3 Specks On The Lens Of Marriage
Lately, on social media, there have been numerous people declaring their disbelief in marriage. The reasons vary such as lack of necessity or relevance. What speaks louder than the declarations themselves is the consistent anti-religious undertones. The anti-Christian theme seems to be the loudest and I’m sure that’s why it caught my attention. After looking at various conversations on the topic, I decided to do somewhat of a response to the subject. More or less, offer a different perspective to consider. I have three points to highlight.
***Marriage is a concept of covenant, not Christianity***
Check the timeline. Marriage was observed long before Christianity was practiced as beliefs or coined as a term. Marriage is defined as the legally or formally recognized union of two people in a personal relationship (historically and in some jurisdictions specifically between a man and a woman).
A quick Google search brings up Wikipedia’s more refined definition. Also called matrimony or wedlock, marriage is a socially or ritually recognized union between spouses that establishes rights and obligations between these spouses as well as between spouses and any resulting biological or adopted children and affinity (in-laws and other family members through marriage). Further research will show that all marriages are not required to literally sign papers, just a public acknowledgment.
The definition alone explains why people of all ethnic backgrounds and religious beliefs observe marriage. It may not have always been called marriage but it is rooted in covenant. Covenant is an agreement or contract drawn up by deed detailing the commitment. With commitment comes responsibility and consequences.
When a person is committed to a relationship, the person has a responsibility to not for the other person and is to be held accountable for their actions and vice versa. Failure to uphold those responsibilities have consequences on the relationship/household. Of course, life happens and the consequences are not always negative. But each person is still held accountable for their responsibilities.
Declaring a disbelief in marriage is to inadvertently reject the responsibility that comes with it. Could it be that being held accountable for one’s responsibilities to another is too much to handle?
Many people want the freedom to have sex with whomever they please without attachment. Since this can be accomplished without marriage, they take a position against it. It’s a matter of self-satisfaction.
Some people want to be free to walk away from the relationship without hassle if they are no longer feeling their partner’s vibe or the relationship doesn’t work out for whatever reason. Taking this position means the person enters the relationship preparing for an exit instead of having a vested interest in building the relationship.
Commitment starts in the heart and is manifested in public actions. When a commitment is present in the heart, it reflects in the person's thought process and daily actions before any kind of formal acknowledgment. The wedding announces the union to the community for celebration and respect of family. Those in attendance usually commit to supporting the family as a whole, not as individuals. As an act of covenant, marriage sets up the union for longevity which leads to the next point.
***Marriage is the foundation for family unity and the cycle of life***
With spousal commitment comes loyalty to the best interest of the family.
A stable husband and wife can offer a healthy environment to nurture children. Kids need a mother and a father. When the parents are committed to each other and are united in marriage, it perpetuates a cycle of life with strong values of family unity. