19. Marriage and Home

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  1. Introduction
  2. The Mating Instinct
  3. Early Marriage Mores
  4. Racial Mixtures
  5. Marriage as a Social Institution
  6. Plural Marriages
  7. True Monogamy
  8. Woman’s Early Status
  9. Ideals of Family Life
  10. Dangers of Self-Gratification
  11. Child Culture


1. Proposition. Marriage is the ancestor of civilization’s most sublime and useful institution—the home.

“Material necessity founded marriage, sex hunger embellished it, religion sanctioned and exalted it, the state demanded and regulated it, while in later times evolving love is beginning to justify and glorify marriage as the ancestor and creator of civilization’s most useful and sublime institution, the home. And home building should be the center and essence of all educational effort.” (931.1) 84:0.1

2. Proposition. Among the ancients, the large family was not always due to affection. They desired many children for various reasons.

“The large families among ancient peoples were not necessarily affectional. Many children were desired because:

  1. They were valuable as laborers.
  2. They were old-age insurance.
  3. Daughters were salable.
  4. Family pride required extension of name.
  5. Sons afforded protection and defense.
  6. Ghost fear produced a dread of being alone.
  7. Certain religions required offspring.” (940.7) 84:7.11

3. Proposition. The function of marriage is to insure race survival, not merely the realization of personal happiness.

“The function of marriage in evolution is the insurance of race survival, not merely the realization of personal happiness; selfmaintenance and self-perpetuation are the real objects of the home. Self-gratification is incidental and not essential except as an incentive insuring sex assocation. Nature demands survival, but the arts of civilization continue to increase the pleasures of marriage and the satisfactions of family life.” (765.6) 68:2.9


1. Proposition. Notwithstanding the differences between men and women, the sex urge is sufficient to bring them together for the reproduction of the species.

“Notwithstanding the personality gulf between men and women, the sex urge is sufficient to insure their coming together for the reproduction of the species. This instinct operated effectively long before humans experienced much of what was later called love, devotion, and marital loyalty. Mating is an innate propensity, and marriage is its evolutionary social repercussion.” (913.4) 82:1.1

2. Proposition. The Sangik and other primitive peoples had a mating instinct, but were largely devoid of what is modernly known as “sex appeal.”

“The Sangik races had normal animal passion, but they displayed little imagination or appreciation of the beauty and physical attractiveness of the opposite sex. What is called sex appeal is virtually absent even in present-day primitive races; these unmixed peoples have a definite mating instinct but insufficient sex attraction to create serious problems requiring social control.” 
(914.2) 82:1.6


1. Proposition. The evolution of marriage is the story of sex control through the pressure of social, religious, and civil restrictions.

“The story of the evolution of marriage is simply the history of sex control through the pressure of social, religious, and civil restrictions. Nature hardly recognizes individuals; it takes no cognizance of so-called morals; it is only and exclusively interested in the reproduction of the species.” (914.7) 82:2.1

2. Proposition. Woman’s low status during Old Testament times reflects the mores of the herdsmen.

“The scant courtesy paid womankind during the Old Testament era is a true reflection of the mores of the herdsmen. The Hebrew patriarchs were all herdsmen, as is witnessed by the saying, ‘The Lord is my Shepherd!’” (934.1) 84:3.2

3. Proposition. In primitive times marriage was the price of social standing —a wife was a badge of distinction.

“In primitive times marriage was the price of social standing; the possession of a wife was a badge of distinction. The savage looked upon his wedding day as marking his entrance upon responsibility and manhood. In one age, marriage has been looked upon as a social duty; in another, as a religious obligation; and in still another, as a political requirement to provide citizens for the state.” 
(915.7) 82:3.4

4. Proposition. Child marriages originated in the idea that it was a disgrace —even a sin—not to be married. Unmarried persons could not enter spiritland.

