forces us to be selfless and sacrificial like marriage does. And it tends to be a pass/fail endeavor.
Some people allow marriage to shape and change them; to transform them into a more giving person. Others don't. They dig in their heels, fight for their rights, and focus mainly on what they can get from the relationship. When they don't get what they want on their terms, they tend to give up.
In many American marriages, there isn't a willingness in one or both parties to give, sacrifice, compromise and collaborate in the best interest of the family. The problem is selfishness and the result is a fracturing of the relationship. To them, the risks of giving are just not worth the rewards.
But for the Christian, the opposite should be true. We must be selfless. Christlike. Willing to give. We must let marriage become a spiritual growth laboratory where our beliefs can be exercised in action. It's the best place in the world for our faith to become real and transparent. After all, it's easy to fool some people with false humility and character, but you can't fool your spouse.
I encourage you to read Albert Mohler's thoughts on the TIME Magazine article on his blog. His post can be found here: Who Needs Marriage? Time asked the Question. Do You Have An Answer?