There is a WAY to make each year of marriage happier than the last. You need to understand the KEYS to this vital problem.
FAMILY breakdown is fast reaching epidemic proportions," warns the Family Service Association of America. The Association cited as evidence of the SERIOUSNESS of family deterioration these important facts: 1) One in every four new marriages today ends in divorce. 2) The illegitimacy rate has TRIPLED since 1938. Each year, there are more than two hundred thousand illegitimate births. 3) The delinquency rate has nearly TRIPLED since 1940. What does it all mean?
Happy Families are VITAL
Reasonably happy, stable families are the very BASIS of any culture or civilization which is to endure. The breakdown of the family is listed as one of the five great CAUSES of the collapse of the Roman Empire. Yet, unhappy marriages and BROKEN HOMES are now among America's greatest national problems. As LIFE magazine stated in a series of articles on marriage: "Whatever the reactions, whatever the cause of the trouble, the fifteen million Americans who have been through the divorce courts are a large and increasingly important part of our society. They already constitute the largest group of divorced people ever gathered together in one nation, and their ranks are being joined by two thousand recruits everyday of every month." Think of it. Over fifteen MILLION Americans who have personally been through the divorce courts — plus additional MILLIONS of little children who also reap the bitter fruit of these statistics! But as the article in LIFE states: "Yet when it comes to prescribing a better method which might result in fewer divorces than now plague the U.S., the experts are at a loss...." WHY have they no solution? What is the BASIS for their theories about marriage and divorce?
Have a BASIS for Your Ideas and Information
Is there a real, genuine AUTHORITY to which we can turn for correct and unimpeachable information on how to have a truly SUCCESSFUL marriage? Very frankly, there are as many "ideas" and "theories" about what kind of marriage is best, what sort of rules should be followed in marriage, and under what circumstances divorce and remarriage should be considered as there are religions, philosophies and men and women who write such ideas. However, you long-time readers of The PLAIN TRUTH will notice that the servants of God who write in the pages of this magazine have a unanimity of opinion on every major issue of life. This is because we go to the SAME AUTHORITY for our information! We have PROVED — as thousands of you have also — that there is a real GOD. We have proved that His Word — the Holy Bible — is literally inspired. We have seen and experienced that the laws and principles of God really WORK. They are living and moving things — like the law of gravity. They automatically OPERATE — and don't require divine intervention to take their effect. They reveal the mind, the attitude, the viewpoint and the revealed WILL of Almighty God who made us in His image. If you have not studied and really PROVED this matter, then you should certainly do so immediately! Read Mr. Armstrong's attractive free 28-page booklet entitled: The Proof of the Bible. This will give you definite, factual PROOF of God's existence and of His direct inspiration of the pages of the Holy Bible — the book which so many people possess but so few people really believe in and apply as their rule of life. Nearly all of you reading this undoubtedly consider yourselves as Christians — followers of Jesus of Nazareth. But Jesus said: "It is written, that man shall not live by bread alone, but by EVERY WORD OF GOD" (Luke 4:4). If you are tired of hearing the contradictory ideas and theories of little men who are here today and dead and buried tomorrow, if you are willing to take the directly inspired Word of Almighty GOD for your authority, then you can learn the real WAY to achieve a happy marriage by directly applying and living by His inspired instructions on this extremely important part of human life. For some, this knowledge may come too late to save a marriage that is already virtually on the rocks. But in nearly every other case, these inspired KEYS to marital happiness should greatly improve the joys of any marriage — especially where both man and wife are applying them together in love as a "team."
