Skip to comments.Marriage for Sale: It's time the church remembered the purpose of marriage.
Posted on 11/28/2012 4:08:03 AM PST by rhema
Kim Kardashian's 72-day marriage to Kris Humphries put marriage on garish display as a kind of sideshow dramaa public relations exercise more carefully designed to capture headlines than to secure the hearts of the couple at the center of the spotlight into an eternal covenant. The frivolity of their divorce was made all the more damaging to the institution of marriage itself as Kardashian's publicist openly admitted that the entire saga was part of a plot to make money the old fashioned wayby extortion.
When Louisiana native Jason Alexander recently reflected on the 55-hour "marriage" he shared with Britney Spears eight years ago, he confessed that he and his childhood friend were intoxicated and under the influence of drugs when they decided to tie the knot in a small wedding chapel in Las Vegas. What followed made a mockery of marriage, proving, in many ways, that love really had nothing to do with it. For them marriage was some sort of impulsive, sophomoric experiment that was quickly annulledsupposedly leaving neither bride nor groom affected by the event. Yet, after almost a decade, Alexander states he was left "hurt." He had involved his "feelings in the matter," he said, only to find himself rejected before the ink had dried on their wedding certificate.
Apparently the free love of the 1960s has given way to the free market of love in the 21st century, where marriage is a formal ceremony with little or no enduring significance, purchased and discarded on a whim. Sex, not the covenantal commitment of marriage, has become the source of self-fulfillment and the key to everlasting bliss. Such a social calculus will soon wreak havoc on a society emboldened in a race to the bottom of morality's barrel.
With the public support of the President of the United States for homosexual marriage, an epistemological crisis now looms ever larger as the very definition of marriage is under assault. The issue seems destined for the Supreme Court, as it is now no longer merely a legislative matter. Rumblings emerge from across the states as cases are being formulated that will openly challenge definitions of marriage codified by state ballot initiatives. Under the judicial rubric of civil rights with protection by the 14th Amendment to the US Constitution, cases are certain to make their way (quite quickly if all legal processes work according to plan) to the nation's highest court with the goal of a reversal of the Defense of Marriage Act.
The Church, told repeatedly that it cannot advance arguments in the public square that are based simply on a biblical ethic, has unwisely accepted the terms that it must make its argument on exclusively empirical grounds. Marriage is, therefore, described as a concrete good for society; the building block of a nation without which children cannot be properly raised and nurtured; a social utility laden with great good for all people. This has been done in hopes that even the non-religious will be persuaded that a traditional definition of marriage can be sustained in the court of public opinion. This approach has failed as a majority of Americans now support homosexual marriage.
Arthur Schopenhauer was right when he said, "To preach morality is easy, to give it a foundation is hard." British pastor and theologian Christopher Ash in his book, "Marriage: Sex in the Service of God," agrees that the gap between morality and its foundation must be closed. "The perceived distinction between 'marriage' and 'Christian marriage,'" Ash writes, "touches on a deep ethical question which affects the apologetics and evangelism of any marginalized church: is Christian ethics for the church alone, or does it have a moral call upon the world?"
And with this, the war begins. To admit that there is a unifying definition of marriage which is binding for both the church and the world is to reconcile what the Enlightenment sought to separate: that every object and action has a purpose for being within the whole of the created order. In other words, nothing and no one is absolutely autonomous. Being and doing are critically linked, and attempts to separate them fortify the facade that each individual possesses both the right and the ability to create acceptable ethics apart from revealed truth.
Seeking to shore up support for the one-man-one-woman-for-life doctrine has come on hard times. How this could be in an age when evangelical ministries abound with marriage conferences and targeted communication techniques designed to make every marriage happy is no longer a mystery. For few churches teach why marriage fits into the overall purposes of God, how it squares with the whole of biblical theology, and what purpose it serves as an aid toward greater and more meaningful service in the Kingdom of God.
