This book combines Christian theology, Enlightenment liberalism, and modern social science to defend the marital family as an essential institution for adults and children, regardless of sexual orientation. John Witte presents the marital family as an integrated sphere with natural, social, economic, communicative, contractual, and spiritual dimensions. He rejects modern efforts to abolish the legal category of marriage or to reduce it to a transient and malleable sexual contract.

While celebrating the sexual liberty of consensual adults, Witte calls for stable marital families and responsible sex and parentage as the surest and safest path to private flourishing and social stability for all.

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John Witte, Jr., J.D. (Harvard); Dr. Theol. h.c. (Heidelberg), is Woodruff University Professor, McDonald Distinguished Professor, and Faculty Director of the Law and Religion Center at Emory University. A leading scholar of legal history, human rights, family law, and law and religion, he has delivered 350 public lectures worldwide and published 300 articles and 45 books, in 15 languages. Recent monographs include: The Western Case for Monogamy over Polygamy (Cambridge, 2015), Church, State, and Family (Cambridge 2019), The Blessings of Liberty (Cambridge, 2021), Faith, Freedom, and Family (Mohr Siebeck, 2021), and Religion and the American Constitutional Experiment (Oxford, 2022).

Preface and Acknowledgments

 1 The Marital Sphere
 2 The Nature of the Marital Family
 3 It Takes a Society to Raise a Family
 4 The Economics of the Family
 5 The Communicative Dimension of the Family
 6 The Contractual Dimensions of the Marital Family
 7 The Marital Family as a Spiritual Institution
 Concluding Reflections: The Modern Marital Family in Traditional Christian and Modern Liberal Perspectives
College and graduate students in the humanities, divinity, and law; scholars and policy makers of marriage and family; law and religion scholars and students; church groups and civic groups studying marriage and family.
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