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Resolution On Strengthening The Marriage Covenant

WHEREAS, Marriage is the uniting of one man and one woman in covenant commitment for a lifetime; and

WHEREAS, The husband and wife forming a two-parent family is God’s ideal, ordained by God to perform a unique role in the birth, loving discipline, and nurture of children; and

WHEREAS, American culture and public policy have failed to prevent a dramatic decline in the number of traditional two-parent families; and

WHEREAS, The growing social problems of child poverty, child abuse, juvenile delinquency, violent crimes committed by children, sexual promiscuity and teen pregnancy are often related to broken marriages and fractured families; and

WHEREAS, Some states have enacted legislation intended to strengthen the marriage covenant between husband and wife, including a model statute called “Covenant Marriage”; and

WHEREAS, The covenants involved in such model statutes are entirely voluntary, but once entered by a man and woman, either before or after marriage, constitute a legally binding commitment which requires greater care to be married, and greater caution to be divorced than is provided under many “no fault” divorce laws; and

WHEREAS, The new marriage covenant focuses on pre-marital and marital counseling to better equip and prepare couples for marriage; and

WHEREAS, The model programs recognize the limitations of law and public policy to change attitudes, and involves willing churches to participate by providing counseling and training prior to marriage.

Therefore, be it RESOLVED, That the messengers to the Southern Baptist Convention, meeting June 9-11, 1998, in Salt Lake City, Utah, express our enthusiastic support for such public policies and programs which aim to strengthen the marriage commitment and to reverse the trend of the disintegration of the nuclear family; and

Be it further RESOLVED, That we applaud the cooperation between the policy-making bodies, married couples, and participating churches, in those states where such programs have been enacted; and

Be it further RESOLVED, That we encourage other states to examine and adopt public policies such as Covenant Marriage which aim to strengthen marriages and families; and

Be it finally RESOVLED, That we encourage Southern Baptist churches and ministers to make it a priority to provide pre-marital or marital counseling, or to develop effective referral relationships, and we urge the appropriate agencies of the Southern Baptist Convention to provide information and resources for use in strengthening marriages, whether through Covenant Marriage or other programs.