The church, like the world, seems to have bought into the philosophy that marriage has no deeper theological purpose than making the couple happy and fulfilled. To think beyond that pointtheologically or otherwiserenders many modern evangelicals mute on marriage other than, of course, an adherence to "secular" reasoning. The result of such teaching is that many church members behave in like manner as Spears/Alexander and Kardashian/Humphries. In this light, exactly what difference does marriage make? Why bother?
A defense of marriage on its demonstrable value to civilization might be a viable strategy for public engagement, but ultimately it stands on weak and arbitrary foundations if not grounded on ideas above sociological and psychological constructs. Marriage, naturalistically defined, is a merely human invention. As Ash rightly points out, the search for an ethical foundation for marriage is doomed for all who would seek to locate the creation and purpose of marriage "only in human beings."
It was none other than Michel Foucoult who, in his famous three-volume work The History of Sexuality, insisted that sexual identity is a work in progressalways changing and never given to one dominant view. Philosopher W.A. Meeks states in his defining work, The Origins of Christian Morality, that "the process of inventing Christian and human morality will continue."
To the contrary, marriage is created by God for a certain end. For Christian and non-Christian alike, marriage, rightly understood as a creation ordinance, is to be enjoyed and used as an aid toward true love, loyalty, stability and intentional selfless service to one another. Christians should take heed of Ash's warning: "Marriage lived in the light of the purpose of God will be dynamic and actively teleological; marriage considered only in terms of rules and definitions may be coldly static."
While the all-important work of public policy should continue to fortify the legal definitions and standing of marriage, local congregations should also be working to strengthen their own understanding of biblical marriage. Perhaps then, familial stability and parental duty will be founded on a biblical ethic that will transcend political pressure and outlast ballot initiatives.
Marriage is just another one of those religious doctrines used to keep peace in the society and provide a sound nurturing environment for raising children.
While it’s a really good religious practice, I’ve tried it three times and I am DONE. Finally met the right one!
About fifteen years ago I did an “experiment” with ten married people I know. I asked them why they got married. The answers I got:
Because we wanted to.
We have a kid.
I don’t know.
I love her (only 1 of these)
If you believe the statement you made in the first sentence, you really should not get married. It isn’t for you.
Marriage is the coming together of two people who intensely love each other,It is a promise to be faithful, and to raise children ,if they come along, in a way to make them good people.
As you grow old together you help each other in so many ways and hope for companionship to the end.
Marriage without intent to form a permanent relationship is not marriage.It’s just a quickie for sexual or financial purposes
While I agree with you in principle, in practice it does not work that way. People used to get married at a much younger age. The primary reason was that most women would not have sex before marriage.
Because many couples got married at 18 they could not have a clue what they would like in 5 or 10 years, but divorce was not an option for many so often a woman who was unhappy or even beaten stayed out of fear. Divorce is far better than staying in a bad relationship for a lifetime. In my opinion we are much better off with the current state, even with its shortcomings.
I would add "viable procreation" to the author's list. I have no problem with any of the items on the list.
Soon? What's this we have now?
Many things are different today.
Today many women work instead of raisng kids and staying home.
While at work they are hit on constantly by men looking for a quick piece, and sooner or later they give it a try. Marriage is down the drain.Many women make more money than their husbands so they can pull out at the first argument.They don’t worry about the kids because they are in daycare and besides that their ex-husband will be raped for child support.
I certainly agree Divorce can sometimes be the best way out, if two people cannot get along, I am not totally against divorce.
Sometimes mistakes are made, sometimes that mistake is a husband or wife that shouldn’t have been married in the first place.
I only stated what marriage should be, not what it often turns out to be.
I will be married 50 years in June 2013, my wife has never feared me, when we argue, if I get mad I leave and ride the motorcycle for a couple of hours and come home and apologise LOL. I worked 3 jobs so she could raise the kids at home, I committed myself to her and she to me.That is marriage, not some trashbag Kardashian who makes porn movies,wears trash outfits and thinks sex is to be passed out to anyone with a penis and money.
