Why should we care about marriage?
There is a lot of confusion about the purpose of marriage today—outside the church as well as within it. Written by a distinguished Christian sociologist, Christian Marriage is a theologically rich, biblically robust, and sociologically informed treatise on the nature and value of marriage. Drawing on recent social science research, empirical data, and social history, David J. Ayers paints a picture of marriage as an institution meant for human flourishing.
Along the way, Ayers addresses such topics as
Though the book is academically and theologically informed, it is written with a pastoral heart. It seeks to provide a rich resource for pastors and counselors on a topic of supreme importance to a vibrant church and society.
“David Ayers does a masterful job of weaving together biblical texts, classical Christian wisdom, his experience, and the social science. From Rieff to Bellah, it’s all there. I especially appreciate his rejection of the therapeutic character of many contemporary relationships, Ayers’ ability to discuss marriage’s connection to health, his use of the General Social Survey and National Survey of Family Growth, his appreciation of the power of generosity, and the challenging discussion of divorce.”
—W. Bradford Wilcox, professor of sociology, University of Virginia; director, National Marriage Project; senior fellow, Institute for Family Studies; visiting scholar, American Enterprise Institute
“David Ayers has done the church a favor by writing this book. Hundreds of footnotes quoting and using various confessional documents, modern research, scholars in social psychology and family practice, and recognized theologians from church history are very impressive. He delves into issues the church needs to be discussing, and you will find his insights helpful and challenging. It is a fascinating book, and I highly recommend it.”
—Jerry O’Neill, president and professor of pastoral theology, Reformed Presbyterian Theological Seminary (Pittsburgh, PA)
“If you are interested in—or interested in living out—the evangelical Christian view of marriage, buy this book. It is a remarkable exploration of the meaning of marriage that will warm your heart, sharpen your intellect, and spark your imagination.”
—Maggie Gallagher, coauthor of The Case for Marriage; former president of the National Organization for Marriage and of the Institute for Marriage and Family Policy; nationally syndicated columnist
“In the Old Testament, the records of failure seem to outnumber those of marital loyalty and love.” (Page 3)
“Fourth, all these character traits will not be present in equal amounts in anyone” (Page 121)
“marriages are to help us, ultimately, to glorify and enjoy God, and to serve him” (Page 347)
“So first, we must know how God has defined marriage” (Page 4)
“Third, acceptable prospective mates will have a good work ethic—they will be diligent” (Page 124)
David J. Ayers is professor of sociology in the Alva J. Calderwood School of Arts and Letters at Grove City College, Pennsylvania. Until recently he also served as dean, and is currently interim provost and vice president for academic affairs. He holds his PhD in Sociology from New York University and has written two books, Experiencing Social Research (2001) and Investigating Social Problems (2004), as well as numerous articles and book chapters. He has taught courses on marriage and family for about thirty years.