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David Jeremiah - When Marriage Would Be Obsolete

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I never thought I'd see the day when marriage would be deemed obsolete. But that day is arriving, and perhaps has already arrived. More and more couples are choosing to treat marriage as optional. Back in 1977, fewer than 1 million American opposite-sex couples were living together unmarried. But in 2007, that number rose to 6.4 million, or almost 10% of the opposite-sex couples living together in America. So when we discern the meaning of marriage, we have to understand that much of the meaning of marriage has been lost in the culture in which you and I live today.

Let's take a moment and appreciate the magnitude of marriage, because that's what's going on in our culture. Is marriage becoming obsolete? I'm not the only person asking this question. The Pew Research Center, in conjunction with "Time" magazine, got some shocking answers from the American public in a 2010 survey. When asked if marriage was becoming obsolete, nearly 40% of those who responded said, "Yes". And among those in the traditional marrying age, 18 to 29, the number was 4 points higher, at 44%. In other words, 44% of those who are in the marrying category believe that marriage has become obsolete in our culture. But the more important question for us to ask today is, "What are the effects of the growing obsolescence of marriage"?

It's always easy to make changes in our culture for the sake of convenience or preference. It's not always so easy to foresee the impact that those changes will make. At the risk of being accused of oversimplifying a very complex issue, consider this one example before we do anything else. God places great importance on the keeping of vows. In Ecclesiastes, in a very surprising passage, Solomon devotes a whole section to the subject of vows. In this passage, he says, "Do not be rash with your mouth, and let not your heart utter anything hastily before God. When you make a vow to God, do not delay to pay it. It's better not to vow than to vow and not pay. Do not let your mouth cause your flesh to sin, nor say before the messenger of God that it was an error".

Jesus, who had a way of boiling all of this Old Testament stuff down into a few words, simply said this, "Let your 'Yes' be 'Yes,' and your 'No,' be 'No.'" In other words, say what you mean and mean what you say. And yet, every day in America thousands of people take back the marriage vows that they spoke before God, and their spouse, and their friends. And they say, "Well, it was an error. It was a mistake. I thought I loved him, but I was wrong. I know I said, 'Do,' but now I'm saying, 'I don't". As with abortion, many people end their marriages with regret. Some have no regret. But far too many people today decide to break their marriage on the basis of convenience and preference. And just as with abortion, there's always a price to pay.

We have many wonderful people in our church who have been through a divorce. And I'm not mad at you. The church isn't puttin' you in a different class than everybody else. But if we could get you in a private room and you could say what was in your heart, I know that every one of you would say the same thing, "It would have been better if it hadn't happened. It was a very painful part of my life, and I wish that I could have somehow managed life without having to go through it". Many of you have now gone on and God has forgiven you, and you're on past that, and he's given you a new life. And thank God for his grace. And how many of you know God is always the God of grace and forgiveness, and the God of the second chance? And that's why we love the church of Christ, because we're always accepted, no matter what we've been through. But having said all of that, that's not God's perfect will for man.

People ask me all the time, "Why don't we have more information about divorce"? And the answer is this: God doesn't have a plan B. He's only got a plan A. He doesn't say, "Try this plan A, and if it doesn't work, here's plan B, C, and D. And so you got lots of options". God's plan for marriage is very simple. And marriage is in trouble, not only because people live together, but because people start together and then decide, for their own purposes, not to be together anymore.

The high cost of the failure in marriage is not lost on cultural observers. Author Caitlin Flanagan wrote these words, "There is no other single force causing as much measurable hardship and financial misery in this country as the collapse of marriage". And her claim is all the more important because it was written during the middle of 2009 when our nation was reeling from economic collapse that had started a year earlier. In other words, not even dire financial straits cause as much hardship as the collapse of marriage. Think of all the divorced single mothers who've lost their jobs in the economic turndown. Think of all the divorced men who lost their jobs and can no longer pay child support to help their ex-wives and children.

And again, Solomon's words are on target. "Though one may be overpowered by another, two can withstand him. And a threefold cord is not quickly broken". In other words, a single person in our culture today, whether they be male or female, is usually the most vulnerable person on the face of God's earth. The simple addition of a spouse more than doubles the strength of an individual against the winds of adversity. And in-laws and extended family are helpful as the cord grows stronger still. But that strong cord unravels quickly when marriages fail and vows are broken. And even for the rare spouses and families who do what they can to strengthen one another following a divorce, the cord is broken.