These form the FOUNDATION:
These change throughout life, so they can NOT be the foundation:
The thing is that romantic love is routinely considered an emotion. It’s nit. It’s more of a commitment.
As people continue to make that mistake, marriages will fail in significant numbers.
George was married to Britney Spears? Maybe it only lasted 55 hours because of his eating habits on the honeymoon.
We’re not better off by any stretch of the imagination. Your argument presumes that the selfish interests of a few people are more important that the systemic and probably irreversible damage we’ve done to our society. That is a supremely foolish argument, especially when the people suffering from such unhappiness made a free choice of their own volition which led to their state.
I forgot to put the note indicating a sliver of sarcasm in my post. Thanks for your feedback comments.
However, people do grow, some closer to God and some away from. When two people who are on differing paths are married, the one focused upon growing toward God is hindered from growing. Bottom line is, divorce is better than death (notice I used the word death rather than murder). You can’t imagine how many loving Christians there are who feel guilty about wishing their marriage partner who is creating their agony would just die so they could be free from the torture.
Mother who are trying to raise their children in a healthy environment when there is a drug addicted dad is just one example. Sometimes, when we are forced to make decisions, we must do it with tough love to minimize the greater damage.
“I love her (only 1 of these)”
There are many levels of “Love” and they change as people grow.
If a husband says he loves his wife, and she says the same to him, it could mean two or more different things.
She may feel loved as she feels safe and secure.
He may feel loved due to good sex.
She may feel loved as he validates who she is and makes her feel good about herself.
Each of the above will create the same “chemistry” feeling of love at different times throughout an individual’s life.
The real problem is created when only one individual in a marriage grows and not both. They grow apart. I refuse to judge, I just seek to understand and help people who are going through the process.
The number one attraction or connection between souls that creates the strong feeling of Love is:
We are attracted toward individuals whose personality is similar to someone with whom we have an unresolved conflict. The stronger the unresolved conflict, the stronger the attraction toward a similar personality to use as a surrogate. When the unresolved soul issue is resolved within one or both individuals, the attraction is automatically gone between them. I work with this every day.
I’ve had women who were physically beaten by their husbands come to me and ask why they are addicted to their abusive husbands and can’t leave them. One woman who came to me was hospitalized four times due to being severely beaten. Her husband was imprisoned an equal number of times for beating her. I never talked with her about her marriage or her husband. I merely guided her to heal the trauma with her father that occurred when she was four years old. We healed it and the next day she contacts me to ask why her attraction toward her abusive husband is gone. This is the norm and not the exception.
The ideal is that I work with both husband and wife so they can both heal and thus the marriage will survive and grow. But I will never turn one individual away just because their spouse does not want to change.
“These form the FOUNDATION:
Allow me to add the most important one “Love of God.”
Religion is not needed in the marriage argument. Marriage is an institution protecting children, inheritance, and property rights.
Calling marriage a “religious issue” is a red herring trap which surrenders the ENTIRE debate to the radical left.
logic and reason, without resorting to mere faith, wins this debate every time.
Marriage has always had its origin in religious beliefs, thus my point. It was meant to be a bit sarcastic (but not labeled by me) as most of the ten commandments, such as “Thou shall not kill” has also been a religious law adopted by society. The line is a bit blurry as atheists try to take the church out of the church’s laws in order to twist and change them for their own needs.
Bulls**t. Maybe it was a century ago but not now. Today it is a partnership with the government where you pre authorize a guy in a long black dress to decide how your stuff gets split up after one party lawyers up. The kids get used as pawns by the government, there is no inheritance because the lawyers bleed both sides dry and property rights don't exist in "family" courts. Government has no business sanctioning marriage.
“so they then become attracted to you”
Funny that you say that with the perspective of your screen name namesake, Rashputin! That was his pattern.
