Family. It is a word that brings a sense of peace and calm to the soul or a sense of dread. It is a word that can cause us to wince or to wink with a deep sense of God’s grace and blessing. It can be argued that nothing shapes us more as human beings than the homes we grow up in. Nothing. We live in an age where there is much fluctuation and confusion regarding the home and the family. Some worship the nuclear family as if a return to Leave it to Beaver land would solve all of our world’s problems. Others disregard biblical teaching on the family as if home life had no divine design or intention. We tell ourselves a family is whatever you make of it and we have reaped a whirlwind. We tell ourselves that any configuration of humans is just as good as any other while the ache of the soul in fracture and isolation sings its dirge.
God has been infinitely kind to set the solitude in families. He has a purpose for singleness, marriage and children with all being part of one larger family of faith. Each of us had the opportunity to shape one another’s lives and impart grace and truth to the next generation. At Jacob’s Well we are rooting for the home team: singles, husbands, wives, moms and dads as well as all the little shorties in between.
This essay will serve us in an introductory fashion and also provide footnotes and resources for further study in our community. Here I will lay out what we mean by the term Home Team and then describe briefly why we should root for it. Yet before getting to this I want to offer a few disclaimers.
Before we begin, I think it is necessary to offer a few disclaimers of what my heart is as we go about discussing a topic as sensitive as marriage and family. Consider these a heads up before we begin to keep in mind as we travel along.
For the Singles
For several years I was the pastor of a young adult congregation at a large church in the Nashville, TN metro area. I worked with hundreds of singles and walked with them through all manner of life issues and struggles. I still remember as I started this job fighting tooth and nail not to call our ministry “the singles group.” First, it brought up the far too common vision of a Christian mingle meat market in the south. Second, I don’t think God defines us by our current marital status as our identity is in Jesus not whether or not a ring is on the finger.
Furthermore, I know that discussing sex, marriage and family with people not yet married can be a sensitive subject. Some deeply desire to be married, yesterday, some are unfortunately completely uninterested in the subject “until later on in life” while still others are worshipping “getting married” to the point that it grows obnoxious for all their friends. Let me just talk straight for a moment. Not all will be called to marriage; statistically most will marry at some time in life. Not all want to be married, buy many deeply desire this. I guess I want to call my non married friends to a few things. The first is hope. Your hope need be in the gospel and if you hope to be married someday that is not a bad thing. Keep hope alive! The second is helpfulness. You can be helpful to many people and their families all around you. No I’m not saying that you just get the title of designated baby sitter but you can be a person who helps make disciples of people young and old. Give your life to things of God and don’t make your story simply about waiting for what is next. Life is now, live it under the rule and reign of Jesus for God’s glory and the good of others. Third, I want you to learn. Even if you learn about marriage and family and you never marry you will learn something about God, his grace, his love for us and his purposes for the world.
Finally, I need all of us to know something very important. The deep longing we have for love, intimacy, friendship, being understood fully, etc. will not simply come from “getting married” – Just ask a married person. This desire to be fully completed by someone else will not be realized even in marriage as this comes from a relationship with God first and foremost.
Marriage and family is a mixed reality for many people today. Many of you, like me, come from families that were busted up by divorce. Some of you may look at marriage with deep suspicions and questions as it is only a painful memory for you. Others who are reading may be going through deep marital crisis or standing on the backside of a chaotic divorce. Issues surrounding marriage may be some of the most hurtful and devastating memories you have. This is reality. Life and relationships with other human beings is just hard and sin seems to ooze out of people who live most closely together. My hope for you is one big exhale and a desire to believe in something different and perhaps learn to breathe again in your view of marriage. I’m not saying you will be able to fix what was broken or that you should even enter into marriage again. I am saying that when we see marriage in the light of the Scriptures we can at least rejoice in God and his purposes. You might also know how to pray for and encourage married friends.
Many of us also have questions about being parents. Some are struggling to have children and meeting deep disappointment for various reasons. I can only say I understand this as it was our story for many years dealing with deep, recurring, disappointment. We are not promised kids but at times we wonder why this gift is not being given to us. For those who are walking in such seasons keep moving forward in hope and look at all ethical options before your family. God’s grace is sufficient for every season. You have our prayers.