WHY We Are Male and Female
Today's supposedly learned psychiatrists and marriage counselors theorize that the institution of marriage "evolved" just like they also theorize that man evolved from the dumb ape or from an amoeba in the warm ocean slime. They guess that we just "happened" to become male and female, that men and women just "happened" to begin living together as man and wife, and therefore we are free to invent our own HUMAN ideas and solutions regarding the problems of the marriage state. Built on such shaky foundations, it is no wonder that so many modern marriages end up in utter chaos! However, Jesus Christ of Nazareth gave a very different explanation: "But from the beginning of the creation GOD made them male and female. For this cause shall a man leave his father and mother, and cleave to his wife; and they twain shall be ONE FLESH. So then they are no more twain, but one flesh. What therefore GOD hath joined together let no man put asunder" (Mark 10:6-9). Jesus said it is GOD who made us male and female — we didn't just "happen" to get that way. Jesus stated that it is GOD who binds a man and woman together in marriage as one flesh. Now, WHY did God make us male and female and what were HIS PURPOSES in instituting the marriage state in the first place? To find God's answers to these questions, we need to turn back to the beginning of His Word and read them. After creating Adam and putting him in the Garden of Eden, God said: "It is not good that the man should be alone; I will make him an help meet (suitable) for him" (Gen. 2:18). First of all, then, before ever creating woman, God revealed that the man was INCOMPLETE of and by himself. Physically, man is not "all there" unless he has a mate, a life partner. But notice carefully that woman was not made as man's competitor or potential enemy, but as a "suitable" help for him. Finding that none of the animals had the characteristics necessary for a life partner with whom man could share his love, his plans, his hopes and dreams, God caused a deep sleep to fall upon Adam. He took one of his ribs, and from it formed a woman and brought her to the man. And Adam said: "This is now bone of my bones, and flesh of my flesh: she shall be called Woman, because she was taken out of Man" (Verse 23).
Woman's PURPOSE for Being
This simple but beautiful account shows WHY every little baby girl inherits life and breath! This shows woman her real GOAL — her REASON for being! If every little boy could be taught from babyhood up to love and RESPECT all girls and women because they were directly put here by God to SHARE his life and love — and to enrich it! If every little girl could be taught from birth that her real GOAL in life is not to compete with men or with other women; but to help and inspire all men and women by her warmth, love and femininity — and prepare some day to completely share in the life of a husband whom she should love, respect and OBEY as her human leader, protector, provider and life companion! Then there simply WOULD NOT EXIST all the perverted ideas and theories of modern, divorce-ridden men and women about "fifty-fifty marriages," part-time wives and divorce and remarriage. Men and women would then prepare to do their part in fulfilling GOD'S purpose in creating us male and female — and by HIS authority establishing the marriage state as what should be a great BLESSING to mankind. This may sound trite or old-fashioned to some who apparently think they have "progressed" far beyond the wisdom of their Creator. But the application of these principles would save millions of homes from the state of WRETCHEDNESS in which they now exist!
Who Is the HEAD of the House?
A nation divided against itself CANNOT stand! In like manner, a home that is divided — a home without a head, will NOT endure! In our modern homes, one of several things takes place. In many instances both parents simply submit to their rebellious children and let their whims and fancies dictate family policy. In a prophecy which in a dual sense refers to our English-speaking peoples today, God said: "And I will give children to be their princes and babes shall rule over them... the child shall behave himself proudly against the ancient... children are their oppressors and women rule over them" (Isaiah 3:4-5, 12). We can SEE this prophecy taking place all about us today! As the prophecy indicates, when parents let the children have a free hand, it usually involves mother doing any other ruling that she thinks necessary. And, of course, another wide-spread practice is for the wife to just take over and act as the head of the family herself. In this case, the husband is usually squelched and humbled like a whipped dog, and the children are usually rowdy and impudent because of this topsy-turvy state of affairs. Any of these situations is sure to bring unhappiness and TROUBLE because they are in direct defiance of the Divinely ordained pattern of authority which God set in the home. It is God who made us male and female. It is GOD who instituted the home and family. Whether it appeals to human reason and desires or not, here is what God says about who is to be the head of the house: "Wives, SUBMIT yourselves unto your own husbands, as unto the Lord. For the husband is the HEAD of the wife, even as Christ is the head of the church: and he is the saviour of the body" (Eph. 5:22·23). Speaking of the qualifications for ministers, the apostle Paul said that such a man must be: "One that RULETH well his own house, having his children in subjection with all gravity" (I Timothy 3:4). IF he will only use it, man has been given the potential of wisdom, understanding, determination, self-control, physical strength and many other qualities which best fit him to act as the provider, the protector, the leader and the HEAD of the family.