I always direct people to find their strength within by looking toward God, never toward me. When they try to find their strength from me, I direct them toward God.
God likes a flat organizational chart. Everyone is to have their own direct connection, never through me or anyone else.
Yes, that would the key component in “Similar Values”.
I don’t understand being attracted to people like someone you have an "unresolved conflict" with. Grasp the beauty and meaning of the phrase, “you’re dead to me”, and move on. I don't understand not recognizing the same things in someone you meet that were present in others you've known, either.
I know several couples who divorced and who have had a miserable life ever since and so has their former spouse. Both of them will tell you they don't know why they ever broke up but at the time, someone convinced them that they should shed their partner and look out for themselves.
True, none of these folks were physically abused, but it seems to me that there are a lot of people who believe they're supposed get divorced because "everyone" gets a divorce from their first spouse. It's a go along to get along society and if most people have herpes, a lot of people won't want to feel left out and will line up to get herpes.
Oh, there's no 'h' in Rasputin by the by, but everyone makes that mistake and it's funny when they do because it's revealing in it's own little way.
LOL... I did know that there is no “H” in Rasputin as I have researched him extensively. He and I have certain abilities in common and I researched him to learn from his mistakes rather than having to learn from my own school of hard knocks by repeating them.
Remember the scripture that states, “If your brother has anything against you, go and resolve it before you come and worship.” Any unresolved conflict becomes an anchor to our soul. The we must always strive to remove any conflicts to Love that exist within us. This is why Jesus said the second most important commandment is “Love thy neighbor as thyself. And, why in 1John 4 it mentions that if you say that you love God and do not love your neighbor, then you are a liar!
Life is about cleansing our soul so it can grow. Thus, our Father guides us into situations to give us the opportunity to cleanse our unresolved issues. Problem is, most of the time they become reinforcement events rather than resolution events.
This is the reason that “love is blind.” The attraction is strong and as soon as we begin to experience intimacy, all of a sudden we are comfortable enough to bring up our own unresolved issue and project it onto them as a surrogate. We then hate them and have no idea why!
In this perfect dance, our partner is doing the same with us for a complimentary reason.
I’ve been doing this work for many years. I can generally find the perceptual programming event in their life that created the trauma in a few minutes without the person ever saying one word. Don’t want to know anything about them as it would only interfere with my work. I do in a few minutes in one session what most psychologists take years to do.
Most forget that contraception is a recent historical development. Without it, a man and woman rather fond of each other tend to produce children, and society at large have an interest in keeping those parents together for optimal raising of their offspring and to prevent them otherwise becoming a burden on society, along with ensuring there is sufficient stable procreation for continuation of the society. Hence the institution of marriage.
Without that likely outcome from intra-gender fondness, and with society still holding the institution in high regard for bonding and protecting that fondness with special societal recognition and privileges, the focus drifts from the reproduction (now very optional) to the fondness that led to it ... and with reproduction rendered optional (even discouraged), romantic attraction with utterly no possibility of reproduction (not to be confused with choice or malfunction) demands the same societal recognition and privileges.
Without reproduction, the institution of marriage would never have arisen.
Without reproduction, the institution of marriage becomes a quaint anachronism abused and misapplied for its lingering societal benefit.
Totally agree with you, except that the person who is wronged must also forgive. That can be done directly with the Holy Spirit if one is open to Divine Grace. Otherwise.... the situation is somehow replicated.
“Most forget that contraception is a recent historical development. Without it, a man and woman rather fond of each other tend to produce children, and society at large have an interest in keeping those parents together for optimal raising of their offspring and to prevent them otherwise becoming a burden on society, along with ensuring there is sufficient stable procreation for continuation of the society. Hence the institution of marriage.
“Without that likely outcome from intra-gender fondness, and with society still holding the institution in high regard for bonding and protecting that fondness with special societal recognition and privileges, the focus drifts from the reproduction (now very optional) to the fondness that led to it ... and with reproduction rendered optional (even discouraged), romantic attraction with utterly no possibility of reproduction (not to be confused with choice or malfunction) demands the same societal recognition and privileges.