Others have deep concerns about becoming a parent someday as you feel so wounded by your own upbringing. Parenting is hard work and a huge responsibility. Parents make mistakes and many times kids are wounded by Mom and Dad. Here is what I want to say to those who have pain in relationship to Mom and Dad and perhaps standing with a little trepidation about repeating the same sort of things with your own kids: You will not be perfect and a gospel context can make even our sins shape our families in a positive way. All people are going to fall short at times. How will you and your family deal with this? Will you posture, spin, cover up, lie, fake it, BS, hit people back or hide? Or can we respond in repentance and faith in Jesus? Jesus is great at forgiving people and putting back together the broken. The gospel in our homes will make a difference in healing past wounds and shaping a different future. We can trust this as we have faith in Him.
Ideals, Hopes and Reality
Any idealists out there? Anyone only see the world as it should be and not as it is? This can be a real struggle and there are two temptations I want to address as my last disclaimers. As a community we will struggle between radical optimistic idealism and a give up, don’t try fatalism when it comes to the home and family. Both are really problematic. The idealist can punish and reject the flawed people and world around him. The fatalist gives up her hope for a future where goodness and kindness can flourish in our homes. It is difficult to put forth the ideals of Scripture and not polarize as people. Here is my prayer for us. I want us to have hopes, dreams and prayers. I want us to look the reality of sin and selfishness in the face and see them as enemies to healthy friendships, relationships, marriages and families. Yet I want no despair. I want us to look at the beautiful and lofty truths of God about marriage and family and not see them as expectations of perfections but a calling to follow in faith allowing God’s work in our midst. If you don’t mind I would like apply GK Chesterton’s words about optimism and pessimism a bit here as we conclude these disclaimers:
I know this feeling fills our epoch, and I think it freezes our epoch. For our titanic purposes of faith and revolution, what we need is not the cold acceptance of the world as a compromise, but some way in which we can heartily hate and heartily love it. We do not want joy and anger to neutralize each other and produce a surly contentment; we want a fiercer delight and a fiercer discontent. We have to feel the universe at once as an ogre’s castle, to be stormed, and yet as our own cottage, to which we can return at evening. No one doubts that an ordinary man can get on with this world: but we demand not strength enough to get on with it, but strength enough to get it on. Can he hate it enough to change it, and yet love it enough to think it worth changing?
I want us to storm the castles of selfishness, hurtfulness and crappy home team realities all the while knowing that we need God’s grace, truth and lots of time to return to our own homes at evening. Will you root with me for the home team? Singles? Those coming through of painful situations? Idealists? Pessimists? Can we cheer for God to work in our lives, our marriages, our families and our church family? Yes, yes we can. Let’s root, root, root for the home team…if they don’t win it’s a shame. So as we begin such cheering let us look together biblically at what a home team is anyway. Here’s a quick high five…now let’s get on our way.
What is the home team?
To answer this question we must begin at our beginning as people were always meant to be on a team. The very way God created human beings indicates our purpose is found together in relationship. The Bible reads this way in Genesis 1:26-31.
26 Then God said, “Let us make man in our image, after our likeness. And let them have dominion over the fish of the sea and over the birds of the heavens and over the livestock and over all the earth and over every creeping thing that creeps on the earth.”
27 So God created man in his own image, in the image of God he created him; male and female he created them.
28 And God blessed them. And God said to them, “Be fruitful and multiply and fill the earth and subdue it, and have dominion over the fish of the sea and over the birds of the heavens and over every living thing that moves on the earth.” 29 And God said, “Behold, I have given you every plant yielding seed that is on the face of all the earth, and every tree with seed in its fruit. You shall have them for food. 30 And to every beast of the earth and to every bird of the heavens and to everything that creeps on the earth, everything that has the breath of life, I have given every green plant for food.” And it was so. 31 And God saw everything that he had made, and behold, it was very good. And there was evening and there was morning, the sixth day.
This passage clearly teaches us that God created humanity, male and female, in the image and after likeness of God. Dr. Wayne Grudem writes that this phrasing tells us simply “that man is like God and represents God.”As such human beings are unique in all creation and imbued the highest dignity, value and responsibility. Furthermore, the image of God includes male and female together. Much theological discussion has been given to what it means to be “in the image of God” but here we will touch on three.
