Conceiving a child is easy; raising a child is hard work. Over the course of his or her development, a child demands the attentiveness of two caregivers with complementary vision and gifts.
Annette and I are different in the way we view our kids. My view is essentially masculine: I tend toward wanting to release my kids to the adventure of life and to let them face the consequences, good and bad. Annette wants to shelter them from the cold of the negative consequences; her relational strengths here require the complement of my objectivity.
She is the open-ended one with the kids; they like her more, and readily draw from her deep well of wisdom and kindness. I tend to provoke the kids a bit more, to generate movement and bring closure where it is needed. They probably respect me more than they like me.
I don’t know how we could have raised four young adults without the other. Parenting is complicated. Each kid is different: diverse strengths and weaknesses, subject to their own unique temptations. To give a child his/her due requires the whole image—human parent as male and female.
My mother recounted a car wreck my older brother got in, which involved a stubborn old man who refused to settle the damages. My brother’s repeated phone calls were pointless. She marveled at my father who simply got the man’s address, drove to his home, and quietly reasoned with him until they agreed upon a price. She realized then how fortunate she was to partner with this other!
Similarly, I marvel at Annette’s capacity to enter unselfishly into the unique worlds of each of my children. She informs the decisions we make together about them with sensitivity and an awareness that I do not have.
We refine each other as parents; in our differences, we hold each other accountable to the children’s best interests. Annette tends to sensitize me to their needs; I tend to help Annette release the kids to assume necessary responsibility.
David Blankenhorn writes: “Marriage says to a child: The man and woman whose sexual union made you will also be there to love and raise you. Marriage says to society as a whole: For every child born, there is a recognized mother and father, accountable to the child and to each other.”
Honor marriage for the good of all. Vote YES on Proposition 8.
”Father, thank you for the different ways that men and women approach parenting. Thank you that marriage supports and unifies those differences for the good of the child.”
Marriage is about procreation. To be sure, God made male and female for the purpose of the two creating an emotional and spiritual whole; man and woman must ‘meet’ before mating; they are first companions, then lovers. As we have seen, gender complementarity is essential for the two to become one, psychologically-speaking.
But mating remains the main reason behind man for woman and woman for man. The image of God is essentially creative. Procreation is the result of gender complementarity. “The union of opposites is the only possible way procreation is realized.”
Here we discover one of the ways that God’s image in humanity reflects the Creator. Joined as one-flesh, male and female possess that quality of creation—the capacity to engender new life. One of the ways that we actively manifest His image on earth is in ‘co-creating’ new image-bearers!
Only male and female can create new life. Neither two men together, nor two women, can create new life. David Blankenhorn, reflecting on the children of gay parents, writes incisively: “Every child being raised by gay or lesbian couples will be denied his birthright to both parents. Every single one.”
Some gays and lesbians will go to great lengths to awkwardly create families for themselves. American Idol winner Clay Aiken sired a child (in vitro) with his 50-year-old female manager.He declared his homosexuality publicly after the child’s birth—his ‘first act as a father.’ When asked how the child would be raised, he declared: “It’s really going to be a tossed salad of different options.” Tossed salad indeed.
Marriage unites male and female; marriage provides the context for mating. That state-recognized, legal contract needs to be binding precisely because of what is at stake: the well-being of children.
Blankenhorn again writes: “Marriage is a gift that society bestows upon its next generation. Marriage (and only marriage) unites the three core dimensions of parenthood—biological, social, and legal—into one pro-child form: the married couple.”
So marriage has power: it unites male and female psychologically for the sake of procreation. We marry to reproduce. The binding commitment of marriage then provides the ground for the next and far more challenging phase of marriage—the raising of kids.
Honor marriage for the good of all, especially children. Vote YES on Proposition 8.
“God, we honor You for entrusting to men and women the awesome task of representing You in the creation of new life. Let us honor You by honoring the fruit of our one-flesh union. Help us see how we honor little ones when we honor marriage.”