“The fact that ancient peoples regarded it as a disgrace, or even a sin, not to be married, explains the origin of child marriages; since one must be married, the earlier the better. It was also a general belief that unmarried persons could not enter spiritland, and this was a further incentive to child marriages even at birth and sometimes before birth, contingent upon sex.” (916.4) 82:3.8

5. Proposition. Primitive marriages were arranged by parents; later a marriage broker functioned. At first, marriage was a group affair.

“Primitive marriages were always planned by the parents of the boy and girl. The transition stage between this custom and the times of free choosing was occupied by the marriage broker or professional matchmaker. These matchmakers were at first the barbers; later, the priests. Marriage was originally a group affair; then a family matter; only recently has it become an individual adventure.” 
(923.1) 83:2.1

6. Proposition. The ancients mistrusted love and promises. They wanted marriage guaranteed by property. Purchase price of a wife was a forfeit in case of desertion.

“The ancients mistrusted love and promises; they thought that abiding unions must be guaranteed by some tangible security, property. For this reason, the purchase price of a wife was regarded as a forfeit or deposit which the husband was doomed to lose in case of divorce or desertion. Once the purchase price of a bride had been paid, many tribes permitted the husband’s brand to be burned upon her. Africans still buy their wives. A love wife, or a white man’s wife, they compare to a cat because she costs nothing.” 
(923.7) 83:3.1


1. Proposition. The bad results of some inbreeding led to the formulation of taboos against marriage among near relatives.

“While the inbreeding of good stock sometimes resulted in the upbuilding of strong tribes, the spectacular cases of the bad results of the inbreeding of hereditary defectives more forcibly impressed the mind of man, with the result that the advancing mores increasingly formulated taboos against all marriages among near relatives.” (918.2) 82:5.2

2. Proposition. Outmarriage dominated because it favored the man—he got away from in-laws. Familiarity breeds contempt.

“Outmarriage finally dominated because it was favored by the man; to get a wife from the outside insured greater freedom from in-laws. Familiarity breeds contempt; so, as the element of individual choice began to dominate mating, it became the custom to choose partners from outside the tribe.” (919.2) 82:5.6

3. Proposition. The real danger to the human species rests on the unrestrained multiplication of inferior strains rather than in racial interbreeding.

“After all, the real jeopardy of the human species is to be found in the unrestrained multiplication of the inferior and degenerate strains of the various civilized peoples rather than in any supposed danger of their racial interbreeding.” (921.1) 82:6.11

4. Proposition. If present-day races could get rid of their deteriorated specimens, there would be less objection to limited race amalgamation.

“If the present-day races of Urantia could be freed from the curse of their lowest strata of deteriorated, antisocial, feeble-minded, and outcast specimens, there would be little objection to a limited race amalgamation. And if such racial mixtures could take place between the highest types of the several races, still less objection could be offered.” (920.2) 82:6.4

5. Proposition. Aside from inferior strains, most of the prejudice against race mixture rests on social and cultural grounds.

“As long as present-day races are so overloaded with inferior and degenerate strains, race intermingling on a large scale would be most detrimental, but most of the objections to such experiments rest on social and cultural prejudices rather than on biological considerations.”(920.5) 82:6.7


1. Proposition. Turning from hunting to agriculture favored the development of family life, together with domestication of animals and improvement of home arts.

“During this age agriculture makes its appearance. The growth of the family idea is incompatible with the roving and unsettled life of the hunter. Gradually the practices of settled habitations and the cultivation of the soil become established. The domestication of animals and the development of home arts proceed apace. Upon reaching the apex of biologic evolution, a high level of civilization has been attained, but there is little development of a mechanical order; invention is the characteristic of the succeeding age.” 
(592.1) 52:2.8

2. Proposition. The family is the master civilizer—the home is indispensable.

“While religious, social, and educational institutions are all essential to the survival of cultural civilization, the family is the master civilizer. A child learns most of the essentials of life from his family and the neighbors.” (913.2) 82:0.2