The Right Estimation of Wifehood
Although many women won't admit it because of their own VANITY and because of the perverted teachings of modern psychology, every normal woman secretly wants her husband to rule her, in love, and to take his rightful place as the head of the house. She can find her greatest HAPPINESS only as a wife and mother who can rely on the protective leadership of a loving husband who is STRONG in character and in purpose. If marriages are ever going to be successful, young women need to be TAUGHT and schooled in these God-given principles of marriage. Instead of learning to compete with men in business, industry and society, they need to train to become a real HELP to their future husbands, and an efficient mother to their children. Discussing the reasons for the terrible divorce problem, a prominent jurist recently declared that American women just don't know how to be wives. "Why do so many American GIs marry German and Japanese girls?" he asks. Then answers, "Because these women are taught to be wives. They perform the historic function of a wife. And they don't try to wear the pants!" Most modern women have an entirely FALSE concept of what constitutes a "success" in life for a woman. By training and example, they are either taught to become a "career woman" and compete with men in the business world, or else they are encouraged to become "dominating" wives who argue loud and long that marriage is a "50-50 proposition," but who in actual fact always end up in bossing their husbands. And women of this group nearly always have many "outside interests" — women's clubs, bridge clubs and innumerable contacts with other women like themselves — partly to smooth over the inevitable doubts and frustrations that arise as a result of this unnatural situation. In either case, the woman is taken outside the home a good deal of the time. The husband has only a "part-time" wife who wants to wear the pants. And the children end up with a part-time mother who undermines the father's authority in front of their very eyes and who cannot — by her very nature — replace him as the strong, wise guiding hand which every home MUST have to be completely happy and successful. Instead of the false modern concept, God COMMANDS older Christian women: "That they may teach the young women to be sober, to love their husbands, to love their children, to be discreet, chaste, KEEPERS AT HOME, good, OBEDIENT to their own husbands, that the word of God be not blasphemed" (Titus 2:4-5). Is that CLEAR? That is GOD speaking! The only question is — are we going to argue and "reason," or are we going to OBEY?
The Right Balance
But there is another side to this coin. Husbands should not only understand but RESPECT the high calling of their wives. They should give God thanks for their help, and for their co-operation and obedience. Every man should drive himself to provide a decent living for his wife and children — and should then keep his wife at home, where GOD says she belongs. And he should pray for love, wisdom and self-control in leading and guiding his family, and in being the kind of father that his wife and children can look up to with the right kind of pride. Every husband must use his "backbone" and willpower to take his rightful place as the head of his house. But to have a happy and successful home, he must do this in the right attitude. He must not be swelled up with pride and begin to "lord it over" his wife and children as a tyrant or dictator. Rather, he must strive to give and to SERVE his family as its leader and provider. In humility, he should realize that he is best qualified to do this, and that he is held RESPONSIBLE for doing it properly. God commands: "Husbands, LOVE your wives, even as Christ also loved the church, and gave himself for it" (Eph. 5:25). Both men and women need a new concept of marriage and of wifehood. They need to realize the great IMPORTANCE of a woman taking her place in the home as a good cook, an efficient housekeeper, a good mother who will not only care for but will teach and train her children in the right way, and a loving wife and companion for her husband. Such a wife and mother merits the very highest respect and honor of her husband, her family, and of the whole society. In describing such a woman, Solomon wrote: "Who can find a virtuous woman? for her price is far above rubies. The heart of her husband doth safely trust in her, so that he shall have no need of spoil" (Prov. 31:10-11). Men and women have left God out of their thinking about love, sex, marriage and the family. Yet it is GOD who has ordained and instituted all of these!
The Right Attitude Toward Love and Sex
There is a great difference between the selfish, infantile emotion so many young people think of as "love" and the mature Christian love which every happily married couple should understand and experience. One of the problems encountered by young couples whose marriage is based upon infantile love is that each is expecting to receive all and give nothing. Each is so concerned with his own wants and desires that he is scarcely capable of recognizing the needs of his mate, or of fulfilling them. On the other hand, mature love is based upon the Bible principle: "It is more blessed to GIVE than to receive." It seeks not primarily its own satisfaction, but wants to serve the beloved, to contribute to the fullest happiness and good of the other. And it is willing to work and sacrifice to achieve this goal. Mature love does not make of sex an end in itself. Rather, our attitude toward sex should be based upon the understanding that it was GOD who made us male and female — it was God who created sex. Sex is as God-given and worthy as speech, sight or hearing and like these should be used properly — as the Creator intended. In marriage, sex should be the highest expression of physical LOVE. As the apostle Paul commands, husband and wife should each regard his or her body as the property of the other (I Cor. 7:1-5). Their relation should be based on an outgoing love and concern for the beloved's happiness and welfare. Their attitude should be one of giving and serving. Every young couple should know and understand the two great PURPOSES of sex. First, that it is to propagate the race — "be fruitful and multiply" (Gen. 1:28). Secondly, as indicated by the passage in I Corinthians 7, it is to be that complete sharing of two personalities in which each considers that he belongs to the other — a relationship and a sharing designed to protect and to increase the love of husband and wife for each other. Any other reason for sex either in or outside of marriage is sin — and will ultimately bring sorrow, retribution and shame upon the parties involved! If young people in dating, courtship and marriage would understand and abide by these two great purposes of sex, their behavior would alter radically. First, there would be no more of the kind of "necking" that all too often leads to pre-marital sex. And realizing the true meaning of love and sex, young couples would marry out of Love — not lust or the various desires to please the self. A knowledge of the technical functions of sex in the human family is important to every young couple. Once this is mastered, understanding and PRACTICING the "giving" and "sharing" principle in love and sex will practically guarantee continued happiness in this vital phase of married life.
