From the beginning, God created us in His image and likeness, male and female he created us, and called us to a life of love and communion with others. It is living this way that we become happy, healthy, and whole. Relationships are essential to our lives and need to be developed and nurtured.
Marriage is a special committed relationship between one man and one woman. It not only serves as a way for a couple to intimately care for one another for a lifetime, but it is a protective environment for the begetting and raising of children. From ancient times, society has placed an emphasis on marriage because it has recognized that children of married parents are better protected and have a greater chance of growing up to be happy, healthy members of the community. Plenty of social science studies show that when marriages dissolve, children suffer.
There are many things causing threats to the marriage covenant and the family unit. High rates of fornication, cohabitation, adultery, divorce, children conceived out of wedlock, emphasis on artificial birth control, abortion, the pandemic of pornography and sex addiction, absentee fathers, and the push for same-sex and even multi-partner "marriage" have put marriage and the family in a state of crisis.
It is estimated that divorce and unwed childbearing alone cost United States taxpayers more than $112 billion a year. (1) It is a sad state of affairs that marriage and family are now considered disposable, optional, and able to be redefined.
Families are held together by a lifelong married commitment of one man and one woman who serve in a complementary way in conceiving and nurturing children born to them. Marriage is the foundation of family units that have always been the building blocks of civilization. Not only do strong marriages make for strong communities, but the benefits of traditional marriage are well-documented. Married people live longer, are sick less often, have higher salaries, and enjoy greater social and emotional support. Children who are raised in a home with their mother and father are less likely to drop out of school or live in poverty. They are also at a lower risk of being sexually active as teenagers and more likely to finish college.
Compared to children living with their mothers and fathers, those from divorced families are known to academically struggle more, live in poverty, use drugs and alcohol, engage in high-risk behaviors, commit suicide, and experience psychological and relationship challenges in adulthood. Numerous studies show that children who are not living with their biological mother and father are at increased risk for sexual and physical abuse and violence. The National Marriage Project warns, “The evidence suggests that the most unsafe of all family environments for children is that in which the mother is living with someone other than the child’s biological father.”(2) The legislation of same-sex “marriage” has set up a situation where children are denied either a mother or a father. It can be assumed many of these children may have the same negative consequences as those from divorced families.
It is the obligation of the community to counter the negative impact for children who are conceived out of wedlock, in a divorce, or a widowed situation. Adoption, extended family and friend involvement, organizations like Big Brothers and Big Sisters, all focus on helping those in a less than ideal circumstance. Current legislation seems to have forgotten why these assistance measures were enacted when they intentionally subject children to a less than ideal home life.
DISTINCT ROLE OF MOTHER AND FATHER
Mothers and fathers have a permanent connection with their children. A good parent-child bond is best created when all members of the family live together within the framework of the parents’ marriage. The distinct role of father and mother is needed to best help a child become a responsible and caring adult. A marital union provides the best protective place for raising children. The family unit is the building block of social structure. The very foundation of our culture has been built on the stability of a husband and wife in the marriage bond. The love and obligations of husbands and wives for each other and their children provide the security for not only the family, but all of society.
It is for this reason that governing bodies throughout history found it necessary to recognize and support marriage. Marriage has always been in the interest of society because of the recognized importance it carries in procreating and raising children. No other relationships have needed State recognition and protection. The recent redefinition of marriage to mean an affectionate relationship between any two-committed people is dangerous for children, marriages, families, and the entire society.
This redefining of marriage weakens all that was previously supported in our marriage laws. It increases family instability and undermines the procreative and protective role of marriage, especially for children. These new laws proclaim that marriage is just an emotional union, not a bodily union with the power to procreate and protect biological children. Instead of supporting the reality of a specific man and a specific woman committed to each other and the protection of their offspring, it usurps this reality. In fact, now that marriage does not require one male united to one female, it follows that there is no longer a way to ensure it is limited to just two people and could include several.
The redefinition of marriage has caused a greater intrusion into Christian family life. As birth certificates and other documents are changing terms such as ‘mother’ and ‘father’ to ‘parent one’ and ‘parent two’ there is an attempt to destroy the unique contribution of men and women in family life. Today children are taught in elementary school about all alternative forms of ‘marriage’ creating a confusion on gender roles and procreation in the minds of innocent little ones. We now live in an era where traditional views about marriage, as a permanent union of one man and one woman, can be unlawful!
ELIZABETH MINISTRY INTERNATIONAL VIEW
Elizabeth Ministry International believes sacramental marriage, as defined by the Catholic Church, is fundamental to civilization. We follow Scripture and all Catholic Teaching related to marriage as a sacramental union of one man and one woman for life.
Elizabeth Ministry International follows the example of Zechariah and Joseph as they went counter-cultural to defend the dignity of their spouses and the sanctity of marriage. We are called to challenge our culture specifically in these areas:
Marriage is a union instituted by God and civil authorities do not have the right to change the meaning or purpose.
We believe marriage is a sacred covenant, ordained by God to be a lifelong, conjugal commitment between one man and one woman.
We believe God created humans in the image and likeness of God, intentionally as male and female, with each gender having unique and complementary merits. These two genders are necessary to follow God’s plan for relationships, sexuality, and childbearing. Both male and female are essential for procreation and important in the nurturing of children.
We cherish children and believe they are a blessing from God. Traditional marriage offers children the benefit of experiencing the unique and complementary qualities of both male and female in loving parents.
We will uplift marriage and seek to oppose attempts to redefine it as anything other than one-man and one-woman in a life-long committed relationship.
We define family as relationships created by marriage, blood, or bond of adoption and sacramental connections.
We believe that pre-marital and extra-marital sexual unions are inappropriate. However, if such activities result in a conception, the baby has dignity and must be protected from abortion and parents given the support needed.
We consider artificial birth control, abortion, and sterilization to be grave sins. If after prayerful discernment a couple feel they need to delay pregnancy, natural family planning is the only acceptable method.
We assist married couples who are facing marital problems in the hope of reconciliation and avoiding divorce.
Although we have great compassion for couples suffering infertility, we believe any assisted reproduction technology that replaces the married couple’s marital act for conception is not licit.
We believe that lust, the use of pornography, masturbation, and other forms of fornication or adultery are grave evils and must be avoided. We understand these behaviors can have a debilitating effect and we offer programs to assist individuals in their struggles to reclaim sexual health and holiness. We also offer supportive resources for healing family members affected by unhealthy sexual behaviors. SEE: RECLAIM SEXUAL HEALTH
LINK TO: SACRAMENT OF MARRIAGE
Note: A Parish Elizabeth Ministry Chapter may offer some marriage support, but if you are seeking more than is offered locally, Elizabeth Ministry International offers consultations, mentors, resources, referrals, retreats, and speaker presentations regarding marriage enrichment and healing. Contact us for more information!