3. Proposition. Marriage has always been closely linked to both property and religion.

“Marriage has always been closely linked with both property and religion. Property has been the stabilizer of marriage; religion, the moralizer.” (917.4) 82:4.1

4. Proposition. Marriages are not made in heaven—marriage is a human institution.

“But while marriages may be approved or disapproved on high, they are hardly made in heaven. The human family is a distinctly human institution, an evolutionary development. Marriage is an institution of society, not a department of the church. True, religion should mightily influence it but should not undertake exclusively to control and regulate it.” (922.7) 83:1.4

5. Proposition. Primitive marriage was largely industrial; modern marriage is becoming, multimotivated.

“Primitive marriage was primarily industrial; and even in modern times it is often a social or business affair. Through the influence of the mixture of the Andite stock and as a result of the mores of advancing civilization, marriage is slowly becoming mutual, romantic, parental, poetical, affectionate, ethical, and even idealistic.” (922.8) 83:1.5

6. Proposition. Marriage is man’s most exalted institution, but it should not be called a sacrament.

“Marriage which culminates in the home is indeed man’s most exalted institution, but it is essentially human; it should never have been called a sacrament. The Sethite priests made marriage a religious ritual; but for thousands of years after Eden, mating continued as a purely social and civil institution.” (929.4) 83:8.1

7. Proposition. Marriage is a social institution, growing out of co-operation in self-maintenance and partnership in self-perpetuation.

“The home is basically a sociologic institution. Marriage grew out of co-operation in self-maintenance and partnership in self-perpetuation, the element of self-gratification being largely incidental. Nevertheless, the home does embrace all three of the essential functions of human existence, while life propagation makes it the fundamental human institution, and sex sets it off from all other social activities.” (931.3) 84:0.3

8. Proposition. Woman’s status is a fair criterion of the evolutionary progress of marriage, and marriage registers the advances of civilization.

“Generally speaking, during any age woman’s status is a fair criterion of the evolutionary progress of marriage as a social institution, while the progress of marriage itself is a reasonably accurate gauge registering the advances of human civilization.” (935.1) 84:4.1

9. Proposition. Science, not religion, really emancipated modern woman— it was the factory. Man power is no longer so superior to woman power.

“Science, not religion, really emancipated woman; it was the modern factory which largely set her free from the confines of the home. Man’s physical abilities became no longer a vital essential in the new maintenance mechanism; science so changed the conditions of living that man power was no longer so superior to woman power.” (937.4) 84:5.7

10. Proposition. Marriage embraces antagonisms—it is a program of antagonistic co-operation. Marriage is sociologic—not biologic.

“Every successful human institution embraces antagonisms of personal interest which have been adjusted to practical working harmony, and homemaking is no exception. Marriage, the basis of home building, is the highest manifestation of that antagonistic co-operation which so often characterizes the contacts of nature and society. The conflict is inevitable. Mating is inherent; it is natural. But marriage is not biologic; it is sociologic. Passion insures that man and woman will come together, but the weaker parental instinct and the social mores hold them together.” (938.6) 84:6.2

11. Proposition. Women have more intuition than men, but are somewhat less logical. Woman has always been the moral standard-bearer—the spiritual leader.

“Women seem to have more intuition than men, but they also appear to be somewhat less logical. Woman, however, has always been the moral standard-bearer and the spiritual leader of mankind. The hand that rocks the cradle still fraternizes with destiny.” 
(938.8) 84:6.4

12. Proposition. Family life is becoming more expensive—children are no longer an asset. Shifting responsibility to state or church will prove suicidal.

“In the present industrial and urban era the marriage institution is evolving along new economic lines. Family life has become more and more costly, while children, who used to be an asset have become economic liabilities. But the security of civilization itself still rests on the growing willingness of one generation to invest in the welfare of the next and future generations. And any attempt to shift parental responsibility to state or church will prove suicidal to the welfare and advancement of civilization.” (941.8) 84:7.27

13. Proposition. The wedding ceremony grew out of the fact that marriage was originally a community affair.

“The wedding ceremony grew out of the fact that marriage was originally a community affair, not just the culmination of a decision of two individuals. Mating was a group concern as well as a personal function.” (924.4) 83:4.1

14. Proposition. The change from the mother-family to the father-family was one of the most radical social adjustments ever made by the human race.

