On Monday, the Waterloo Region Record ran an insightful opinion piece, “Stable Marriages Good for Everyone,” by Andrew Mrozek and Peter Jon Mitchell. The article laments the breakdown of the family and calls for a “recovery of the institution” of marriage.
It opens with 2016 Canada census data and notes that family diversity is on the rise in Canada. Then with refreshing and surprising candor, they observe that “family diversity is so often a euphemism for family breakdown.” Even further, they note that “the nation’s 40-plus-year decline in marriage rates continues, signifying a cultural shift that hurts our children, culture, and economy. Worse, it’s not what Canadians want.”
Explaining the benefits of intact marriages for children, they write, “Growing up in an intact married home increases the likelihood of children getting good grades and graduating from high school and college… Having married parents is also correlated with a lower likelihood of children participating in risky behaviours, like drug abuse or early sexual initiation.”
For married adults, tangible benefits also exist: “The happily married are also more likely to recover from illness, including cancer, and lead healthier lives.”
As for the price tag, “public cost of family breakdown in Canada is about $7 billion annually. That’s the equivalent of hosting the Vancouver Winter Olympics every year.”
Perhaps the above, at least in part, explains why “last year a Nanos Research poll found that 78 per cent of Canadians view marriage as a positive aspect of family life.”
Speaking of stable and happy marriages, the authors lament, “We just don’t seem to know how to get there.” Statistics might point to socio-economic and health benefits of marriages, and the majority of Canadians might even agree that marriage is good. But like a pirate’s buried treasure, if Canadians don’t have the map then all the benefits remain hidden under the sand at an undisclosed location. The authors state that “there’s a need for recovery of the institution,” but, outside of changing tax policy, they offer no direction. And I emphasize dogmatically that there’s no salvation in tax policy: Taxation or lack thereof will never save!
Returning to the institution of marriage is impossible without returning to the foundation of marriage. Without that foundation, attempts at marriage are like a bouquet of wedding flowers. They look pretty at the wedding, but they amount to compost and worm food within a few days. The Bible explains that the foundation of marriage is found in the Author and Definer of marriage. God opens the Bible with a marriage, between Adam and Eve. God closes the Bible with a marriage, between Christ and His church. God gets marriage. Unlike the wilting wedding bouquet, Christ is the Gardener of a thriving perennial garden of flowers watered by Christ’s blood, fed by Christ’s flesh, and weeded by Christ’s Word. The mystery of marriage lies hidden, but it is within reach.
The Gospel of Jesus Christ is the foundation for marriage. Christ, the bridegroom, left heaven to rescue the church, His bride. He died and bled on the cross as a substitute for His church’s sins. He washes her, forgives her, cares for her, and enters into an eternal covenantal relational union with her. He calls her to be exclusively faithful to Him. And He guarantees His loving provision for her. Marriage, to be recovered, requires a recovery of biblical masculinity. It requires a man to love his wife like Christ does the church. Marriage, to be recovered, requires a recovery of biblical femininity. It requires a wife to submit to her husband like the church does to Christ. Marriage, to be recovered, requires a recovery of the Gospel. It requires repentance and faith towards God.
We cannot recover marriage unless we recover from our rebellion. Canadians will never recover marriage without recovering from the sexual revolution, the poisonous seeds of which have taken deep root across our nation. Only the power of God can uproot them and replace them with the life-giving seeds of the Gospel. If you want marriage recovery, you must turn to the One who defines marriage in the Bible. You cannot recover without a Saviour.
Our national problem is not a tax problem or a policy problem. It’s not even a marriage or family problem. Our national problem is a rebellion problem, a sin problem. We have raised our fists in defiance of our Creator, and the only way to recover is through the blood of the cross. The Bridegroom stands waiting and pleading: “Come now, let us reason together, says the LORD: though your sins are like scarlet, they shall be as white as snow; though they are red like crimson, they shall become like wool” (Isaiah 1:18).
Marriage won’t be the only thing we lose if we stay on this destructive path. The cost of sin is judgment at the hands of our Creator Who is Himself an all-consuming fire. But the gift of God is eternal life in Christ Jesus the Lord.
Choose this day whom you will serve, whether the gods who led you into this mess, or the gods that are taking you further into destruction. But as for me and my house, we will serve the LORD.