Importance of Marriage in Society
Marriage and family are a natural and important part of life for most people. In the Bible God has given many good laws that talk about how He wants people to live in regard to these things. It is believed that to live according to the commandments of God brings good blessings on the lives of people. Marriage is the formalization, to society, friends and families, people love and which impels to take a solemn pledge of fidelity, mutual aid and assistance. For the state, marriage is the recognition of the commitment of two people to one another, which certainly gives them rights but also duties of solidarity that transfers to them (Amato, Loomis & Booth: 1995). This paper aims to explore the social perspective about marriage and its importance in our society.
The importance of marriage in our society is on one hand, an important subject, but on the other one can consider that it is secondary because the number of people involved in it has reduced. The statistics say that homosexuality respect between 2 and 5% of the population, and among homosexuals, those who apply for marriage themselves is a tiny minority. In current society, social issues such as unemployment, the situation in prisons, immigration and poor housing are issues that affect far more people than marriage for all (Browning et al: 2002). Beyond the social area, the subject is debated because it falls within the symbol. Family composition and practice Conjugality are markers that identify a civilization (Buss: 2002).
Today it is fashionable to maintain publicly that marriage is only one option among others and that mere cohabitation should have the same rights. But the social reality proves that marriage still makes a difference. Several studies show that long-term benefits mean marriage for couples and for society. Benefits justify the marriage is treated as a preferred social choice (Cherlin: 2004).
In the United States the rate of failed marriages is very high, and yet, almost 90 percent of divorcing or separating continues to believe that the wedding opens a path for life. The sociologists, Linda J. Waite and Maggie Gallagher, have investigated the matter in their book that combines statistical data, sociological analysis and cultural criticism. They conclude that marriage is the closest thing to a long range life insurance (Waite, luo & Lewin: 2009).
Together, the married are healthier, have a more satisfying emotional and mental state and are more motivated to increase their income than those living alone or cohabiting. These positive effects occur only if the company gives public recognition to the engagement. And that’s the point, because according to these two sociologists in recent decades witnessed a process of “privatization” of the marriage relationship, undermining its very foundations in the most important contract of a lifetime (Gallagher: 2001).
While the lack of public support for marriage, has grown the facility to divorce and have gained social acceptance of other formulas, such as cohabitation and single motherhood. Only a few studies have devoted their energies on how to strengthen a marriage in crisis while psychologists, educators and priests seem to focus only on the emotional benefits of marriage, as if this were the only benefit. Hence when apparent happiness decreases, there is no argument to stop the failure (Amato, Loomis & Booth: 1995). Faced with this reductionist view, some scholars offer detailed analysis of the main positive effects of marriage and argue that the defense of the marriage contract has ceased to be a mere moral concern to become a public health issue. Therefore it is important to note the long-term benefits of marriage benefits that start the transforming power of this commitment: as concrete as marital fidelity (Buss: 2002).
Purpose of Marriage in the Light of Religion:
The importance of marriage can be clearly seen if one understands why God created it.
- Society: When God saw that it was not good for man to be alone, made him a wife (Gen. 2:18-24).
- Raising children legitimately: It is Possible to have children without the honor of marriage. However, doing so involves sin. When God created marriage in the beginning said, “And God created man in his image, in the image of God he created him, male and female created God blessed them and said to them. Fruitful and multiply…” (Gen. 1:27-28).
Paul said, “I will therefore that the younger women marry, bear children, either their homes and to give the enemy no chance…” (1 Tim 5:14.) (Buss: 2002)
- To Sex: To avoid fornication. For man was not behaving like an animal and seek to satisfy their desire with anyone who wished, designed marriage to lawful sexual union. Paul wrote to the Corinthians: “But because of immoralities, each man have his own wife, and let every woman have her own husband. Husband renders to his wife the affection due her, and likewise also the wife to her husband. The wife hath not power of her own body but the husband, nor does the husband have authority over his own body but the wife “(1 Cor 7:2-4) (Booth et al: 1995)
The same apostle wrote to the Hebrews said, “Marriage is honorable in all marriage, and the bed undefiled: but whoremongers and adulterers God will judge” (Heb. 13:4) (Booth et al: 1995).
