My husband and I recently attended a marriage renewal weekend known as “Marriage Encounter” that God used to transform our relationship and family life for the better. The most important gift we received from that experience is hope. Both of us grew up in broken families, so we lack strong marriage role models to give us guidance and encouragement when times get hard. Without that legacy of forever love, it is so easy to feel alone and to just give up during the hard times. Thankfully, we found hope to keep fighting for our marriage through the support and encouragement we received from the other married couples we met during the weekend, and by learning a practical communication tool that has helped us draw closer to each other. We not only walked away from the experience with a renewed commitment to our marriage, but also with the realization that if we want our marriage to succeed, we need the support and wisdom of others to help us along the way.
As we go to press with this magazine, the institution of marriage is facing uncertain and troubling times. Because of this summer’s 5 to 4 U.S. Supreme Court decision that legalized same-sex unions nationwide, many of us in the pro-family movement are feeling a bit discouraged about the future, and even tempted to give up in the midst of an increasingly hostile culture. What we need most is hope, encouragement, and wisdom from others as we consider where to go from here.
Our greatest wish for the fall issue of Family North Carolina is that you, our readers, will find the hope and direction you need to continue fighting for the Truth of marriage. To that end, we have filled the magazine with engaging articles intended to provide both encouragement and practical advice for the way forward.
First up is our must-read feature article written by Erik Stanley of Alliance Defending Freedom, who offers legal tips to help churches, Christians schools, and ministries protect their ability to communicate the Truth about marriage. In a beautifully written piece, Pastor J.D. Greear of The Summit Church provides encouragement and Biblical inspiration for how to respond to the redefinition of marriage in a Christ-like manner. And because engaging the next generation on these issues is so vital, John Stonestreet of The Chuck Colson Center and Eric Smith of Summit Ministries offer their insights into reaching Millennials.
In addition to these in-depth articles, don’t miss Brittany Farrell and NC Family president John Rustin’s review of the long but fruitful 2015 Legislative Session, as well as Rustin’s take on the gruesome practices of Planned Parenthood. Also, be sure to check out the “On the Front Lines” section highlighting some of the recent pro-family battles in our state, and excerpts from our radio interviews with some of today’s leading voices on marriage, religious liberty, and teaching young people to be critical thinkers.
By the time you reach the end of this magazine, we trust that you will feel more supported and encouraged to keep fighting the ‘good fight’ in your communities. Most importantly, we want this issue of Family North Carolina to leave you with renewed hope that together we can continue to engage and transform our culture with the Truth about marriage, the sanctity of human life, and the importance of family—no matter what may come our way.
Alysse ElHage is associate director of research for the North Carolina Family Policy Council and is interim editor of Family North Carolina.