“The stupendous change from the mother-family to the father-family is one of the most radical and complete right-about-face adjustments ever executed by the human race. This change led at once to greater social expression and increased family adventure.”(933.5) 84:2.7


1. Proposition. Polygamy recognized four sorts of wives.

“The institution of polygyny recognized, at various times, four sorts of wives:

  1. The ceremonial or legal wires.
  2. Wives of affection and permission.
  3. Concubines, contractual wives.
  4. Slave wives.” (926.3) 83:5.5

2. Proposition. In polygamy the number of wives was limited by the man’s ability to support them. The infant mortality was high.

“The number of wives was only limited by the ability of the man to provide for them. Wealthy and able men wanted large numbers of children, and since the infant mortality was very high, it required an assembly of wives to recruit a large family. Many of these plural wives were mere laborers, slave wives.” (926.12) 83:5.14


1. Proposition. Monogamy has always been the idealistic goal of sex evolution. Ideal marriage entails self-denial and self-control.

“Monogamy always has been, now is, and forever will be the idealistic goal of human sex evolution. This ideal of true pair marriage entails self-denial, and therefore does it so often fail just because one or both of the contracting parties are deficient in that acme of all human virtues, rugged self-control.” (927.7) 83:6.6

2. Proposition. Monogamy is the yardstick measuring the advance of social civilization.

“Monogamy is the yardstick which measures the advance of social civilization as distinguished from purely biologic evolution. Monogamy is not necessarily biologic or natural, but it is indispensable to the immediate maintenance and further development of social civilization. It contributes to a delicacy of sentiment, a refinement of moral character, and a spiritual growth which are utterly impossible in polygamy. A woman never can become an ideal mother when she is all the while compelled to engage in rivalry for her husband’s affections.” (927.8) 83:6.7

3. Proposition. Young people should be prepared for marriage. Youthful idealization should be tempered with some degree of disillusionment.

“But young men and women should be taught something of the realities of marriage before they are plunged into the exacting demands of the interassociations of family life; youthful idealization should be tempered with some degree of premarital disillusionment.” 
(930.2) 83:8.6


1. Proposition. Love of children constrained primitive women to submit to many hardships. Mother love has always been a handicapping emotion.

“The mother and child relation is natural, strong, and instinctive, and one which, therefore, constrained primitive women to submit to many strange conditions and to endure untold hardships. This compelling mother love is the handicapping emotion which has always placed woman at such a tremendous disadvantage in all her struggles with man. Even at that, maternal instinct in the human species is not overpowering; it may be thwarted by ambition, selfishness, and religious conviction.” (932.4) 84:1.7

2. Proposition. Marriage enhanced survival, hence it persisted in spite of its antagonisms.

“Regardless of the antagonisms of these early pairs, notwithstanding the looseness of the association, the chances for survival were greatly improved by these male-female partnerships. A man and a woman, co-operating, even aside from family and offspring, are vastly superior in most ways to either two men or two women. This pairing of the sexes enhanced survival and was the very beginning of human society. The sex division of labor also made for comfort and increased happiness.” (932.6) 84:1.9

3. Proposition. Early woman was not to man a friend and lover, but rather a piece of property—a servant and childbearer.

“Early woman was not to man a friend, sweetheart, lover, and partner but rather a piece of property, a servant or slave and, later on, an economic partner, plaything, and childbearer. Nonetheless, proper and satisfactory sex relations have always involved the element of choice and co-operation by woman, and this has always given intelligent women considerable influence over their immediate and personal standing, regardless of their social position as a sex. But man’s distrust and suspicion were not helped by the fact that women were all along compelled to resort to shrewdness in the effort to alleviate their bondage.” (935.3) 84:4.3

4. Proposition. Man has regarded woman with mistrust and fascination, if not with suspicion and contempt. Women were regarded as bringing evil upon the race.

“The sexes have had great difficulty in understanding each other. Man found it hard to understand woman, regarding her with a strange mixture of ignorant mistrust and fearful fascina-tion, if not with suspicion and contempt. Many tribal and racial traditions relegate trouble to Eve, Pandora, or some other representative of womankind. These narratives were always distorted so as to make it appear that the woman brought evil upon man; and all this indicates the onetime universal distrust of woman. Among the reasons cited in support of a celibate priesthood, the chief was the baseness of woman. The fact that most supposed witches were women did not improve the olden reputation of the sex.” (935.4) 84:4.4

5. Proposition. It was a great advance when man was denied the right to kill his wife and when she could own property.

“A great advance was made when a man was denied the right to kill his wife at will. Likewise, it was a forward step when a woman could own the wedding gifts. Later, she gained the legal right to own, control, and even dispose of property, but she was long deprived of the right to hold office in either church or state. Woman has always been treated more or less as property, right up to and in the twentieth century after Christ. She has not yet gained world-wide freedom from seclusion under man’s control. Even among advanced peoples, man’s attempt to protect woman has always been a tacit assertion of superiority.” (936.3) 84:4.10

6. Proposition. Primitive women did not pity themselves.

“But primitive women did not pity themselves as their more recently liberated sisters are wont to do. They were, after all, fairly happy and contented; they did not dare to envision a better or different mode of existence.” (936.4) 84:4.11


1. Proposition. Ideal marriage is found on the system capitals among the Material Sons and Daughters.

“Nevertheless, there is an ideal of marriage on the spheres on high. On the capital of each local system the Material Sons and Daughters of God do portray the height of the ideals of the union of man and woman in the bonds of marriage and for the purpose of procreating and rearing offspring. After all, the ideal mortal marriage is humanly sacred.” (930.1) 83:8.5

2. Proposition. The ideal of sex equality is not found in nature. When might is right, man lords it over woman. Her social position varies inversely with militarism.

“The modern idea of sex equality is beautiful and worthy of an expanding civilization, but it is not found in nature. When might is right, man lords it over woman; when more justice, peace, and fairness prevail, she gradually emerges from slavery and obscurity. Woman’s social position has generally varied inversely with the degree of militarism in any nation or age.” (936.7) 84:5.3

3. Proposition. Man did not intentionally seize woman’s rights and grudgingly restore them—it was all an unconscious process.

“But man did not consciously nor intentionally seize woman’s rights and then gradually and grudgingly give them back to her; all this was an unconscious and unplanned episode of social evolution. When the time really came for woman to enjoy added rights, she got them, and all quite regardless of man’s conscious attitude. Slowly but surely the mores change so as to provide for those social adjustments which are a part of the persistent evolution of civilization. The advancing mores slowly provided increasingly better treatment for females; those tribes which persisted in cruelty to them did not survive.” (937.1) 84:5.4

4. Proposition. In modern times woman has won dignity, equality, and education—will she be worthy of her social liberation?

“In the ideals of pair marriage, woman has finally won recognition, dignity, independence, equality, and education; but will she prove worthy of all this new and unprecedented accomplishment? Will modern woman respond to this great achievement of social liberation with idleness, indifference, barrenness, and infidelity? Today, in the twentieth century, woman is undergoing the crucial test of her long world existence!” (937.7) 84:5.10

5. Proposition. Men and women eternally need each other. Their differences in viewpoint persist throughout the ascendant career—even in the Corps of the Finality.