The man and woman are equal as persons and complementary as male and female. In this way they perfect one another. Their union also includes the sexual dimension, where body and spirit come together, “so that they are no longer two, but one flesh” (Matthew 19:6), and at the same time cooperate with God in the procreation and upbringing of new lives.
The union of marriage, according to the original divine plan is indissoluble: “What God has joined together, let not man put asunder” (Matthew 19:6) (Buss: 2002).
Concept of Marriage in Society:
Marriage is a social institution and is recognized as a union between a man and a woman living together in a home to legitimize their children. In recent times, couples who live together without being married have increased a lot. Studies conclude that, for such unions, there are two possible endings; marry, usually this happens when you have a child; or separate and form new pairs. Another important fact that has been concluded by many studies is that younger couples prefer to live together without marriage whereas mature people emphasize the importance of marriages (Waite, luo & Lewin: 2009).
The family is the natural society founded on marriage between a man and a woman. Therefore a man and a woman united in marriage, together with their children constitute a family. Each of them is a person equal in dignity to others, even though everyone and their complementary responsibilities (Gallagher: 2001).
Marriage is important to the family, to society and to individuals. It is a network of trust where one feels supported by supporting others. When there is personal support, people are better and more contained. The family gives an idea of own space, it gives an identity and belonging. Somehow, the family is the one in charge of making the link between the individual and society in general, is what prepares a person to live in society (Fukuyama: 2001). When the family structure is limited, society also suffers, and problems appear. For example kids who are involved in illegal acts like stealing, drugs and even killing; there is probably some lack in the family behind (Amato, Loomis & Booth: 1995).
Evolution of the Institution of Marriage from Recent Decades to Today:
The evolution of marriage can be seen that this bond went from being totally essential to start a family because it was socially accepted and a right way to do things, before living together and have children to a rather personal commitment a couple do not need to live together. Currently cohabitation has greatly increased and people have chosen to live together and have children without having married because marriage is much processed (Kaufman & Goldscheider: 2007). People now feel that marriage is no more than a paper saying that there is a link and that love is the most important ingredient for living together. The formality of marriage no longer influences the true love that may be in a couple (Booth et al: 1995).
Like many other activities, marriage as a social institution, also changed its various manifestations. For example, in terms of division of labor, there was a strict division: domestic work by women and Outdoor work by the male, a shared division of labor. The participation of women in outdoor work i.e. labor because of their higher education resulted in changes in the form of division of labor in the home. Among the young, the two go to work and both take care of household chores (Greenhaus & Buetell: 1985). When they become parents, the tasks are also shared. It is now much more common that men change diapers, prepare the bottle or food and take care of children bath (Cherlin: 2004).
These changes are not easy to do or understand, especially for the man who grew up with possibly another male model and thus perhaps making it more out of obligation than conviction. In addition, the head of household will mainly belonged to him, today, can be said to be shared or sometimes, when looked at from an economic point of view, it is for women (King: 2003). These issues usually occur in dysfunctional affective components ending in frequent conflicts and even in divorce. Especially if one has not created a framework for deeper values that contribute to assume life with commitment, with its joys and sorrows, difficulties and solutions, etc (Greenhaus & Buetell: 1985).
Marriage is a Life Insurance Covering All:
The security of a lifelong marriage encourages husbands to take joint decisions and specialize in tasks that make life in common. In the financial sphere, the saving husband and wife merely share power, furniture and appliances, facilities, etc. can lead to higher up to a third in the standard of living (King: 2003). Other advantages of lasting marriage are to act as a true life insurance, not only to contingencies such as unemployment, sickness or old age. A policy that guarantees global attention when a husband or wife is sick: the remaining healthy work more to compensate for lost income, provide personalized care to disabled or will do the housework that the other cannot do (Greenhaus & Buetell: 1985).
The best gains come from exclusivity. The emotional relationship guarantees by the marriage covenant than any other, not only on the most intimate aspects-the promise of stability reduces uncertainty, but also the continued support in times of difficulty or stress. Marriage and the family provide a sense of dependence, a sense of love and to be loved, to be absolutely essential to life and happiness of others. This gives a different perspective to address the problems one encounters, because there are people who depend on others, counting on them or care about them (Stutzer & Frey: 2006).