And God's design for marriage, a man and a woman in a lifelong union providing loving and stable maturing, is what we are missing in our world today. It's like a cord holding a society together. The weaker the cord, the weaker the society. Can anyone fail to see the link between those two weaknesses in America today?

Back in December of 2010, the annual state of our union's report was released jointly by the National Marriage Project at the University of Virginia. I remember sitting down one day and reading that, and just, every page I turned, I shook my head. I could hardly believe what I was reading. The subtitle for the report reads: "When Marriage Disappears: The New Middle America". The report said that, "Marriage is not merely a private arrangement between two persons. It is a core social institution, an institution that helps to ensure the economic, and social, and emotional welfare of countless children, and women, and men in this nation".

And so the disappearance of marriage in Middle America would endanger the American dream, the emotional and social welfare of children, and the stability of the social fabric in thousands of communities across the country. There is statistical proof that the demise of marriage in America may be close to becoming a reality. For instance, in 1960, 72% of Americans were married. In 2008, only 52% were married. Still, the unmarried people interviewed by the Pew study expressed a desire to be married at some point in their life.

As Steven Rhoads, a professor on sex differences and culture at the University of Virginia, has written, "The marital ideal, one man and one woman bound in body and soul, sharing, comforting, communicating through good and bad times, is very appealing. Or perhaps, particularly more appealing even in a cynical age". In the words of the Pew report, "It's no small thing when nearly four in ten Americans agree that the world's most enduring social institution is becoming obsolete".

When we look back on the history of this age, perhaps those who study history and socialists who understand history will say that it was during our lifetime on planet earth that the one core thing that held society together began to unravel, to the extent where we're even having a discussion whether marriage has become obsolete. Discerning the meaning of marriage, depreciating the magnitude of marriage, now, let's take a breath and dispel some myths about marriage. First of all, some good news. And we could handle a little of that.

In spite of all the dire statistics that you and I have heard, there is hopeful information concerning the state of marriages. Not so much because marriage has changed, but because our information was inaccurate. The rate of divorce may not be as high as we have been traditionally told it was. I've heard all through my ministry practically that one of every two marriages fails. And that in the church, there's no difference. One out of every two marriages fails. But I've always thought to myself, "That doesn't seem right. I don't think that half of all the people that I know are married are divorced. I don't think that's right". It didn't seem right to me. Have you ever had that thought?

I've heard that statistic, but it doesn't seem to ring true. And the reason it doesn't ring true is because it's not true. The 50% divorce rate, 1 divorce for every 2 marriages, has long been touted as the norm in America. But back in 2005, the "New York Times" pointed out that a flawed method had led to this inflated statistic. Social scientists have moved to a method that simply compares the number of people who ever married with the number of those same people who divorced. And counted that way, the divorce rate has never, ever exceeded 41%. And it will likely never reach 50%, since it never has in any of the demographic studies of all the population at large.

Here's another statistic that is rather encouraging. Divorce rates among Christians have recently been reported to mirror the general public. And that's what I've been hearing. I've heard preachers say that. I might have said it myself. Because that was what I thought was true. But this too is an inaccurate statistic. What we know now is that committed Christian couples, as opposed to those who are Christian in name only, who seriously pursue Christian disciplines such as church attendance, reading spiritual materials and the Bible, and praying together, these couples enjoy significantly lower divorce rates than mere church members. In fact, the general public and unbelievers would be in that same category. The statistics teach us that we are 35% less likely to divorce when we follow the Christian discipline route than couples who have no church affiliation.

So one of the best things you can do for your marriage is go to church. Go to church, and read your Bible, and try to discipline your life spiritually. The study says, "If you do that, you have a much less chance of going through a divorce than if you don't". Now, while divorce is a problem, it's not the main reason for marriage coming apart in our society. Really, the main reason is the fast rising incidence of cohabitation, couples living together, even having children, without choosing to be married. These couples are sometimes referred to as, "Friends with benefits". They are simply couples who want the benefits of marriage without a lifetime commitment or the risk of divorce.

