Is marriage a perfunctory trend, like all trends, has become old and worn? What do we owe a life of unabated selflessness? Isn’t the need for a husband, wife, or two parents obsolete according to what we see and hear daily? What’s the difference between having parents of both sexes as opposed to parents of the same sex? I’m sure I could go on all day with questions we all ask ourselves at one point or another, some of us may have even acted upon these questions. The one truth is, this is a truth, a truth we can rely upon and even hope in, but not a truth where the reality is bendable to subjective relativism. There isn’t a truth which relies on the emotive explanation of a pop cultural aberration of love. Love which is as disposable as any material item we can own, and which we dispose of so we can make room for more material items. This most certainly isn’t love! I have spent many years searching for what love actually is to each and every one of us, and although, I don’t have the best explanation, I do have an unwavering understanding. Love and by extension marriage is an all or none prospect, not something we give a half-hearted percentage to, but something we give our very being to. Marriage is the most outwardly courageous expression of our love, because we stand before the Triune God, and all of the world to express our desire for a covenant which binds us to our spouse and with time the creation of God’s gift, the family. The family is never a throw-away, and the family is never something which should be moved aside to make room for more “things” in life, and above all else, the family is something sacred and should be treated as such.
Today, we are constantly bombarded with a media’s interpretation of what subjective morals and subjective beliefs we should adopt, in order to be “happy”. However, there isn’t anything about the desire for continuous joy, nothing about the need for a construct of continuation in life past our perception of current existence. We’ve come to the realization, as a culture, if we can’t explain it, then it is a figment of imagination. At least, this is what the broader scope of the forced interpretation we are fed daily by those with the most obvious platforms for influence. Though, if we step back we find, this isn’t at all true, very little of what we hear in the “news” or in the general social media is in fact true. Of course there are punctuations of truth here and there, otherwise we would never believe anything (e.g. CNN). The truth is, in every word which is spoken to us there is a subjective lean, something which creates a masterful manipulation focused on our seemingly independent choice to agree. A manipulative argument designed with subjectivity, emotion, and in some cases outright lies to sway us in our decision making processes. This is never more prevalent than in the consumer market, a place where “dreams come true” and we are separated from those who can’t possibly have what we have. Maybe it’s not a cognizant effort to distance ourselves from those who can’t afford our lifestyles, but when this chasm is brought to our attention daily on every media device about the inequality of outcomes, a pervasive and convincing cry develops and threatens to erode the foundation of our very culture.
The truth of the matter is, the poor will always exist, and the perception of the rich will be the foundational argument to the poor’s plight (the wealthy are keeping the poor from being not poor, a fallacy of argument to be sure). This inequality of argument will continue with everything which appears incongruent with the narrative being sold to our culture. This narrative of perfect opportunities and perfect outcomes is a lie, the human right to be treated with fairness and equality is a verified objective truth. However, the outcome of this equality is a harsh reality of life. Take for instance, it should be every human’s right to believe in God in which ever manner they have determined to be best, and this translates into a proper equality of opportunity. In some areas of the world, when those who choose the wrong “god” have been located, they are put to death, which is the most powerful example of life’s harshest realities. To say the victims of terrorism deserved better, belies the concept of life. No one person deserves anything over another, based on their intentions or effort, instead, we recognize the “chance” afforded to all of us when pursuing our goals. To be somehow prevented the chance, by reasons of racism, bigotry, or manipulations is a basis of evil. This is where we are now, evil, true evil, has found its way into our society on every level, and instead of a revulsion we, as a culture, are embracing a false narrative of freedom.
Our new found freedoms, allow us to go and do whatever we want as a matter of course in life, and when our goals aren’t realized, we can blame those who are in turn blameless. The story of Joseph (Gen 37) is a prime example of unrequited circumstances working against his perception of life, molding him to become the man he needed to be and to forgive those who sold him into slavery. What he wanted, was no what was best for him, and because he embraced God, he knew what was needed of him.
So, this is my long-winded set up to the questions posed earlier, has marriage become a throw-away effect of long ago beliefs? Do we perform marriage for the benefit of a party, and as a matter of tax and death benefits? In short, yes, this is where our society seems to be leaning. When we look at marriages, we often wonder if they are on their first or second. Of course when we see a young couple, we automatically assume it’s their first marriage, without catching ourselves. Instead of assuming this is their only marriage in life, we number them as a matter of course. We’ve been formed by a society which doesn’t hold marriage to anything more than a living arrangement. With enough money and desire to do so, we can trash a marriage in a matter of months, and even punish the person we no longer like with punitive means such as child-support, alimony, or even psychological efforts focused on the emotional destruction of an individual we once shared our lives with. There’s a problem here folks! How did we get so callous as a people and a culture? Where has our compassion gone?
There is good news. There is hope! It requires work, a life time in fact, and the results may never be realized in your lifetime. Can you handle this? Personally, I love my kids and wife so much, I would be willing to do anything to make a better more joyful world for them, even at the risk of never seeing my work come to fruition. The key to assessing anything and working to make it better is to understand every aspect of the problem, and from this understanding we create an opportunity to fix what is broken. Marriage isn’t something which can be reformed, it is what it was always meant to be, and combining of a man and a woman to create a bond in order to have children and raise these children. This is the most basic explanation of family I can come up with. There is one very important distinction which should be realized when tackling this topic. Marriage, up until recently, has always been a social construct, a contract set in social circles to create families and to perpetuate a “way of life” which coincides with their social existence. For instance, a Christian family will honor a Christian marriage and will desire for the family to raise their children in a Christian tradition creating a lineage of social awareness focused on the propagation of this way of life. In some cultures marriage was utilized as a simple contract to keep peace or to unite like-minded groups, but it was never an agreement in practice to focus on those which could not add longevity to social practices or groups. In effect, marriage was intended to compliment those natural actions which benefited the group. If it was seen as unnatural it was considered as such, and wasn’t a focus by the vast majority of any social group. This was never in true contention, until we decided as a culture, to allow a non-thinking committee of sorts to make our social decisions for us, yes, I’m referring to the government. A body which is focused on the over-arching wants of the people, and if allowed has no more constraint of power than what the vast majority of the people are willing to fight against. Like a behemoth with unrestrained powers, the government is neither graceful, compassionate, just seeking an animal seeking to satisfy its wants. It doesn’t do anything efficiently, and when compared to other better options, its one equalizer is it has your money to do with as it desires, up to and including the destruction of what it deems as unnecessary.
