Being a Responsible Citizen by Strengthening Marriage and Family


Alan J. Hawkins, a professor at Brigham Young University, wrote an article entitled “Responsible Citizenship to Strengthen Marriage and Family” that was originally published in the Marriage and Families journal in 2006. The following is from his article.

“Citizens of democratic governments enjoy great freedoms, but they also carry a burden of responsibility… All citizens should bear the burden of good government… There are many causes related to family life that need our involvement. One of the most crucial, contemporary challenges is the need to strengthen the institution of marriage.

He states that there are many people in the US that still want and believe in traditional marriage and families, but “the divorce and sexual revolutions have diminished the institution of marriage.”

To aid in this effort of strengthening marriage and families, Hawkins lists four ideas that can readily be applied to supporting any good cause. Here is what he says…

  • Be informed. “Our active participation in public life will be more effective when we take the time to study the issues, learn about relevant research, and stay current. Fortunately, this is easier to do than ever before with the widespread availability of the Internet. There are many good websites to visit to gain current information and research about marriage and family issues.”
  • Collaborate with other like-minded individuals and groups. He says that sometimes we may need to start our own initiative when no one else is working in that area, but more often than not, there are established initiatives that would benefit from our added efforts. He cautions that sometimes we have to compromise when joining another group, but we can keep our beliefs by supporting other groups that help promote all the measures we are concerned with.
  • Strive to avoid contention and never promote it. “This can be difficult when we are involved with moral principles to which we bring a lot of passion.” But it is always worth the effort to be peaceful with those that disagree with us.
  • Our desires to help strengthen other marriages and families in our communities should not come at the expense of our own spouses and children. “Zeal has a way sometimes of overtaking our better judgment.”

We need to make sure we are always putting our best efforts to strengthening our own marriages and families before we help others strengthen theirs.

Linda Waite, a professor of sociology at the University of Chicago, also urges people to speak up.

“I think we have to talk about marriage. It’s not the same as any other family arrangement. It doesn’t bring the same benefits. Pretending that it does is not doing anyone a service…We have to talk about it as an important institution, and hope that as a result of that conversation people will become more aware of the benefits of marriage.”

Hawkins concludes, “When our seasons and opportunities come, we have civic… duties to bear the burden of responsible citizenship. Offering our public gifts in the service of the most fundamental units of a healthy society—marriage and family—will help to preserve our freedom.”

Can we count on you to share the message?

For the full article see:


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