Sharon Jayson, a "USA Today" writer frequently writes about cultural trends. And she observed, "Living together has become so mainstream that growing numbers of Americans view it as an alternative to marriage". She quotes the author of a recent book on cohabitation, who says, "Living together is what's happening in the world of dating. And it's not necessarily a path to anywhere". She also notes that, "The National Marriage Project report finds from earlier studies that children of cohabiting couples are more likely to experience emotional problems, and alcoholism, and drug abuse".

Here's another piece of evidence regarding cohabitation. Back in 1969, 68% of Americans in a Gallup poll indicated that premarital sex was wrong. Then it was considered, "Shacking up," and, "Living in sin". That's what 68% of the Americans in the Gallup believed in 1969. By 2009, the percentage had almost reversed. A CBS/"New York Times" poll indicated that 60% of the population now believes that premarital sex is not wrong. So in this period of time we've gone from 60% saying it was wrong all the way to our culture today saying that it's not wrong. And all I'm trying to tell you with these statistics is we have come a long way away from the building blocks that were a part of this nation that have made us what we are.

So based on that reversal of the trend, we should not be surprised at the growing number of people who find it no problem whatsoever to live together without any marriage. We've talked about discerning the meaning of marriage and appreciating the magnitude of it. We've dispelled some of the myths about it. Let's talk for a moment about some of the motivations for marriage. Marriage, according to God, is one man, one woman, united spiritually, emotionally, physically, publicly, and legally, in a lifetime bond of loyal love for procreation, channeling sexual and emotional energy, and serving as a civilizing and stabilizing factor in society. That's how God views marriage. That's God's view.

Now, let me show you how that view has been distorted in recent days. Keeping God's picture of marriage in mind shows us the contrast. Back in 1960, 68% of people in their 20s were married. In 2008 that number dropped to 26%. That's an amazing statistic to me: 68% of the people in their 20s in 1960 were married, in 2008 only 26% are married. In 1960, 72% of all adults were married. In 2008, that number dropped to 52%. So it's not just the young, it's across the board. The increasing number of unmarried couples living together, as you see it on a spreadsheet, is startling. Let me give them to you. In 1990 3.2 million couples lived together without being married. In 2000 that number went to 5.2 million. By 2008 it was 6.2 million. By 2009 it was 6.7 million. And in 2010 7.5 million couples lived together outside of marriage.

When people are asked, "Why should you get married"? Here's what they say: 93% say they get married for love, 87% say they get married for a lifetime commitment, 81% say for companionship, 59% say for having children, and 31% say for financial stability. Now, how that got on the trip, I don't know. Christians who place a high value on the priority of love should note the following comments of the Pew study. "The potency of the link between love and marriage is relatively new in the sweep of human history. And in the view of some historians, it is a leading cause for the institution's decline".

Listen to this. "For several millennium, economic security was the primary reason for marriage. The institution thrived as an efficient way to divide labor, allocate resources, propagate the species, and ensure that someone would take care of you when you got old. Only in recent centuries have love and mutual self-fulfillment come to occupy center stage in the grand marital bargain. But as the trends of the past half the century attest, it's an open question whether a social institution built on love will prove as durable as one that is built on economic security".

Regarding this overwhelming data dump of numbers, I want to again remind you the difficulty of analyzing and comprehending numbers and statistics is large. But examining marriage from so many different sides, and looking at what's happening to it in our culture, it is so radically changed in our lifetime. These facts create a stark contrast when you compare them to God's design for marriage. And it should be abundantly clear, men and women, that part of our moral and spiritual confusion is tied to the breakdown of God's fundamental building blocks for society. If the building blocks crumble, what can happen to the structure, except that it too begins to crumble?

And one of the things that's happening in our culture that has become more and more outward, and more and more noticed as we read the newspapers and watch the news shows, is we're going through a period of deconstructing God's mandate for marriage. We're deconstructing it. And here's what I mean. In January of 2008, a "Newsweek" article called, "The My Turn Column," which is given over to writers' personal views or stories, a writer by the name of Bonnie Eslinger said, quote, in her little submission, "Yes to love, no to marriage". And I want to read to you what she wrote:

I am a 42-year-old woman who has lived life mostly on my own terms. I have never sought a husband and have still experienced intense, affirming love. I have explored the world and myself and sought understanding, knowledge, and a sense of how I can best contribute. Ten years ago I left a New York career to return to California and pursue a writer's life. Shortly thereafter, I met an intelligent teenager also determined to live life on her own terms, who is now my fabulous foster-daughter. Meeting Jeff, an intelligent, creative, thoughtful man, became the icing on the rich cake of a life not wasted cruising single's bars and pining over lost loves. Last year, Jeff asked me to marry him, and I willingly gave my heart to the intent of his question. We are committed to spending our future together, pursuing our dreams, and facing life's challenges in partnership. Yet, I do not need a piece of paper from the state to strengthen my commitment to Jeff. I do not believe in a religion that says romantic, committed love is moral only if couples pledge joint allegiance to God. I don't need a white dress to feel pretty. And I have no desire to pretend I'm a virgin. I don't need to have Jeff propose to me as if he's chosen me. I don't need a ring as a daily reminder to myself or others that I am loved. And I don't need Jeff to say publicly that he loves me because he says it privately, not just in words but in daily actions.

Now, I want you to notice, and I hope you picked this up, in Ms. Eslinger's filed report, she used the first-person singular pronoun 22 times. For her, this is all about her. It pretty well sums up the modern view of marriage, the raising of personal autonomy to the highest priority in life. It's not about what communities or societies need, what a spouse needs, what children need, in terms of public statements, and certainly not about what God expects. It's about defining life. In this case, a union but not a marriage, on autonomous terms, on the basis of what, quote, "I" want. And Ms. Eslinger admitted the innate need to hold some sort of celebration for her new relationship. All the while, knowing it is doubtful that their families will want to come to celebrate something so ill-defined.

"A day-long event near the ocean that would allow time for us to enjoy the company of friends and family without wasting time on obligatory cake cutting and flower tossing. While I know the word 'married' would mean something to them, that is, my extended family, something tangible they could use when describing our life together, I can't do it. The terms 'husband,' and 'wife' wouldn't even begin to describe our relationship. We've set a date for July to hold our big event. No, we won't get married. But I hope our friends and family will still come".

Now, that's what you call, "Deconstructing marriage". Creating something in place of marriage that's not like marriage, that has nothing to do with God, nothing to do even with societal standards, and doing it for I. I can imagine two reasons why Ms. Eslinger and increasing numbers of people like her are unwilling to call their union, "A legal marriage". A desire not to conform to convention, or as a shield against the possibility of quote, unquote, "Falling out of love and ending the union". It's easier to end a non-marriage than a marriage. But such reasons smack more of immaturity and the lack of purpose than they do of careful consideration and commitment, or of self-service than of sacrificial love.

The fact that such an opinion piece was published in a venue like "Newsweek" is just a small example of how non-traditional views of marriage have spread into the middle of our culture. Any young woman contemplating cohabiting with their partner instead of getting married would read such an opinion piece and be encouraged to do the very same thing. "That's what I've been thinking. It seems like everybody's doing it nowadays. If it's in 'Newsweek,' it must be okay. That does it, I'm movin' in with Joe". And so it goes.

Dr. Albert Mohler counters such thinking regarding marriage with these words. He said, "We need to understand that marriage is not primarily about we as individuals, and what we think, or what we want, or what we need. It is about a central, public commitment that the society needs, that couples need, that children need, and yes, that the spouses need. Marriage is a public institution, not merely a private commitment. It identifies the couple as a pair committed to lifelong marriage, and thus, to be respected in this commitment. The fact that our society has weakened marriage offers only further incentive to get it right and to strengthen this vital institution. The traditions of the wedding ceremony are important as a part of solemnizing and recognizing this covenanted relationship. But the traditions are expendable. Marriage is not. There is a universe of difference between a private promise and public pledge. Marriage is about a public vow made by the man to the woman and the woman to the man, whereby they become now husband wife".

But it's not just in popular culture where the biblical model of marriage is being challenged. There are two new books that came out while I was doing the research for this, both written by biblical scholars. One from Boston University, the other from Harvard, and they both purport to give an accurate portrayal of what the Bible says about love, and God, and sex. Nothing wrong with writing a book like that. I wrote one myself on the Song of Solomon. But all of these new books that have come out from biblical sources are corrupted by the fact that they ignore that there is a divine model for marriage. And they open the door for all different kinds and views of marriage, at the expense of what God has taught us in his Word.

