The Vital Importance of Understanding the Purpose of Marriage
I’ll say off the bat that I am not going to get into a philosophical or dogmatic discussion about where a person’s specific religious faith factors into their beliefs about marriage, but I will say that regardless of what your belief system is, if marriage is at all sacred, you MUST understand that before going in, or else you are doom.
SADLY, MANY ARE.
You ask 100 people what they believe marriage to stand for and you’ll likely get 95 different answers. People love to cite how the numbers of divorces are flat across the board amongst Christians (all “denominations” included) as they are amongst non-Christians, as well as the numbers for heterosexuals and homosexuals. Again, I couldn’t care less where someone’s faith system lies, because there are plenty of faiths that sternly forbid divorce, and some of the same ones do not allow gay marriage. Regardless, there has to be some sort of accountability by the two parties coming together to become one in record numbers these days.
Despite all the scare tactics and statistics that are thrown out regularly, the fact remains that people are getting married now more frequently (whether they are repeat “offenders”, if you will — or not — is irrelevant) in 2011 than they have in a very long time. There was a period of time from 2004 through this year that someone I knew or a friend of a friend literally seemed to be getting married every weekend. And that’s fine. That’sfinethat’sfinethat’sfinethat’sfine. But to marry is one thing, to marry with an understanding is a different story. This is especially true with shotgun/eloping scenarios, which are not intrinsically bad, but require the basic understanding of marriage itself by both parties. Even in situations where two people “courted” for 3-5 years, were engaged for another year and still never learned what marriage is ultimately about — can end up doomed just the same — if not more hurtful because of the time vested.
— is NOT about YOU and your selfish needs.
— IS about two becoming one, and in becoming one, the two seek to fulfill the needs, desires, areas of lack (as humanly possible) for the other, and not seek his/her own; for if the two become one and are of this same mind, both, or the ONE — win.
— is NOT a business contract.
— IS a beautiful thing.
— is NOT inherently boring; yet is viewed as such by people who enter into it as some pre-funeral last resort where the fun is sucked out of life, or they are tired of “having fun” and believe that marriage is nothing more than a lifetime of chores and skullduggery.
— is NOT for the faint of heart.
— IS for the selfless and conscientious.
— is NOT for the selfish, the lust-driven, those seeking to relieve themselves of the guilt of fornication, nor is it a short-term agreement, especially when vows were made to the contrary.
— IS a place of security when both enter into it of this one mind.
— is NOT boring, boring people make marriage boring.
— IS honorable before God.
— is NOT something you cop out of because you “grew apart”.
The last comment is one that many people make upon divorcing; they will cite “irreconcilable differences” or indeed that they “grew apart”. I call hogwash. What happened is that one or both parties ceased working towards making the relationship better (the journey itself, just like single life before marriage — is the fun part). You can find out about a lot of peoples’ motives by what they say if/when they divorce. Yes, there are situations where divorce is acceptable and understandable, so to the devil’s advocates out there who do nothing but nitpick, looking for chinks in the armor of an article, only to declare how “wrong” the author is — save it, please.
As far as copping out goes, I have seen the self same people commit their life’s energy to things that only provide them with personal gratification. Think on this. Whether it be sports, a career, another person (for however brief that inevitably lasts), a hobby that becomes an obsession or whatever the case may be, many people cite their desire to leave a marriage because there is something that fulfillsthem (go back to the first bullet point on the list of things that marriage IS and IS NOT) rather than focusing on the needs, desires and pursuit of ultimate purpose of the person they married. Again, when both people actually seek to fulfill those basic tenets, and excluding extreme situations of abuse and imminent life harm, how is divorce ever really necessary if — IF — both people enter into it with this understanding in mind?
This is to serve as a passing thought, not a classic column entry, but as always, feel free to offer your input, my readers. All is fair (depending on your religious faith, or lack thereof) when you’re single, but marriage is sacred.