“Men and women need each other in their morontial and spiritual as well as in their mortal careers. The differences in viewpoint between male and female persist even beyond the first life and throughout the local and superuniverse ascensions. And even in Havona, the pilgrims who were once men and women will still be aiding each other in the Paradise ascent. Never, even in the Corps of the Finality, will the creature metamorphose so far as to obliterate the personality trends that humans call male and female; always will these two basic variations of humankind continue to intrigue, stimulate, encourage, and assist each other; always will they be mutually dependent on co-operation in the solution of perplexing universe problems and in the overcoming of manifold cosmic difficulties.” (939.1) 84:6.6

6. Proposition. The new mores of marriage will more fully stabilize the home.

“1. The new role of religion—the teaching that parental experience is essential, the idea of procreating cosmic citizens, the enlarged understanding of the privilege of procreation—giving sons to the Father.

“2. The new role of science—procreation is becoming more and more voluntary, subject to man’s control. In ancient times lack of understanding insured the appearance of children in the absence of all desire therefor.

“3. The new function of pleasure lures—this introduces a new factor into racial survival; ancient man exposed undesired children to die; moderns refuse to bear them.

“4. The enhancement of parental instinct. Each generation now tends to eliminate from the reproductive stream of the race those individuals in whom parental instinct is insufficiently strong to insure the procreation of children, the prospective parents of the next generation.”(939.7) 84:7.4


1. Proposition. Man has well earned some of his joys and pleasures, but pleasure is suicidal if it brings about decadence of the home—man’s supreme evolutional achievement and civilization’s hope of survival.

“Let man enjoy himself; let the human race find pleasure in a thousand and one ways; let evolutionary mankind explore all forms of legitimate self-gratification, the fruits of the long upward biologic struggle. Man has well earned some of his present-day joys and pleasures. But look you well to the goal of destiny! Pleasures are indeed suicidal if they succeed in destroying property, which has become the institution of self-maintenance; and self-gratifications have indeed cost a fatal price if they bring about the collapse of marriage, the decadence of family life, and the destruction of the home—man’s supreme evolutional acquirement and civilization’s only hope of survival.”(943.1) 84:8.6

2. Proposition. Marriage was founded on self-maintenance, led to selfperpetuation, and concomitantly provided a form of self-gratification.

“The great threat against family life is the menacing rising tide of self-gratification, the modern pleasure mania. The prime incentive to marriage used to be economic; sex attraction was secondary. Marriage, founded on self-maintenance, led to self-perpetuation and concomitantly provided one of the most desirable forms of self-gratification. It is the only institution of human society which embraces all three of the great incentives for living.” (942.2) 84:8.1


1. Proposition. Divorce will remain prevalent as long as youths are not properly educated for marriage—just as long as youthful idealism is the determiner of fitness for marriage.

“But just so long as society fails to properly educate children and youths, so long as the social order fails to provide adequate premarital training, and so long as unwise and immature youthful idealism is to be the arbiter of the entrance upon marriage, just so long will divorce remain prevalent. And in so far as the social group falls short of providing marriage preparation for youths, to that extent must divorce function as the social safety valve which prevents still worse situations during the ages of the rapid growth of the evolving mores.” (929.2) 83:7.8

2. Proposition. Child culture has been rendered more difficult by a number of factors.

“Modern problems of child culture are rendered increasingly difficult by:

  1. The large degree of race mixture.
  2. Artificial and superficial education.
  3. Inability of the child to gain culture by imitating parents —the parents are absent from the family picture so much of the time.”(941.2) 84:7.21

3. Proposition. The family-council practice of the Andites would be helpful to modern society.

“Human society would be greatly improved if the civilized races would more generally return to the family-council practices of the Andites. They did not maintain the patriarchal or autocratic form of family government. They were very brotherly and associative, freely and frankly discussing every proposal and regulation of a family nature. They were ideally fraternal in all their family government. In an ideal family filial and parental affection are both augmented by fraternal devotion.” (941.10) 84:7.29

4. Proposition. Jesus discusses right and wrong methods of child culture with John Mark. See: (1921.5) 177:2.1

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