First, some have said that human beings are like God in that they possess emotions, intellect, volition or other such built in capacity. This has been the predominant view in historical discussions. This has been known as the ontological or substantive view in that it bases the image in “something” in the nature of God that is shared by human beings. Second, others have said the key to understanding the phrase is functional in that it is describing God’s creating man to be his vice regents, or co-rulers on the earth. The giving of dominion in the passage above gets right at the heart of the matter. Finally others, particularly the writings of the Swiss theologian Karl Barth, have said that image of God means being in relationship. This seems a given by the description of man being created male and female. Barth describes his view in the following manner:
Men are simply male and female. Whatever else they may be it is only in this differentiation and relationship ... Man can and will always be man before God and among his fellows only as he is man in relationship to woman and woman in relationship to man.
I find value in each of the views and have taken them together to give a comprehensive definition. Human beings are created the way we are (ontologically), to serve as God’s responsible rulers on the earth (functionally) in community with him and one another (relationally). God is seen, known and experienced in relationships: people with God, God with his people and people with one another. This creative act of God and his plan for humanity was said to be very good. Yet there wasn’t just a random huddle of human beings created on the earth to steward, cultivate and care for the creation as God’s servants. God has something far more intimate in mind hinted at in Genesis 1. They are to be fruitful and multiply and fill the earth. The mandate to have dominion over the earth would go far beyond male and female for something would come forth from their own bodies. They would join in marriage and that marriage would serve God’s purposes for propagating humanity throughout the earth.
Genesis chapter two dials into more detail about the creation of human beings and it describes the complementary nature of men and women. We pick it up in verse 18:
18Then the Lord God said, “It is not good that the man should be alone; I will make him a helper fit for him.” 19 Now out of the ground the Lord God had formed every beast of the field and every bird of the heavens and brought them to the man to see what he would call them. And whatever the man called every living creature, that was its name. 20 The man gave names to all livestock and to the birds of the heavens and to every beast of the field. But for Adam there was not found a helper fit for him. 21 So the Lord God caused a deep sleep to fall upon the man, and while he slept took one of his ribs and closed up its place with flesh. 22 And the rib that the Lord God had taken from the man he made into a woman and brought her to the man. 23 Then the man said,
“This at last is bone of my bones and flesh of my flesh; she shall be called Woman, because she was taken out of Man.”
24 Therefore a man shall leave his father and his mother and hold fast to his wife, and they shall become one flesh. 25 And the man and his wife were both naked and were not ashamed.
Here we hear God saying something is “not good” following the creation of a human being. As many people can attest throughout history, and certainly any visitor to a frat house room can tell you, leave a guy by himself for too long and it is not going to be pretty. A single man was not God’s ideal for the human race. 2 +2 = 4. A man by himself = not good. The ladies all know this. GK Chesterton reflected on something similar in the following manner:
It is true that all sensible women think all studious men mad. It is true, for the matter of that, all women of any kind think all men of any kind mad. But they do not put it in telegrams any more than they wire to you that grass is green or God all-merciful. These things are truisms and often private ones at that.
The man certainly needs help, so God creates a woman from the man that is fit for or suitable for him. We see from the context precisely what is meant here. Out of all the living creatures in the world nothing was designed to complement the man and so he was left alone, no friend to hang close with, no partner in the gift of life, nothing but himself. Alone…and God says, “not good!” This is the context where we find the genesis of marriage.
Marriage is God’s idea not a human one. God is the one who fashions and creates the female to complement and be a helper to the man. We may ask the question: Help with what!?! I can say with confidence this partnership was not simply to be about paying rent or cleaning up around the house but a much higher joint-endeavor is in view here. Remember, created male and female, with the calling to rule and reign on the earth as image of God together. It is because of this design and calling that Genesis 2:24 begins with the word “Therefore.” This is what God has done…therefore men and women shall get married.
The marriage text at the close of Genesis chapter 2 clearly sets forth what a marriage involves. It involves leaving one’s father and mother, holding fast to one’s wife and becoming one flesh together. This leaving, cleaving and weaving comprise a covenant promise before God made together without shame. We will cover each briefly in turn.