We need to watch carefully as we see our culture, and discern what is happening as marriage is being deconstructed right in front of us, replaced by other things, like throwin' a party for all your friends without ever having any commitment to one another. Let me talk for these last moments about defending a meaningful marriage. The Bible's definition for marriage goes back to the creation of the world in which we live. It was in the beginning that fundamental, natural, and human order was established.

The heavenly bodies to rule the cycles of night and day. Humans as bearers in the earth of the image of God. Human beings as stewards over all creation. The commission to populate the earth. Man's relationship to the animals. Man's and animals' diets, and the creation and appointment of the woman as the partner to the man. And in the case of marriage, God's prescription for human partnership is stated plainly. Genesis 2:24, "Therefore a man shall leave his father and mother and be joined to his wife, and they shall become one flesh".

Now, let me give you some implications from that simple verse that we must not forget. First of all, marriage is a product of creation. In the beginning, God did not create multiple human beings to form a social group, and then pair them off as some way of bringing order to a disordered social situation. Marriage does not bring order, but it has a far deeper purpose. It is fundamental to the very design of life on earth. Marriage is a male and female coming together to function in one flesh. It is a united pair whose synergistic potential is greater together than if they remain single and simply live together. Something stable and immovable happens when two individuals unite as one. They are then able to use their new identity to act as stewards of creation, and bear the image of God throughout the earth.

Marriage is a product of creation. Number two: marriage is a partnership between one man and one woman. Marriage is not the union of multiple partners or same-sex partners. It is the union of one man with one woman. And all the debate in recent decades about the definition of marriage as reflected in the statistics I cited earlier, all of it is based on a rejection of this creation model of one man and one woman. Nothing could be clearer in the Bible as to what constitutes a marriage in God's sight. It doesn't make any difference what anybody else says, or how many people they get to put it on a ballot and vote for it, marriage is one man, one woman, brought together by God in a partnership. Even if they are not Christians, marriage is still obligatory, as far as the world is concerned, because it started at the beginning of the world, and it's from the heart of God himself.

Marriage is a product of creation. It's a partnership between one man and one woman. And marriage is a permanent union. The notion of two becoming one flesh is pictured ultimately in the sexual union of the male and the female. And Jesus Christ affirmed the permanence of marriage when he said, "Therefore what God has joined together, let not man separate". Now, once again, here is the condition that the Bible gives to us, "Permission to divorce was granted only because of the hardness of your hearts," he told the experts in the Old Testament law.

And as is often said, "The exception proves the rule". Divorce is a limited exception to what was ordained by God as a permanent union. In other words, the very fact that it has to be called, "An exception," is a testimony to the fact that God had a purpose and a plan in permanent marriage. Marriage is a primarily spiritual union. Mankind was created as a physical and spiritual being. Oneness is not only a matter of physical joining, but of spiritual joining as well. Modern culture gets this wrong when couples choose to hook up physically with no physical commitment, with no spiritual commitment.

The Apostle Paul highlighted the spiritual joining in 1 Corinthians when he warned Christian men about joining themselves to a harlot and becoming one body with her. He then said that, "He who is joined to the Lord is one spirit with him". We are not joined to Jesus Christ physically, but we are joined spiritually. And one of the things we hear very little about in our churches is that marriage in the church, where two people are followers of Christ, is a three-dimensional arrangement. It is not just the man and his relationship to his wife. It is the man related to God and the wife related to God in this triangle that brings the marriage into perspective.

I remember, years ago, one of our speakers brought his wife. And she said she had come into her faith at a very later time. So her husband was here, and she was here, and she was so intimidated by that. She said, "I don't even know how to have a conversation with my husband 'cause he's so far away from where I am spiritually". And then she said one day a lady came to her and gave her this little picture. She said, "Marriage is like a triangle, and this is what puts you together, and God is at the apex. He's at the top of the triangle. Now, let me show you somethin'," she said, "here's what I learned. I had to stop tryin' to keep up with my husband and just try to grow in my relationship with the Lord". And she said, "Guess what happens when you do that? The closer you get to the Lord," now, watch the triangle, "the closer you get to your husband. As you get closer to the Lord, as he gets closer to the Lord, you see what happens? The triangle gets closer, and you get closer to each other".