Across advantages of this framework, a little external support to marital stability must be placed. In fact, most guidelines for divorce and even therapeutic manuals advise people not to consider or minimize possible negative effect on the children, when advising on the continuity of a marriage (Fukuyama: 2001). Perhaps one of the most interesting aspects is that, if the marriage goes wrong, divorce is the best solution for the children also. In most cases leads to the conclusion that both an unhappy marriage and divorce reduces the welfare of children, but in the long run, divorce leads to more problematic parent-child relationships; increases the likelihood of children divorce in turn, and also reduces the chances of success in education and professional career of their children (Browning et al: 2002).
Marriage Changes the Family Model:
If ideas about marriage in the 50s compared to those of now, undoubtedly changes are observed. In a recent research, it was found that families currently value the greater possibilities of communication, with expressions such as no more dialogue, they can communicate more openly with their children; all are involved but also concerned about issues such as that parents cannot put limits on children, many hours of work and less time with the children. These issues confirm that marriage cannot be based solely on a pattern of romantic love, but a life plan that requires dedication (Stutzer & Frey: 2006). A couple that is about to marry have to prepare for the various components of married life: economic, sexuality, affectivity, children, extended families, the community to which one belongs, friends, hobbies, moments of success and difficult times (Greenhaus & Buetell: 1985).
Marriage ensures that the Family Fully Fulfills its Function of Raising New Generations of Human Beings:
Marriage is not only a religious but also legal institution that ensures that the household will have ensured its stable existence in society. Without marriage there is really no guarantee that the household will remain united or established their rights within the law. If the connections between two people to raise a family are left to the whim there’s really nothing but the goodwill of those involved to the family as such is not dissolved and therefore the full and healthy development of children within family is not insured (Kohli et al: 2005).
Marriage ensures that the couple will stay together and thus society gives guarantees for the children to grow up in a stable environment for their development until they reach adulthood. Families who have children outside of marriage usually do not stay together, there is no legal or other contract between those who have fathered a child to ensure that remain together to raise him (Kaufman & Goldscheider: 2007).
It is commonly seen that many single mothers have been abandoned by their husbands. Even it is not uncommon to see cases of mothers of two or three children from different fathers who have been abandoned by several men. Marriage is a legal guarantee that the mother who has given birth to a child will not be abandoned and that she will also have secured the support of a partner who will provide financial, emotional and emotional support to care for the newborn (Kohli et al: 2005).
It is a sad reality that children born out of wedlock are usually born into families with very low income. And the children of such unions usually grow without education, with poor diet and sometimes end up being members of criminal groups. One might believe that uniting outside of marriage is a sign of true freedom, but it simply falling into slavery disorder and uncertainty (Waite & Lehrer: 2003). True freedom is to be able to commit to a project and carry it out fully. Marriage ensures that the project of consolidating a family is guaranteed. Nothing remains open to uncertainty and caprice in a family that has been consolidated through marriage (Browning et al: 2002).
Both parents are essential for the proper development of children both psychologically and physically. The child must be guaranteed the presence of both parents in his life. It is true that one can find cases of loving parents who are attached outside of marriage, but it is safer to find in marriage, starting because there are social and legal norms that connect parents, especially the father, with the nuclear family (Stutzer & Frey: 2006). That is why the institution of marriage in society must have a specific structure to ensure that the full development of the child that must be given in the best way possible. Marriage is important to the family and not any kind of marriage but monogamous established as a union between a man and a woman. This ensures a relationship between two persons equal in dignity to the role they may meet together to procreate and raise their children properly (McDaniel: 1990).
Both men and women develop behavior patterns by gender given to them not only by society but also by its very physical and biological makeup that makes them radically different in the way they behave and interact with their children and the society. The different roles played by men and women in the development of the offspring can be observed in all animal species (Kaufman & Goldscheider: 2007).
