Recently Time Magazine ran an article with a provocative headline: “Is Marriage Obsolete?” Many writers and bloggers have since weighed in with their own opinions, and here's my two cents.
What I'm about to say on this subject is not to play devil’s advocate, but to point out some very important differences between secular and religious perspectives. Most people are largely secular in view or religious in view.
First of all, marriage (as it is defined in LDS doctrine) is not a secular institution. It never was.
In a secular/agnostic/atheist/religion-less belief system, marriage is absolutely becoming obsolete. In the worldview, except for political or economic advantage, marriage just doesn't make sense and it has no purpose. If it did, it would be taught in our schools, promoted in our media, and by everyone we encounter. There would be more legislation promoting and protecting marriage, and less resistance to programs that protect and promote the family.
Marriage is a religious institution. It was started by God and is a place where all the principles of religion come into play. (Genesis 2:22-25; 1 Corinthians 7:2)
Godless belief systems and Social Darwinism teach selfishness, survival of the fittest, sex with multiple partners is natural and not improper. Do what feels good now. Life has no purpose, and death leads to nothing…so why waste your life on being married to one person?
If a marriage is going to work, it requires the principles of religion to survive. Principles such as love, selflessness, forgiveness, self-sacrifice, patience, honesty, respect, monogamy or at least fidelity in marriage, charity, moral integrity, temperance, kindness and many others are required here. I believe these are also the principles required to have a healthy society.
So, in the secular world, YES…the more religion is abandoned, and the principles of secularism embraced, then the more that marriage will fall out of fashion in society.
Marriage is a religious institution and always will be a religious institution.
"Marriage is not without trials of many kinds. These tests forge virtue and strength. The tempering that comes in marriage and family life produces men and women who will someday be exalted.
God has ordained that life should have its beginning within the protecting shelter of marriage, conceived in a consummate expression of love and nurtured and fostered with that deeper love which is accompanied always by sacrifice.
UAdd a Note
Marriage offers fulfillment all the way through life—in youth and young love, the wedding and on the honeymoon, with the coming of little children and the nurturing of them. Then come the golden years when young ones leave the nest to build one of their own. The cycle then repeats itself, as God has decreed it should"– Boyd K. Packer, “Marriage”, April 1981, http://lds.org/general-conference/1981/04/marriage?lang=eng