Marriage as Leaving
There comes a time when a man should leave his parents’ house. A man should get educated and get to work. If this be the case he is prepared to assume the responsibility to love and serve a wife. The leaving part is when a new family is formed in the union between a husband and wife. This union involves making a covenant promise before God and leaving Mom and Dad to assume responsibility.
Marriage as Cleaving
Leaving and then “holding fast” to one’s spouse is the precise language of covenant which is used about God and his people. For instance, later in the Pentateuch, we read God’s calling for people to “hold fast” to him and his promises (Deuteronomy 4:4, 10:20). Furthermore, marriage is called a covenant clearly in the writings of the prophet Malachi. God’s had shown displeasure with his people and their offerings and we read part of the reason why in Malachi 2:
14 …But you say, “Why does he not?” Because the Lord was witness between you and the wife of your youth, to whom you have been faithless, though she is your companion and your wife by covenant. 15 Did he not make them one, with a portion of the Spirit in their union? And what was the one God seeking? Godly offspring. So guard yourselves in your spirit, and let none of you be faithless to the wife of your youth. 16 “For the man who does not love his wife but divorces her, says the Lord, the God of Israel, covers his garment with violence, says the Lord of hosts. So guard yourselves in your spirit, and do not be faithless.”
Holding fast to one another in marriage, faithfulness to the marriage covenant is a spiritual reflection of our ultimate commitment to our covenant making and covenant keeping God. This is a motif taken up by the prophets of the Old Testament. Israel is seen as an unfaithful bride to YHWH, one who is constantly turning on her faithful husband and whoring around with foreign deities, giving herself to other lovers. The entire writing of the prophet Hosea takes up this theme and the covenant imagery of marriage. In that case, however, God marries the whore!
We understand the categories of covenant clearly because of the gift to humanity of marriage. God is faithful yet our unfaithfulness to covenant (sin) is akin to committing spiritual adultery. God’s grace is to patiently call his bride away from illicit lovers and hold fast to his people. His people are the ones who hear his voice, draw near to God and cleave to him.
Marriage as Weaving
One of the most beautiful realities in creation is human sexuality. Our very bodies were designed to become one. The oneness of the marriage covenant is sealed by the oneness of the man and woman’s bodies coming together as one flesh. Leave, cleave and then weave: sexual union is the sign of the marriage covenant! I have written on sex and the glory of God in other places so I will refer you to that for more. What must be said here is that sex has many purposes in God’s design. First, it is for procreation, for bringing forth and raising children (Genesis 1, Malachi 2). Second, it is for unification, sealing a two people in devoted, faithful, intimate, unashamed relationship (Genesis 2). Third, it is for recreation, for the wonderful enjoyment of husband and wife together (see Song of Solomon). Finally, it is for glorification, sex is designed to teach us about the glory of God and his intense, wonderful love for his people (Ephesians 5).
Marriage – Covenant before God, No Shame
In our world of sexual brokenness, defilement, abuse, harassment and obsession and worship of naked bodies I deeply love the final words of Genesis 2. The two were naked and without shame. Here we find the man and woman without sin, without covering, without hiding and fully before God and unashamed. This is the design of God for the marriage relationship. Forming a new family, based in the covenant promises of marriage with the union sealed in our very bodies. This is the basic building block of human civilization and our understanding as our lives flowing from families.
Yet as we well know, sin entered the lives of human beings separating them from God and putting enmity between one another. As sinful people we know relationships are hard because we are self-centered. Tim and Kathy Keller say it this way:
Any two people who enter into marriage are spiritually broken by sin, which among other things means to be self-centered—living life incurvatus in se [Latin for turned inward on oneself]. As the author Denis Rougement said, “Why should neurotic, selfish, immature people suddenly become angels when they fall in love…?”
Sin and selfishness seem to reign everywhere under the sun. Yet God’s purposes for humanity have not been revoked. He is redeeming people through good news and restoring us to the high calling we have as people to image God on the earth. Doing so requires us to steward and fulfill his purpose for our lives together. This involves marriage, the multiplication of children and through his work among us seeing the goodness and redemption of God in real time.