“Without reproduction, the institution of marriage would never have arisen.
Without reproduction, the institution of marriage becomes a quaint anachronism abused and misapplied for its lingering societal benefit.”
And that about sums it up.
This definition, from the author (Douglas Baker), feels good in the mouth, but it could apply as well to homosexual couples as to heterosexual couples.
A definition of marriage not based on children's need for an institution that unites them with their natural father and natural mother, will devolve into something based on couple-satisfaction. As such, there's no reason for it not to include L's, G's, B's, T's --the whole alphabet soup.
And that's a big reason why marriage has broken down: contraceptives have successfully sabotaged the one aspect of man-woman sex that makes it transcend the mutual satisfaction of two adults. Thanks to hormones, spaying, and the suction curette, most man-woman marriages are gay anyway, in the way that really counts.
We disagree. I think the greater good is served if people can get out of a bad marriage. To me, a bad marriage is far worse than a rising divorce rate.
It’s not simply a rising divorce rate that is the consequence. The real consequence is the abolition of marriage itself. Marriage is kind of a contract, and if it can be simply dissolved on a whim without consequence, then it’s not really a contract at all. Therefore, what we are calling “marriage” doesn’t even meet the definition anymore.
In order to allow a few people out of “bad marriages”, we must destroy marriage for everyone else, which is what we have done.
That's absolutely untrue even if you modify that to being "reliable contraceptives".
Devices nearly identical to a modern IUD, sponges soaked with lemon juice or other spermicidals, along with other non-barrier related spermicides were well known in ancient Egypt. Chinese records show pretty much the same sorts of things along with what seem to have been very effective powders to mix with tea that altered the chemistry of the womb for a few days at a time, as being well known and widely available as far back as four thousand years ago.
The only thing new is pharmaceutical companies making tons of money on abortaficient contraceptives rather than the individual or local pharmacist mixing up contraceptives and abortificiants.
Idea that marriage was related to an absence of contraceptives is either from someone who hasn't done their homework or just more propaganda that the ignorant will think makes sense and swallow along with their daily dose of other absurd propaganda.
What are you talking about? It is only easy to get out of a marriage if both parties agree and there are no contentious situations. If both want out, it should be easy. People do not get married with the intent of bailing except for Kardashian types.
Otherwise both parties are put through an economic and emotional wringer. Both parties are turned upside down by crooked lawyers who shake them until they feel there is no more cash that can be extracted.
Too many women used to be totally powerless to get out of a marriage, even ones that lived in total hell.
I don’t think marriage will ever disappear for those who want it and
those who don’t want it should not have to get married because government wants it.
“What are you talking about? It is only easy to get out of a marriage if both parties agree and there are no contentious situations.”
No, that is not true. Even if there are contentious situations, it’s still ridiculously easy to get the divorce itself, you’ll just have to squabble in court over the assets and the kids. The divorce itself, in all 50 states and the District of Columbia, can be obtained by the whim of either party, without the consent of the other, with no cause provided whatsoever. This is called “no fault divorce”, and it is the law of the land.
“If both want out, it should be easy.”
Why should it be easy? They (supposedly) entered into a permanent contract, which had no termination clause save for the death of one party or the other. If we say that such a contract can be invalidated without cause, then it was never a contract at all, hence marriage is simply a sham. That’s where we are at today.
“Otherwise both parties are put through an economic and emotional wringer. Both parties are turned upside down by crooked lawyers who shake them until they feel there is no more cash that can be extracted.”
One could just as easily look at these as good deterrents to people divorcing lightly, rather than unnecessary torment inevitably inflicted on the parties. If they know going in to a marriage that those would be the consequences of pursuing a divorce, then many people might well choose alternatives to divorce, or simply not marry if they don’t want to take such a risk. As it stands today, many people, go into marriage practically planning to get divorced eventually, since there isn’t any downside for at least one of the parties.
