In Genesis God created the family as the first institution. The first family consisted of Adam and Eve along with their children Cain, Abel, Seth and others who aren’t mentioned by name. In today’s cultural environment, marriage is often painted in a negative light.
When my wife and I were engaged to be married, we mentioned to someone that we were set to be married very soon and the person said something like “are you sure you want to get married this young?” At the time, my wife and I were in our early 20’s. We laughed it off and moved on but as I look back on that conversation, the individual who made that statement had a poor view of marriage. Not too long ago, it was common for folks to wed in their teens. Some baby boomers married when they were 16 or 17.
Another area within marriage that our culture often has a warped view of is what Genesis calls multiplication, otherwise known as childbearing. From a very young age, I have always dreamed of having a large family. One day I told my mother that I wanted to start an orphanage when I grow up. What I meant is that I wanted a house full of children similar to an orphanage. My desire hasn’t changed. My wife and I have been married for nearly six years and we have three boys under four years old. The youngest two are twins and my oldest son actually turns four this month. When my wife and I talk in public about all of the kids we want we get mixed reactions. Some positive and some negative.
I believe one’s views of marriage and childbearing, whether positive or negative, are influenced by two critical areas of life.
The first area of influence is an individual’s upbringing or childhood. Whether or not an individual grew up in a healthy family where there was a mother and father in the home along with siblings could be a contributing factor. If someone had a troubled childhood then they may view marriage and childbearing more negatively. Some people struggle with developing a positive image of the family simply due to the fact that they have no healthy model on which to base their worldview.
The second yet most important area of influence is whether or not someone is a born-again believer in Jesus Christ. If someone is a Christian their worldview is based upon God’s Word. This individual likely has a more positive view of marriage and family.
While we’re all born into sin and struggle daily with our sinful nature, God’s desire is that we strive to lift up His design for marriage and family and do so with joy. This involves training our minds in God’s Word as Paul speaks to in Romans 12:2 when he says:
Do not be conformed to this world, but be transformed by the renewal of your mind, that by testing you may discern what is the will of God, what is good and acceptable and perfect.
Yes, marriage involves work and setting your own selfish desires aside but the potential reward is plentiful. Marriage is a blessing from God. Proverbs 18:22 says “He who finds a wife finds a good thing and obtains favor from the Lord.” Children are a blessing from God. Psalm 127:3 states that “Behold, children are a heritage from the Lord, the fruit of the womb a reward.”
When speaking of marriage and children, let’s do so with excitement and optimism treating the family institution with the respect and dignity that it deserves.