The Words of the Walsh Family
I want to give a perspective on why sexual purity and strong marriages are so essential for creating a peaceful world.
Borrowing from a Stephen Covey analogy, does any one know how often a plane goes off course on a typical flight? Ninety-five percent of the time the plane is off course, buffeted by winds and currents. How does it arrive to the right place? The pilot knows the destination, so it constantly gets readjustments while keeping the goal clear.
Where are we headed? What is happening to our youth, marriages, and families today? Divorce is around 48 percent in the US but the break-up rate for cohabitation is 85 percent. Forty percent of the children in US will grow up without their father. Sex is used as a recreational sport, 11-year-olds are giving birth, 90 percent of the most violent criminals in our US prisons never knew their fathers, women choose to have babies by purchasing donor sperm, anonymous sperm donors are greeted by young children at their door calling them "Daddy," judges are giving custody to ex-boyfriends instead of biological mothers who want custody, embryologists are working on creating an embryo with three sources of genes giving the child three biological parents, same gendered partners get pregnant from a friend's sperm and then end up fighting over custody, after same-sex marriage was made legal in Canada a male filed to get a marriage license for his 19 wives, infertility clinics are promoting cloning. And how are our children doing?
So where are we heading? Do we know what course we are on or are we just buffeted by individual desire, personal pleasure, social trends, and Hollywood?
Throughout the world today we find rampant personal redefining of marriage, family, and parenting. Father Moon wants us to ask what is God's purpose and design for sex, marriage, and families. What is God's course and destination?
All world religions point to God's course, and more and more social research is confirming the same. To me, Father Moon is clarifying God's ideal, which is not meant to judge or condemn, since we all fall short in our own families and marriages, but we must make sure we are on the right course to guide us toward the destination we all long and yearn to reach.
Males and females are inherently different, obviously reproductively. The sexual unity leads to new life and the continuation of lineage. Social scientists around the world keep finding that children thrive best in every area of their lives when raised by their married biological parents. Isn't that simply what any child will say they want? One man and one woman dedicated to each other and to their children is God's design Isn't that simply what any child will say they want?
Children raised in a secure family, experiencing unconditional love with clear guidance and limits, learn self-control and self-discipline and have within them the authentic motivation to care for and love others. These individuals are the essential elements of peace-building; individuals who from the depth of their heart cannot tolerate war, poverty, or suffering of any member of their family. It is on this basis that we can create One Family under God.
In order to settle any conflict peacefully -- whether it be between two warring nations, two siblings, or two spouses -- what is essential is the capacity for empathy, to get beyond yourself to understand and feel the other's situation. Learning to value others and feel they are as real and sensitive as you are, is really only learned through experiencing it, and the primary place for learning true empathy is in the relationships in the home.
Why did God create marriage, besides for the procreation and raising of children? The Blessing of marriage is God's greatest gift or opportunity to love and be loved. Father Moon stated that the purpose of our life is to perfect our love. Learning how to love is an ongoing project at the center our life. We know love is not a feeling but rather the conscious actions we take for the sake of the well-being or happiness of another. In the process, such actions often transform even elevate us. Rev. Moon encourages exchange marriages, where marriage merges enemies to transcend historical and ancestral conflict.
Unfortunately, marriage means confinement, cutting off other possibilities out there, as many of our youth protest. Why would God give such limitations, take away our freedom? It is because that very confinement that limits us to only one person creates a haven of emotional safety and depth. In being committed to one person, we are more likely to honestly face our areas of weakness and grow spiritually. It is within the protection of commitment that the fragile elements of love can emerge. Marital commitment is the promise of emotional fidelity and sexual exclusivity, which in reality gives us the freedom to experience deep interpersonal connection.
However, marital commitment is not just to stick together no matter how dreadful (unless, of course, there is abuse). But the commitment also means acceptance of personal responsibility for one's attitude and actions and dedication to the well-being of the relationship itself.
Our highest, most authentic self is experienced in getting out of our own perspective to understand and accept others. God created us as beings that at our core are motivated and fulfilled through love. If we understand God's real purpose in marriage, then we might not fight our disappointments and protest with our selfish tendencies as much, realizing it is God's Blessing on the course of perfecting out love.
Another great challenge within marriage is the differences in gender. Research tells us that happy couples normally have ten irreconcilable differences. Why? We were designed with different powerful hormones influencing our behavior, likes and dislikes. Also our brains are hardwired differently, as can be seen in cat scans of the brain. We have very different ways of viewing the world and relating to people. We sometimes wonder, was this all a big mistake? Kierkegaard said, "It is good that marriage is for eternity, because it will take a man that long to understand a woman."
However, in a marriage of mutual respect, we become open to the other universe represented by our spouse. The husband can understand more about God's feminine qualities, and the wife can understand more about God's masculine qualities. Then as parents, fathers and mothers relate in different ways to their children. Children benefit the most when they receive the different kinds of complementary guidance and love from both the father and mother.
Many youth today say do not even want to be married, although they are looking for enduring love. Many say they want to try out different partners to see who most suits them. Much of this thinking means having sexual relations outside of marriage.
The problem with sexual promiscuity is that it diverges from God's course; it is a misuse of physical love, risking of course AIDS and other sexually-transmitted diseases, leading sometimes to infertility and even death. Premature sexual relations often lead to unwanted pregnancy, immature or ill-prepared parenting and the resulting confusion of unwanted lineage and divided families. Teen suicide and depression are directly related to being emotionally unprepared for sexual relationships
Sexual promiscuity which uses another person for one's self-centered pleasure or as a replacement for love damages one's spiritual sensitivity to others and develops self-centered patterns of infidelity which are often hard to overcome once people get married.
Many young adults today that have been active sexually often are jaded about marriage and have given up on having meaningful or committed relationships; they have worn out the magic spiritual bonding of sex that should take place when they finally find the right person to marry. The glue of sexual energy, which often helps young married couples, has lost its adhesion. This is well founded in social research.
We are doing our young people a huge disservice, damaging their chances of experiencing deep and enduring love within marriage, by letting them go so off course in their pursuit of freedom and love without commitment.
"Safe sex" often does not prevent diseases, AIDS, or pregnancy. In fact, adolescents report birth control failing one third of the time. Even more clear, immature sexual relationships damage the young human heart and become a force preventing the perfection of love. The further our youth go in an opposite direction from God's course the more difficult it is for them to find their way back.
We must take our roles as fathers, mothers, aunts, and uncles in this human family and teach them, listen to them, and understand them. We must teach them principles of marriage education and guide them to have the greatest chance for spiritual growth and fulfillment following God's course of love within their marriage and family.