“Too many women used to be totally powerless to get out of a marriage, even ones that lived in total hell.”
Well, I’m sorry, but life isn’t fair. If you choose to enter a lifetime contract, you should not expect to be able to easily terminate it. Also, I wonder why you ignore that men were equally powerless to get out of a marriage in most situations?
I’d also like to point out that, even when divorce was rare, there were no laws forcing married couples to cohabitate. If the marriage was a bad one, they could still part ways, they simply couldn’t get remarried to someone else. Which, I think, was probably best for everyone involved, since they already demonstrated that they couldn’t make a marriage work.
“I dont think marriage will ever disappear for those who want it and
those who dont want it should not have to get married because government wants it.”
It already has disappeared for all of us, whether we want it or not. Marriage is not a temporary partnership agreement, that can be dissolved with no cause or consequence. What we have today is not really marriage, we’re just calling it that because nobody wants to admit that we’ve legally done away with marriage.
Also, the government doesn’t, and never has to my knowledge, forced anyone to get married. Any marriage that is entered into by compulsion is by definition an invalid marriage, and a perfect candidate for a legitimate divorce. All we are talking about is the government performing its duty of enforcing valid contracts entered into by private parties.
I disagree on so many counts and will address them later.
However, if you think it should be made more difficult to leave a marriage where a party is being physically abused, I think you are putting your view of morality over a human being’s right to safety, and that seems to me to be as anti-freedom as can possibly be.
“However, if you think it should be made more difficult to leave a marriage where a party is being physically abused...”
No, I wouldn’t state my position to be quite that. I’m opposed to using people wanting to get out of “bad marriages” as an excuse for allowing anyone to get divorced, for any reason at all, which is the situation we have today. A “bad marriage” is a completely ethereal concept, since it’s entirely subjective, so any marriage can be defined as a “bad” one.
There needs to be a clearly defined set of situations in which the state will grant a divorce, not simply allowing them for any reason. That would not invalidate all marriages, like the current state of affairs does, because the marriage contracts would remain valid and enforceable so long as both parties avoid the actions which would allow divorce to be pursued.
Now, in the case of physical abuse, I do think that is a just cause to sue for a civil divorce. I don’t think that it is a valid cause for ecclesiastical invalidation of marriage, but that’s an entirely separate matter, and I don’t want to get too far off topic.
What is gained by keeping people in a marriage they don’t want to be in?
Who is government, church, or other human beings, that gives them the right to tell people what to do if no law is being broken?
“What is gained by keeping people in a marriage they dont want to be in?”
When contracts are lawfully enforced, then the public has a reasonable expectation that they can enter into such a contract, and it will be lawfully enforced in the future as well. When they are unlawfully dissolved, then confidence in contracts is eroded, and when this happens on such a scale as we have seen with marriage, it goes way beyond erosion of confidence. Marriage is a joke, nobody has any expectation that it will ever be enforceable, so there is no confidence at all left to erode anymore.
Now, if you don’t understand why contacts, proper enforcement, and public confidence in them are vitally important for society, then that’s a whole different topic. Suffice to say that they are one of the fundamental pillars of our legal system, just as marriage is a fundamental pillar of our society. We’ve been hacking away at the bases of both of those pillars by allowing divorce-on-demand.
“Who is government, church, or other human beings, that gives them the right to tell people what to do if no law is being broken?”
Well, let’s focus on just the governments, since I already said I don’t want to get sidetracked here with ecclesiastical matters. The governments have every right to enforce contracts, including marriages. In fact, it is their duty to enforce contracts, so it’s not optional for them. They must apply the contract law, and they are supposed to apply it equally to all.
If governments don’t enforce contracts, then we lose our civil society in its entirety, because the only recourse to enforce agreements between parties is private justice and vigilantism. So, you are on a very dangerous course when you dismiss the importance of that government duty.