Marriage is a very foundational block, which I don’t need explained to me, nor do I need people who have no concept of my way of life determining the value of my life by decisions. The attempted destruction of marriage is moving with such ferocity as to leave anything which opposes it in a wake of destruction and often times down a path of sinful pursuits. Now, I’m not being puritanical here, but obeying the will of God isn’t something to be flippant with nor is it something to cast aside because we don’t agree. Marriage is a gift of love from God, even though it seems like it’s a punishment at times, but anything worth doing requires efforts which at times seems likes punishment but is really growth. This growth comes from a natural progression of life (i.e. kids and age), without both of these progressions, this is just a relationship, but never a marriage. Although, a government entity can dictate what laws we should live by, they don’t have the ability to legislate morality. As a matter of course anything which denies the sanctity of the institution God created through natural law and life, is an enemy against it, bent on the destruction of God’s Will.
This is either people failing to grasp the gravity with the vows they take, by the introduction of same-sex unions, or the acceptance of society to go and do as we wish as long as the perception of a relative innocuousness is achieved. “I’m ok, you’re ok” attitude isn’t heathy. Why isn’t there a more concerted effort to determine why societies maintained a level of moral discipline and suddenly we’ve decided (in our arrogance or hubris) we don’t need the adherence of these moral disciplines? The answer is the absence of God in our daily lives. Every year, more and more people claim to have no affiliation with Christianity whatsoever, and without a foundational representation by the vast majority of our culture, we find morals lacking and in distinct obscurity, all at the cost of us doing what we want to do.
The truth of the matter is, we are unwilling to sacrifice for what we truly say we believe. This is to say, when it comes down to the crucial decisions, we are more willing to maintain a status quo rather than do without because we like our materiality. If someone required us to live in a monastery or convent for the period of a year, and to live a Spartan lifestyle, most would run away as fast as their feet could carry them. But, why? What is it about living with no material possessions, except what we wear is so terrifying to us? The answer is, we love our stuff, and to be asked to do without it, is something we’re unwilling to do. This is why we won’t go against the grain of society, this is why we are unwilling to become a social outcast because we disagree with the direction our culture is going, and this is why when those hard decisions (e.g. abortion, same-sex marriage) we defer to someone else to make our decisions for us. At least if someone makes our decisions for us, we can complain and defer the blame to someone else. If this isn’t you, I’m sure with little effort you can point to a loved one who does exactly this, and if we can all do this, then there is the answer as to why our society seems to be teetering on the edge of a precipice bent on our doom.
I know this seems like a lot of doom and gloom, but I never present a problem without showing the opportunity to make it better. God is loving and time and again, we push away from God, but when we realize our errors God awaits us with open arms ready to forgive. So the first steps to the pathway of God’s will is recognizing forgiveness awaits us, as we repent our sins. Second, the foundation of our culture resides in the solid foundation of the family, something which isn’t designed or made by a government entity, but something which is consecrated by the very God of the faith we believe, a covenant between you, your spouse, and the Living God. Nothing else should come between this, and a covenant is never disposable, it can be reaffirmed but not thrown away. Sex is meant for the procreative and love affirming of a marriage, it is meant for nothing else, and if both are not ordered in this manner, then the disorder of the relationship is what constitutes the inadequacy on the cultural and social construct of our lives. People who wish to have sex either homosexual or heterosexual without the foundation of a marriage behind them is why we are now consider marriage to be just a fashionable trend which is seemingly not needed anymore. Nothing could be farther from the truth.
We need the foundation of marriage to teach children the balance needed in life through the exercise of our faith. Without both parents committed to one another, and to the children they created by God’s help, we embrace a society focused on sins rather than virtues. We will go from one problem to the next until we are exhausted as a culture, we allow everything and the only thing we won’t permit is anyone or anything (yes, churches) to become counter to this embrace of the devil. Make no mistake, we are in battle even now, it doesn’t require we stand up and shoot our way out. No, it requires dedication to God, and to stand up for what is morally right and put down what is morally wrong. Marriage isn’t throw away, and isn’t a fashion statement we can walk away from. Marriage is deliberate, it is wonderful, and it is the hardest thing anyone will ever do, if they care at all. Make good decisions in your marriage, it’s easier to do than you think. Become good teachers with your spouse and teach your children the ways we should live by, based on God’s will for all of us. Defy those who would wish to tear down God’s gift to all of us. Find joy in your marriage, this is something which can’t be taken away, no matter what is going on. Love your spouse and your kids with every ounce of energy you have, and leave nothing back. Because, if you won’t give them everything you have, then what on earth are you holding it back for? Be passionate about your family, second only to God in life, your loving awareness, may be the lesson your great grandchild teaches their grandchildren one day. May God bless you and your family and extended family!!!
God is good, all the time, and all the time, God is good!!!