“New Zealand has become something of a marital wasteland…. Last year, for every 1000 single people of a marriageable age, 22 got married. That’s less than a quarter of the 1971 peak rate of 91 per 1000.”
The Society for Promotion of Community Standards Inc. has as one of its objects “To promote wholesome personal values, consistent with the moral teachings of the Bible, including strong family life and the benefits of lasting marriage as the foundation for stable communities.” (S. 2[c] of Society’s Constitution).
The Society finds the responses of those interviewed by Stuff News on the meaning and importance of marriage, very encouraging (in particular the case quoted below).
Stuff News spoke with couples about what marriage means to them:
Names: Amy and Brett [surnames deleted]; business owners, Christchurch. Marital status: Engaged
How long have you known each other, and how long have you been a couple? We met when I was nine and Brett was 10, we were in standard four and both in the same class. Brett used to buy me 50c mixtures. We got together 12 months ago when I was 28 and Brett 29. Brett proposed last month.
Why is marriage important to you?
Amy: For me it’s a commitment, a decision to share everything I am, my faith, ups and downs, to care and love someone who has declared to do the same for me. We want to celebrate the start of our lives together in ceremony that includes our families and friends supporting us on our journey. Brett: It’s a declaration and commitment before God that you are going to love and support that person, care and grow with them for life.
What is the role of marriage in society, why do people still get married?
Amy: Its the foundation of society, a team of two who recognise that with each other they can support and encourage each other in every area of life, raise a strong healthy family as a unit with similar core values and beliefs. People get married for various reasons; romantic, religious and convenience. Mostly though because at some level couples still see the value or specialness of a public ceremony. It still holds a romantic buzz that declares that this relationship is special, we are in love and we want to make a statement to the world! Brett: To create a family together which has a stable foundation and the skills to have a positive impact on our future. A family with a social and moral conscience. People still get married because it’s a very special moment in someone’s life when they feel ridiculously comfortable, happy and couldn’t imagine their life without them, aka love.
Why do you think the number of marriages is in decline?
Amy: High divorce rates possibly takes the sparkle or allure out of marriage, especially for children who have experienced it. Pursuing careers and getting financially ahead is a pretty strong focus these days before considering marriage. Brett: I guess some people have seen marriages implode and question its relevance or value in their own lives. It is a shame that marriage doesn’t have a better track record.
Have your views on marriage changed over time? How?
Amy: No I’m a traditional girl and have always dreamed of my wedding day and waiting for the right guy at the right time. Brett: Apart from the fact I thought I was going to get married at 23 (when I was young this seemed like the right time) and I’m now 30 it’s pretty much the same. Amy: I actually thought I would marry at 23 too, I think that was what both our parents did. So maybe our views on marriage did change along the way!