That's the dynamic of Christian marriage that we often forget about, that marriage is knowing each other, loving each other, but it's also knowing God. And as you come closer to the Lord and you get to know him, you get closer to one another. Marriage is a spiritual union. And then, marriage's priority is procreation, being fruitful and multiplying was the first commission given to humanity in the very beginning of our history. Genesis 1:22 says, "And God blessed them, saying, 'Be fruitful and multiply.'" And it was repeated at the second beginning of humanity, following the Great Flood. In Genesis 9:1 we are told, "God blessed Noah and his sons, and said to them: 'Be fruitful and multiply, and fill the earth.'"

Earlier, I shared a statistic showing that 93% of Americans said that love is the primary reason for getting married. And I noted that the Pew research organization reported that this was likely a first time in human history for that to be at the top of the list. I have to tread carefully here so I don't want to be misunderstood about the importance of love in marriage and human experience. But love alone is not reason enough for getting married in the biblical model. The point is that love is a desirable, but not a sufficient, condition for marriage. Why, then, does society have these specific criteria? Why privilege this particular arrangement of an unrelated man and woman and grant to that arrangement special legal status, including the social recognition and tax benefits that go with it?

The reason is that marriage is the incubator of children. It is the only mechanism for the healthy cultivation of the next generation. In biblical understanding, love is like the air we breathe. It surrounds and makes possible the fruitful life God has designed. The Apostle Paul wrote that, "Love is the greatest of all virtues". Love is the motivator and conditioner for all of life's actions, including marriage. But love is not the sole reason for getting married in God's design. Many people approach marriage with a need to be loved. And they consider finding that love a reason to marry. But all too often, they discover that their imperfect partner is unable to love them perfectly, or adequately enough, and the marriage falls apart.

Only the perfect, never-ending love of God in Christ Jesus can fill a marriage with enough love to make it work. God brought two perfect, sinless people together in the Garden of Eden, a man and a woman who knew the perfect love of God. They did not get married to find love, but to walk together in the unity and purpose God created them to fulfill, the primary task of birthing and raising the next generation. I haven't heard that in a long time, but it's somethin' we ought to hear more than we do. No other organization or structure for humanity was instituted in the Garden of Eden beside marriage.

Generational marriage was intended by God to be the solid link in the chain of human progress and society. Not only do loyal marriages serve as a conduit for the channeling and containing of adult sexual and emotional energy, they serve as a source of wisdom and instruction for succeeding generations of young people who rise to take their places in society. It is from strong, loyal marriages that young people learn what it takes to create oases of love, and order, and strength in a cultural desert of shifting moral sand reshaped daily by the winds of convenience and preference. No one seems to know when the phrase was first uttered that, "All truth is God's truth". But it has stood the test of time.

Whenever we see something true being implemented, even in a non-religious context, credit for that truth belongs to God. And marriage is a good example of a universal truth that has its roots in the theological soil of the Garden of Eden. Marriage is a truth that belongs to God for the good of man wherever it is found. And as Christians, we need to think again about the origins and importance of marriage. We need to remember that Satan did not approach Adam as a single man with the temptation to disobey God. He waited until after marriage. God's foundational building block was in place, attacking the couple. You would have thought it would have been easier to attack one person instead of two, but the attack was not just on mankind, it was on marriage as well, an attempt to create division and disharmony between humans as well as humans and God.

And Satan continues that strategy today. He knows that as goes marriage, so goes the stability of society in the world. And the more disruption he can create in societies through attacking and disrupting marriages, the better for his efforts at getting people's eyes off God and onto their own survival. If God the Creator in fact, as the Bible teaches, instituted marriage and the family, and if there is an evil being called Satan who wages war against God's purposes, it should come as no surprise that the divine foundation of these institutions has come under massive attack in recent years. Ultimately, we human beings, whether we realize it or not, are involved in a cosmic spiritual conflict that pits God against Satan, with marriage and the family serving as one of the key arenas in which spiritual and cultural battles are fought.

Is the future of traditional marriage in trouble? Is it in danger of becoming obsolete? I never thought I would see the day when the answer is, "Yes". That day has arrived. Fortunately, to paraphrase Christ, "What God has ordained, no man or government can destroy". And that requires the people of God to persevere, and protect, and defend marriage from every form of attack, beginning with their own, and those of the people they love. If we're going to save marriage, we're gonna have to get involved in a very overt way. Marriage is a building block of society. And when marriage goes, it is the last thing to go before a culture totally destructs and is gone.
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