The definition of marriage has come under intense debate in recent years among people who not accept the Bible as God's final rule for faith and practice and thus propose a variety of definitions to suit their personal lifestyle preferences. Now three professors, two at Princeton and one at Notre Dame have written a strong definition of marriage based on solid research showing what is best for families and society as a whole without referring to Scripture to support their case.

Robert George of the Department of Politics and Sherif Girgis of the Department of Philosophy at Princeton University along with Ryan T. Anderson, Professor of Political Science at Notre Dame University have collaborated on an article, "What is Marriage". This article is published in the Harvard Journal of Law and Public Policy in the Winter 2010 issue. It may be accessed online at http://ssrn.com/abstract=1722155 From this abstract site the entire article may be downloaded.

These men argue that in the context of a home with mother and father children are most likely to become healthy physically and emotionally. Single parent homes are the largest single cause of families living below the poverty level and producing delinquent children.

Further, as much of Western society has rejected God's plan for the permanence of marriage co-habitation outside of marriage and easy devorces have become epidemic among people not taking marriage and their wedding vows seriously.

The New York Times in their Vows and Celebrations section told of a high profile couple in New York City who were in healthy marriages with children when they, Carol Anne Riddell met John Partillo in a Pre-school program where each had children enrolled. It was instant attraction to one another as "soul mates". After fighting the urges for several years they finally gave in to their passions and broke up two marriages so they could be happily together for life. And at the cost of the happiness of their original spouses and children. What are vows for if we can break them when we meet someone who seems more attractive to us? May our churches teach the importance of marriage vows for the good of our families and society as a whole. The best of marriages have their struggles, but studies have shown that most couples who work through these problems and remain together are happier five years later than those who bail out and remarry. I suspect the Partillos will be a case in point. Would I trust a person's vow in marriage if they have already broken that vow with someone else? For too many today the vows are no longer "til death do we part", but rather until "I grow weary of you and find someone else more appealing"!

In light of the importance of marriage Governor Walker has proclaimed February 7-14 as National Marriage Week in Wisconsin. Read more about this special week with ideas about how to celebrate marriage at http://nationalmarriageweekusa.org/

This Valentine's Day do something with your spouse to strengthen your marriage. Renew your vows with the help of your pastor. Go on a marriage retreat or get involved in a small group of people with like interests that becomes a support group for you through the exigencies of life. Get an accountability partner to challenge you weekly on the disciplines of a moral and spiritual lifestyle. Strenghten your relationship with God through daily bible reading and prayer so that you do not succumb to temptation to stray when opportunity to do so presents itself. May God help us all and have mercy on us all.

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