This only happens as Christ works in the lives of sinful people, turning us godward rather than inward towards our selves. The Home Team needs less selfishness and more God honoring sacrifice for all. This is the essence of love to lay down ourselves for others.
The Home Team exists by God and for God so there are good reasons that we root for it. For in cheering for our Home Teams we will seek to reflect the glory of God. By cheering for the family we will also be about the good of other people. The family can also be a strong witness to the hope we have in the gospel of Jesus Christ together. To these issues we now turn.
Why do we root for it?
On the whole, I am rather less interested in what people do than why they do it.
- GK Chesterton
Why do we care to cheer for marriage and the family? The simplest reason we should cheer for marriages and families today is that our own happiness rests in this. This, however, would be far too simple a view and far too disposable on the days in our families that don’t feel so happy. Yet our good and our joy is one of the reasons we should root for the Home Team. It is indeed a blessing to have God’s grace alive in your marriage and family. We want to begin somewhere a little more stable however. We root for the home team because our families exist for the glory of God.
The Glory of God in the Home Team
Every designer, artist and engineer shares a little DNA from their creator. The desire to make something and design things is ingrained in us as part of the image of God. Think for a moment that you designed a new smartphone. It was elegant, fast and beautiful and designed to make modern communications and entertainment really sing. Picture now you put a button on it that turns the device on. Pretty simple right? Now imagine your friend decides that he wants the on button to shoot laser beams every time he touches. He tries to use his laser button and gets frustrated, declares the phone to suck and throws it away. Sounds silly right? What if we are not seeing marriage correctly for how God made it? We might want to give up on the institution, malign it, pervert it and even throw it away. When marriage operates for the design and purposes of God the beauty and glory of the designer is clearly seen.
I’ll never forget encountering a family seeking to live out the gospel together. As a college student I was blown away to see a man try to serve and guide his family. I was intrigued by Moms and Dads who apologized to their kids, repented of sin and asked forgiveness. I was blown away by people who thought themselves so flawed but sought to humble themselves to stay married, work through problems and be about others and not simply themselves. In fact, I saw glory there. God’s grace shining through a marriage and a family can be a very beautiful thing.
I root for the Home Team because I hope to see God’s beauty and grace in husbands loving wives and wives honoring their husbands. I root for the family because I see God’s truth when people serve one another in their homes, when kids obey their parents and parents lovingly discipline, build up and train up their kids.
Paul the great apostle of the early church gives some wonderful commands to husbands and wives in Ephesians chapter 5. Husbands are exhorted to humble, self-giving, sacrificial love for their wives. Men are called to literally lay down their lives, their agendas, their selfishness to be about the growth and spiritual well-being of their wives. Wives are called to respect their husbands, submit to his leadership out of love for God, to be on his team and be the partner in the gracious gift of life that God calls her to be. The key to the passage comes through at the end.
31“Therefore a man shall leave his father and mother and hold fast to his wife, and the two shall become one flesh.” 32 This mystery is profound, and I am saying that it refers to Christ and the church. 33 However, let each one of you love his wife as himself, and let the wife see that she respects her husband.
Paul quotes Genesis to tell us that our marriage is about Jesus and the church! The way we love and respect one another is designed to display something. Marriage is far from simply a romantic dance between two people but has the capacity to carry with it a glimpse into the glory of Jesus Christ. I think this is worth rooting for and learning how to work marriage in the way God designed it by his grace.
The Good of the City in the Home Team
Is marriage more like heaven or hell on earth? It probably depends upon who you ask and when you ask them. I will just say marriage is very earthy, very every day. Marriages and families have the potential to go in all sorts of directions. If people are humble, others centered, work at it and trust God together family can be one of the deepest blessings we can experience. If we are selfish, in it just for our personal happiness, to try to create a ME-world that you try force your spouse and kids to conform to…well, it might be a bit of a brutal place.