Finally, one cannot ignore the reality of divorce that threatens the security of family unit that represents the marriage. In this situation it is best to have a courtship period which is well known to those who will join through marriage that things will not be easy, that there will be crises and that the best approach to problems is not to flee but confront them (Fukuyama: 2001). Today’s culture rather than encouraging perseverance, love and responsibility, is to encourage childish attitude in which individuals fleeing a commitment at the first sign of trouble. These childish attitudes of adults of the XXI century must be viewed from a critical perspective to expose values undermining such behaviors to form a prosperous society (Browning et al: 2002).
Marriage, Family’s Solid Foundation:
It is commonly known that the family is the basis of society, but rarely consciously realized that marriage is itself the bedrock on which the family is founded. Multiple psychological and sociological studies clearly demonstrate that the element that most affects children, positively or negatively, is the quality of the relationship their parents have. If there are constant arguments, fights, insults and abuse each other, or simply ignored and do not carry an open, loving, healthy relationship, children grow up insecure, unstable and even rebel. Conversely, if the relationship of parents is one of harmony, love, respect with positive and effective communication, children grow serene and happy (Kohli et al: 2005). It really is not necessary to read any of these studies to realize this blunt truth.
However, this is not to say that a relationship of “perfect” love can only have a stable and happy family. But it is to emphasize on the importance of having a healthy relationship. That is why Scripture, the Catechism of the Catholic Church and many church and theological documents indicate the importance of marriage for family, church and society (McDaniel: 1990). As one ponders this reality, it can be realized that if the marriage is solid, so is the family; and if the family is well, society is much better. Moreover, the Church teachings show that marriage (the union of man and woman in one flesh, united in the eternal love of God) is the true reflection of God’s love on earth (Manlove et al: 2002).
Therefore, if the couple wants to have a strong, stable and happy, they must first develop a healthy marital relationship in which reign mutual respect and love between the two is the vehicle to provide children and therefore the whole family lives in an environment of love and peace (Waite & Lehrer: 2003).
Duties of Society and State to the Family:
The Company and the State have the right and duty to:
- Recognize the rights of the family and to take all appropriate measures to promote the fulfillment of the tasks entrusted to it. “The family has the right to the full support of the State to carry out fully its particular mission” (John Paul II, Message for the World Day of Peace 1994, 5); (Strong & Cohen: 2013)
- ensure the exercise of the rights and wider family obligations, including by promoting parental responsibilities;
- promote the equal dignity of persons and overcoming the obstacles that prevent effective implementation;
- guarantee protection of children and the rights of children and the elderly, with adequate support measures for young couples, families socially disadvantaged, those many, also taking into account the real needs of the spouses, the elderly and younger generations;
- support the family in fulfilling its social and economic function (Waite & Lehrer: 2003);
- orient to that end the social, economic and financial services organization;
- Respect the principle of ‘subsidiary’, so the state must not take the place of family in fulfillment of its role and its functions, but rather in case of need should help and support. Indeed, the guiding principle of a real family policy is the subsidiary principle, which recognizes the family leadership, the quality of primary resource for society, a subject not only to promote and assist when it is in trouble;
- Give adequate information about access to adoption procedures (Strong & Cohen: 2013).
The State must also, by appropriate legislation, to affirm, protect and promote marriage and the family, reserving their fundamental unique and exclusive place that they deserve in the society and not by equating them with any other kind of marriage or cohabitation (Waite & Lehrer: 2003).
In conclusion, marriage, which has its roots in the Heart of God the Creator, is an efficacious sign of Christ and the Church. Christian marriage manifests and embodies the spousal love of Christ for the Church and it confirms and strengthens the human value of marriage. Marriage means a relationship of cohabitation between a man and a woman in accordance with the civil practice, and possibly religious, aims to ensure moral, social and legal status of a household. Nowadays marriage takes on an important role in family life, both in the social sphere. It is preceded by the promise, which implies a real contract between two individuals, the assumption of a commitment between a man and a woman. However, in the current society, the values of marriage and the family are gradually loosening, almost disappearing behind a background that seen in separations and divorces in the result of a world without rules and without deep love that binds ‘man and woman. Finally, the importance of children in a marriage relationship must not be ignored. The changed division of labor has put some adverse affects on the children from birth. Society is getting worse and overlooking the importance of this problem unsolvable at the moment, because, unfortunately, the work and play has become more important than marriage and the family.
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