Dr. Brent Barlow, a BYU professor of marriage, family, and human development said the following:
I have always believed that marriage is very important in life for several reasons. But exactly how important it is I did not realize until the past few years. In the fall of 1996 I read a quote by Roman statesman and orator Marcus Tullius Cicero (106–43 b.c.). It is now hanging on my wall in my office at BYU. He said, “The first bond of society is marriage” (De Officiis, I, 78 b.c.). Notice that he did not say that marriage is just one bond, or another bond among several others. Cicero said that marriage is the first bond, and therefore the most important bond on which societies are built! During the priesthood session of our recent general conference, President Hinckley noted the same thing. He said, “God-sanctioned marriage between a man and a woman has been the basis of civilization for thousands of years” (“Why We Do Some of the Things We Do,” Ensign, November 1999, 54).
For nearly 30 years I have taught on four major college campuses that marriage is important for a variety of reasons. But I didn’t fully realize its significance until reading and pondering the Cicero quote in light of what has recently been happening to marriage in this country and abroad. I began to read and study more intently what others have said in the past and are now stating about the importance of marriage. I can now say, without hesitation, I believe Cicero was correct: Marriage is the first bond of society. (“Marriage Is Ordained of God” (D&C 49:15) Brent A. Barlow Devotional address, 12 October 1999. © Brigham Young University. All rights reserved. http://speeches.byu.edu/reader/reader.php?id=1671&x=64&y=7)
Marriage is the first bond of society. It is the basis from which all other bonds are created. It is the bond created by choosing to associate.