Explaining the Reality of Marriage in Secular Terms

Distribute Tracts of this Article Explaining Marriage in Secular Terms defending against "same-sex marriage"
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Have you ever been in a discussion and not known how to explain what marriage is, particularly in a secular conversation when you cannot fall back on the biblical or sacramental definition of marriage? There are several reasons for difficulty in explaining marriage today.

First, there is no longer a common understanding about what marriage is. People often start conversations about marriage without realizing they have very different views about what marriage is.

Second, the influences of the culture and changes in family structure make the goods of marriage related to procreation and the rearing and education of children, and their value to society, less apparent.

This article will help the reader understand how people see marriage differently and how to express its reality as an integral part of God’s plan for creation in a non-religious way that anyone can understand and accept. With the guidance of this tract, it is possible to discuss the different ways people understand marriage respectfully and without the need to talk about alternative lifestyles, complementarity of sexes, or sexual morality.

"same-sex marriage" confusion explaining what marriage is

Two Conflicting Understandings

Today, many people see marriage as merely an adult centric institution because there is a cultural rift in the connection between marriage and children. Many people put off having children until later in life. Others have children without getting married. Those married with children, due to smaller families and longer life spans, will spend the majority of their married lives without children at home. And, there are an increasing number of adults who never have children. So, for many:

marriage is merely the public recognition of a committed relationship between loving adults.

However in reality, marriage is a family centric institution. It is the foundation of a stable family. Therefore:

marriage unites a man and a woman with each other and any children born from their union.

That is what marriage is; that is what marriage does.

Notice that the first definition describes something just for adults—a private relationship with no public benefit.

The second definition, however, describes marriage as the foundation of a family, the foundation of society. Marriage described in this way incorporates the common human desire, of every person, to know and be cared for by his or her own mother and father. Marriage defined this way not only has a public interest, but also is in the interest of every child without exception. Because of this great divergence of understandings about marriage, it is important to clarify which definition you are using when discussing marriage.

Continued -- Part 2

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