Marriage as God designed it is good for people (Proverbs 18:22). A loving and supportive family is a true gift of God’s common grace to all people. In fact, the sociological data bears this out. The National Marriage Project at the University of Virginia clearly shows that children incur more physical, sexual and emotional abuse in homes not led by a married couple consisting of both parents. In the abstract reporting on the state of the American family, Wilcox summarizes his report as follows:
In a striking turn of events, the divorce rate for married couples with children has returned almost to the levels we saw before the divorce revolution kicked in during the 1970s. Nevertheless, family instability is on the rise for American children as a whole. This is mainly because more couples are having children in cohabiting unions, which are very unstable. This report also indicates that children in cohabiting households are more likely to suffer from a range of emotional and social problems—drug use, depression, and dropping out of high school—compared to children in intact, married families.
Please remember the above disclaimers I shared as we begin. God is able to redeem and shed light into any and all circumstances; his grace is sufficient for us all. However if you are setting out on the journey of forming a new home team we must not ignore the good that a family can bring to the next generation. We should root for and fight for the family. Just last week I read an article in USA Today stating how simply having dinner together as a family adds to the emotional well-being of adolescents across the board.
Speaking of the family unit, GK Chesterton poignantly stated the following: This triangle of truisms, of father, mother and child, cannot be destroyed; it can only destroy those civilisations which disregard it. The Home Team is for the good of the city and society rises and falls upon its flourishing. God’s grace and goodness flows to us through our families when we realize that its purpose is NOT ABOUT ME, my happiness, my fulfillment, or my kingdom come, my will be done! We are blessed when we all realize that the Home Team is about us, them and God himself. When Jesus taught us about what it meant to follow him, he described it as a losing our lives to find it for his sake (Matthew 16:24-26). The secret to home life is no different; it flows from self-sacrificial, self-denying love. It is in such self-giving that you find the most joy in the family. Choose to serve and ask God to see your “self” crucified with Christ. Then love your family; it will change things for everyone involved. There is a blessing to be had here for the good of all.
Hope through the Gospel together
The final reason we root for the Home Team is that “family” is actually a metaphor for God’s work in the gospel itself. Think for a moment about how the Scriptures talk about our relationship to our creator. Jesus taught us that God is our “Father in Heaven” and that men and women in the church are brothers and sisters. When the Bible describes how Jesus saves sinners it takes up the language of “adoption” whereby a gracious God intends to save his kids and bring them into his family (Ephesians 1). As stated earlier Jesus’ relationship to us is seen in the mystery of marriage (Ephesians 5) where Jesus is the bridegroom and the church is his adorned bride. The very commencement of the Kingdom of Heaven will be marked by a wedding feast where we celebrate the work of Jesus and his bringing us through together as his church (Revelation 19:1-10). Even the work of making disciples in the church is described as a family affair. Listen to the following words from Paul the apostle to the young church in Thessalonica:
7 But we were gentle among you, like a nursing mother taking care of her own children. 8 So, being affectionately desirous of you, we were ready to share with you not only the gospel of God but also our own selves, because you had become very dear to us. 9 For you remember, brothers, our labor and toil: we worked night and day, that we might not be a burden to any of you, while we proclaimed to you the gospel of God. 10 You are witnesses, and God also, how holy and righteous and blameless was our conduct toward you believers. 11 For you know how, like a father with his children, 12 we exhorted each one of you and encouraged you and charged you to walk in a manner worthy of God, who calls you into his own kingdom and glory.
1 Thessalonians 2:7-12
The family is a conduit for gospel-hope my friends. It flows first to our own children as we teach them the faith and bring them up in the discipline and instruction of God (Deuteronomy 6, Ephesians 6). The primary way in which God saves people and adds them to the kingdom is through our families. It is also the primary place of social development, physical growth, spiritual formation and discovering our callings. This is no accident. Secondarily, our marriages and families take their place in the cosmic mission of God as we display and proclaim the saving work of Jesus to the world…together.
The home team is a family unit, beginning with marriage between a man and
a woman. God then designs this unit to be the context in which children are
born, cherished as gifts and brought up in the community. God has made us to be
in families, to come up in families and to go to therapy because of our
families. Just kidding about the last part, but talking to someone does sometimes
help to work through how our families have formed us. :-)
God designed the family to speak to us, show us who He is and what it means to forgive, love, hurt, hope, get saved and be blessed together. At Jacob’s Well it is not simply our intention to defend “tradition.” Our lives and our teaching about the Home team are so that we might live for Jesus Christ and his purposes together. The Home Team teaches us to put our hope in God not in the selfish pathway of the ME-world that is pimped to us every day. It is the lifelong pursuit of God that helps us to trust and follow his design for life. It is not dead tradition but a dynamic ride of relationships where the truth sets us free.
