What Is Marriage?Nov 23, 2011
I recently have become the owner of an iPad and have been enjoying an app called Zyte. Zyte is the Pandora of news – you tell it what interests you and Zyte populates a magazine of articles it thinks you might be interested in. My newest Zyte interest is marriage. I like following this issue – to learn what other states are doing to strengthen marriage, to glean wisdom from couples who have been together 50 or 60 years, and to understand the threats that are facing the institution of marriage today. I flipped to the marriage section of my app today expecting an uplifting read. Perhaps I was too optimistic.
My first article entitled “Pre Matrimonial Screening for Better Future” advised couples considering marriage to hire a private investigator or conduct a “pre matrimonial screening” prior to tying the knot to “determine if the person you are to marry is really worth [it] to marry or is someone who hides a previous marriage of dark history or an unsettled marital obligation which you might just regret in the long run.” The need to conduct this type of pre-marital screening exemplifies the disarray of our unions. There is no trust, but more importantly, there is no honesty. Disappointed, I turned to my second article, hoping to have my optimism restored.
The second article caught my attention not because of the people involved (I could care less about Hollywood drama), but because of their definition of marriage. The article from the Hollywood rag surmised, “Did Lil Wayne and girlfriend Dhea get married recently?” According to the recounted Hollywood gossip, Lil Wayne and Dhea committed to “write the rules of their marriage as they go.” The only similarity of their definition of marriage to mine is that we both wear rings. But what do those rings symbolize if there are no promises, no boundaries, no expectations, no “although our lives are filled with uncertainty, you can be assured that I will be there”? Defined the Lil Wayne way, where is the safety net that marriage was designed to be?
Hoping to finally find an article related to the actual definition of marriage, I began my third article, “Husbands vs. Boyfriends: Yes, There Is Still A Difference.” The title seemed encouraging and the author seemed to agree at least in part with my worldview. But not the women she reported on. One stated in regards to her boyfriend, “I don’t need a ring. He’s more my husband than my boyfriend any day. A ring won’t change that!” Using the definitions of marriage I had just read about in my previous two articles, I could understand where her perception comes from. But marriage is not a ring; it’s a commitment that undergirds fleeting feelings. Where will this woman turn when months or years down the road, her boyfriend decides she’s not the hottest commodity on the market and trades her in for an upgrade? Marriage has become a consumer good. If the customer is not happy or is not fulfilled, the customer returns the product for a better model or requests compensation for the lack of satisfaction. There are reasons we make promises of commitment at the altar.
Saddened, but still not completely disheartened, I turned to my fourth article, “Open Marriage: A Celebrity Solution or a Contradiction in Terms?” The Huffington Post reporter quoted a Hollywood celebrity who commented on marriage, “You’re going to be attracted to people. In our marriage vows, we didn’t say ‘forsaking all others’. The vow we made was that you will never hear that I did something after the fact.” Need I explain my outrage?! What a distortion of God’s perfect design for marriage! Remember Mark 10:9? “What God has joined together, let no man put asunder.” As a nation, we have forsaken the meaning of fidelity.
When I reached my fifth article which reported on the suicide of a groom just hours after his marriage claiming he’d “had enough,” I knew I need read no more. I was disgusted. It’s not Zyte’s fault (it’s still one of my favorite aps), but apparently I need to be more specific in my Zyte interests because “marriage” in today’s society no longer insinuates what I know it to mean. Enemies of deception and self-satisfaction and infidelity are waging war on the God-given institution of marriage. How trampled the covenant of marriage has become! No wonder the divorce rate is skyrocketing. The state of our unions is in serious disarray.