Spirituality for Today – August 2011 – Volume 16, Issue 1

The Power of Marriage

By Rev. Raymond Petrucci

The much assailed sacrament of marriage has become the object of renewed efforts to destroy it. Designers of the new world order view the hallowed state as obsolete. One wonders about the realization of a future culture populated by persons who have become mindless robots serving the despotic will of the State. There are, however, some valid questions issuing from the pressures of these times: Can a society where men and women entertain the achievement of similar personal and professional goals in life and direct their ambitions toward their fulfillment sustain the union of husband and wife? Does the desire for individual and financial independence preclude marital bliss?

A photo of a bride and groom

The affirmation and success of marriage is imperative for the wellbeing of society. Social scientists that reject this truth put our world in peril. To the point, the book More Perfect Unions by Rebecca L. Davis gives evidence to the fact that marriage is under siege. This book's negation of the importance of marriage in spite of data to the contrary must give us pause. To the rescue comes editor and author Kay Hymowitz. In her review of Professor Davis' book, she recognizes the failure of modern approaches to cure the causes of divorce and stressful marriage relationships, but underscores the importance of forming solid and loving marriages.

The optimistic feelings of some scientists in the 1960s regarding the adjustment of children of broken homes and the competence of single mothers to raise their children have been disproved by history. These social scientists must draw different conclusions today: "By now, an expert consensus – as much as consensus is ever possible in these matters – has coalesced around two conclusions. First, even when researchers control for a host of variables, children growing up with married parents do better on a wide variety of measures, from school performance to teen pregnancy rates, than those growing up with a single parent. Second, single-motherhood, being disproportionately concentrated among African-American and Hispanic women and those with less education, reinforce the nation's unacceptable rates of poverty and inequality." Ms. Hymowitz goes on in support of marriage: "the social importance of marriage – rooted in ancient philosophy, religion, and law across cultures, and embraced by America's founders – was a product of the stability and rootedness it provided not only for children, but also for men, who are more likely to stick around if they believe the children they are raising are their own, and for women, who need help raising their young." In our day, regrettably, inconvenient truths such as these fade before promoting an ideological stance.

Beyond the analysis of data and the interpretation of statistics lies the need for true human love and commitment. Two individuals who discover that something mysterious, wonderful, and sacred shared between them is calling them to unite in mind, body, and spirit through marriage are the hope for a secure and beneficent future for the world.

No jealousy their dawn of love o'ercast,
Nor blasted were their wedded days with strife;
Each season looked delightful as it past,
To the fond husband and the faithful wife.

– James Beattie, The Minstrel

The Creator has imbued the sacrament of Marriage with the promise of God-like power; it is that human relationship within which the love, the mercy, and the creative forces of the Almighty can find a uniquely visible and enduring expression throughout a couple's lifetime.