Will you root, root, root for our Home Teams with me?
© 2013 Reid S. Monaghan, Jacob’s Well, www.JacobsWellNJ.org
 "Although marriage rates have dropped among young adults, it is important to note that most young adults will go on to marry later in life. The probability of an adult getting married at some point during their lifetime is still nearly 90 percent." Diana Lavery Mark Mather, "In U.S., Proportion Married at Lowest Recorded Levels," (2010). http://www.prb.org/Articles/2010/usmarriagedecline.aspx (accessed April 12, 2013).
 GK Chesterton, Orthodoxy (New York: NY: Image books, 1959), 71.
 W. A. Grudem, Systematic Theology: An Introduction to Biblical Doctrine (Grand Rapids, MI: Inter-Varsity Press; Zondervan Pub. House., 2004), 442.
 Millard J. Erickson, Christian Theology, 2nd ed ed. (Grand Rapids, MI: Baker Book House, 1998), 520.
 Anthony A. Hoekema, Created in God's Image (Grand Rapids, MI, Exeter, UK: Eerdmans; Paternoster Press, 1986), 14.
 Karl Barth, Church Dogmatics, trans., O. Bussey J.W. Edwards, Harold Knight, vol. Vol. 3: 1 (Edinburgh: T&TClark, 1958), 184.
 G. K. Chesterton and Alvaro De Silva, Brave New Family : G.K. Chesterton on Men and Women, Children, Sex, Divorce, Marriage & the Family (San Francisco: Ignatius Press, 1990), 93.
 Kostenberger summarizes this as teh woman being his partner in ruling the earth for God.Andreas J. Köstenberger and David W. Jones, God, Marriage & Family : Rebuilding the Biblical Foundation (Wheaton, Ill.: Crossway Books, 2004), 36.
 Reid S. Monaghan, "Dream and New Dream About Sex - Sexuality and the Glory of God," (North Brunswick: NJ: Jacob's Well, 2008). http://www.jacobswellnj.org/theology-booklets.
 Timothy and Kathy Keller make note of the work of pulitzer prize winning author Ernest Becker. Keller highlights Becker says that “we look to sex and romance to get what we used to get from faith in God.” Discussed in Timothy J. Keller and Kathy Keller, The Meaning of Marriage : Facing the Complexities of Commitment with the Wisdom of God (New York: Dutton, 2011), 41.
 Ibid., 40.
 Chesterton and De Silva, Brave New Family : G.K. Chesterton on Men and Women, Children, Sex, Divorce, Marriage & the Family, 63.
 Bradley Wilcox, "Why Marriage Matters: Thirty Conclusions from the Social Sciences," (2011).
 Sharon Jayson, "Each Family Dinner Adds up to Benefits for Adolescents," USA Today (2013). http://www.usatoday.com/story/news/nation/2013/03/24/family-dinner-adolescent-benefits/2010731/ (accessed April 12, 2013).
 From "The Superstition of Divorce" in Chesterton and De Silva, Brave New Family : G.K. Chesterton on Men and Women, Children, Sex, Divorce, Marriage & the Family, 223.The spelling of "civilisations" is in the original and reflects common spelling in the UK
 Jesus also used a parable of a wedding feast to describe his coming and the work of God through Messiah. Matthew 22:1-14,
 See "Marriage and Family in Puritan Thought" for an excellent treatment on the family's role in forming us. The particular emphasis on balancing public and domestic callings is excellent J. I. Packer, A Quest for Godliness : The Puritan Vision of the Christian Life, 1st U.S. ed. (Wheaton, Ill.: Crossway Books, 1990), 259-273.
Jayson, Sharon. "Each Family Dinner Adds up to Benefits for Adolescents." USA Today (2013). http://www.usatoday.com/story/news/nation/2013/03/24/family-dinner-adolescent-benefits/2010731/ [accessed April 12, 2013].