Bring GOD into the Marriage and Family
Almighty GOD must be brought into our thinking — not only about the limited aspects of sex and marriage as such — but about the entire meaning and PURPOSE of the home and family. We need to realize that God ORDAINED the home and family relationship as the basis of all decent society! Part of the very purpose of the family relationship is to give men and women the opportunity to OVERCOME the very difficulties in marriage which we have already outlined — plus many, many more. By building the right kind of home, men and women can achieve their greatest happiness in this life. But even more important than that, they are making use of a God-ordained opportunity to build the highest type of CHARACTER for all eternity! That is why any type of sex relation outside of a Godly marriage is SIN and is punishable by DEATH in the lake of fire! It is cheapening and degrading any future marriage in advance. It is WRECKING the very basis of all decent society! And that is why our modern practice of divorce — and especially of divorce and remarriage — is such a crime and a SIN in the eyes of Almighty God. This damnable practice teaches young people at their slightest whim to cast aside the RESPONSIBILITY God laid on them as husband and wife to learn the lessons of patience and faithfulness and self-sacrifice in marriage; and to build the kind of CHARACTER for which God placed them on this earth! The Almighty commands: "What therefore God hath joined together, let NOT man put asunder" (Mark 10:9). If you do not yet fully understand the scriptural truth on this entire subject of divorce and remarriage, then read immediately for Mr. Armstrong's free booklet entitled, Divorce and Remarriage.
The real ANSWER to our divorce problem, then, is to teach young people not only the purely technical aspects of sex, but that love is something we GIVE and share with others. Teach them God's pattern of organization in the home — that the father is the leader and provider of the home — and that he is the Head of the house. As Judge Samuel S. Liebowitz recently said in an excellent article in Reader's Digest, proposing his solution to the problem of juvenile delinquency: "Put Father back at the head of the family." Then we must teach our young women to prepare for wifehood as their highest and most honorable calling. They should learn to cook without relying on a can-opener, to sew, to properly care for and train their children, to be a loving help — a crown and glory to their husbands. We need to restate God's PURPOSE in marriage and the home — that it is a place to build both happiness and CHARACTER. Young people will then follow a new concept in dating and picking a mate. They will realize that sex is only a part of the entire expression of love in marriage and the home. Husband and wife will then learn to give and share in the entire marriage relation. Each will know his God-given place in the home, and will take it with humility. Together, they will teach, train and discipline their children. From babyhood, Father will teach his children respect for authority — SOLVING the juvenile delinquency problem before it even starts. Yet all of this will be carried out in an atmosphere of LOVE and consideration for the ultimate good of the entire family. Realizing and following God's PURPOSE, the home will become the center of family life and recreation. There will be real family fellowship and fun at mealtime when everyone eats together under Father's watchful and kindly eye. Instead of all "canned" entertainment through TV, radio or the movies, many evenings will be spent around the fireplace, in family games or contests, or in reading and talking together. There will be family outings, sightseeing trips, hikes, picnics and camping trips. There will be special dinners and all-day occasions with relatives and friends. An atmosphere of unity, of "togetherness," of LOVE will permeate the entire family. All of this will be possible because the giving and serving attitude in love, sex and marriage will be understood and practiced. And because there will be good organization and direction in all family affairs with Father as the recognized Head of the family — and with Mother gladly and proudly backing him up and helping in every way. And it will be possible if GOD is recognized as the real founder of marriage — and as the Head and Father of all the human family, to be served, honored, and obeyed. In spite of the temporary trials and problems inherent in this physical existence, a marriage based on these principles will yield great peace and happiness throughout this life — and eternal life in the World Tomorrow. This is the ANSWER to the divorce problem of America and all the world! This is the WAY in which your marriage can be made beautiful, meaningful and JOYFUL!