Friday, January 17, 2014

"The Ring Makes All the Difference" by Glenn T. Stanton: A Review

Young couples interested in forming a thriving, healthy, and lifelong marriage - and that includes most of us - should understand that the wisdom of trying something first applies only to products that you buy: computers, cars, and clothing. Thinking it applies to marriage is pure make-believe, like Sasquatch, mermaids, and unicorns. -69


The context of the above quote, taken from Glenn T. Stanton's wonderful and helpful book The Ring Makes All the Difference: The Hidden Consequences of Cohabitation and the Strong Benefits of Marriage (Moody, 2011), regards the common belief that marriage should be "tried out" first by means of cohabitation. But as Stanton makes abundantly clear both scientifically and Scripturally, cohabitation fails to live up to its hype.

Cohabitation has become common place and the statistics presented in this are quit shocking. The upside of that is, however, that sociologists and other observers have ample evidence that prove, without a shadow of a doubt, that cohabitation is disastrous to couples, to marriage, to society, to children, and to women.

I will not rehash all of the statistics and evidence here (you can read the book for that information), but Stanton presents an easy to read book that decimates the often quoted reasons for cohabitation and argues instead, in light of the scientific and Scriptural evidence, of how marriage is better for all.

The chapter that sticks out the most to me regards the chapter on women. In it, the author argues that feminism has had three legacies: abortion, sexual expressiveness, and cohabitation. All three have been disastrous. Regarding abortion, the author writes:
To [the feminist view of abortion], pregnancy - a powerful, profound, and unique feminine quality - was seen not as a virtue but rather as a weakness to overcome: How could women keep up if they were constantly being dragged down by bearing children? These nice folks completely overlooked how a woman's ability to give the world the next generation of humanity might not be a weakness but rather a tremendous power. -108
He then goes on to show that the feminist Utopia here has been proven false and thus the popularity of abortion and the culture of death is falling fast. Regarding sexual expressiveness, Stanton writes:
Sexual expressiveness was the second development blessed by the feminists. Back in the day, we were told it was fine for a man to show up on his wedding night with his virginity long gone. But we had names for gals who could not honestly wear white on their big day. A clear double standard, right?

The feminist solution was not to have men behave more virtuously but to encourage women to act more like men sexually. Women would no longer be sexual victims if they also became sexually aggressive. This was supposed to be empowerment.

But guess what? It ended up hurting women as they played into the male sexual script. -109
Exactly! Feminism has played right into the hands of the depravity and lust of men. Regarding cohabitation, the author writes:
Among the earliest was the feminist thinking that marriage oppressed women because when the matrimony door slammed shut, it trapped millions of women in lifelong relationships of drudgery: cleaning house, cooking meals, washing dishes, chasing after hoards of children, providing sex to their husbands on demand, and saying good-by to nearly all of their important goals and dreams. That was the picture they cast. -110
The author then goes on to say that the liberating promise of cohabitation, like the rest of the residue of feminism, has failed to live up to the hype and in the mean time has destroyed femininity.

This is a great book. It is unfortunate that it has to be written, but I am glad that in light of our current cultural setting it is available. Every pastor needs to be armed with the arguments and data of this book. This is a book that reminds us why marriage still matters and that the Bible gives us a model that is best for all of us.

This book was given to me for free for the purpose of this review.

For more:
Blogizomai - Does the Ring Make All the Difference?: CT Interviews Glenn Stanton
Blogizomai - Tim Keller on Cohabitation and Marriage
Blogizomai - A Must Read:  Colson on the "Cohabitation Revolution"
Blogizomai - "After All, We'll Never Be the Right One Either": Stonestreet on "The Right One" Fairy Tale
Blogizomai - The Gospel & Marriage: Keller on Love, Forgiveness, & the Example of Christ

Blogizomai - "The Meaning of Marriage" by Timothy Keller
Reviews - "Real Marriage" by Mark & Grace Driscoll
Blogizomai - "Father Hunger" by Doug Wilson: A Review  
Blogizomai - "Marriage" by Voddie Bauchman: A Sermon
Blogizomai - Repost | An Important Read: Premarital Sex and the Promises It Fails to Deliver
Blogizomai - Don't Be Naive, They're Having Sex: A Word to Parents, Students, and Pastors
Blogizomai - The Myth of "the One": Why We Should Reconsider the Fairy-Tale View of Love and Marriage
Blogizomai - The Marriage Debate: A Debate About Rights or Definitions?
Blogizomai - Marriage and the Limits of the Law and Courts:  Why Only the Gospel Regenerates & Changes Behavior
Blogizomai - Ravaged Love: Mutually-Agreed Infidelity and the Future of "Marriage"
Blogizomai - Is What is Natural Moral?:  Homosexuality and the Animal Kingdom (Part 1)
Blogizomai - Is What is Natural Moral?  The Great Chasm Between Nature and Morality (Part 2)
Blogizomai - Is What is Natural Moral?:  The Way Forward is Backwards - Cave Men and the Return to Amoral Sexuality (Part 3)
Blogizomai - Is What is Natural Moral?:  Monogamy and What Jealousy Says About Naturalism (Part 4)
Blogizomai - Marriage and the Limits of the Law and Courts:  Why Only the Gospel Regenerates & Changes Behavior
Blogizomai - Pornography for the Mind:  Our Continuing Obsession for What is Not Real  
Blogizomai - Obsess Much?:  Understanding Our Culture's Obsession With Sex 
Blogizomai - The Great Recession or the Recession That Made Us Great?:  Pornography and the Frugality of Lust 
Book Review - "Dirty Little Secret: Uncovering the Truth Behind Porn"
Book Review - "Sex Is Not the Problem (Lust Is): Sexual Purity in a Lust-Saturated World"  
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