My first surprising discovery was that marriage was considered to be a solemn and necessary duty and commanded of all Christian men and women for, in the words of the 1662 Book of Common Prayer, the 'procreation of children' and as 'a remedy against sin'.
"We may be assured that man and woman should and must come together in order to multiply...For it is not a matter of free choice or decision but a natural and necessary thing, that whatever is a man must have a woman and whatever is a woman must have a man...Whenever men try to resist this, it remains irresistable nonetheless."
Martin Luther in "The Estate of Marriage" (1523)
Q138: What are the duties required in the 7th Commandment?
A138: ...marriage by those who have not the gift of continency...
Q139: What are the sins forbidden in the 7th Commandment?
A139: ...prohibiting of lawful, and dispensing with unlawful marriages...entangling vows of single life, undue delay of marriage...
Individuals, the church and society at large all had this duty to marry and to encourage the institution of marriage. This was shown in the laws and statutes that laid down the proper conditions for marriage and the value and protection that it commanded. Now we have a situation where marriage is being eroded as outdated and unnecessary and, rather than challenge these views, the church is going along with the rest of society.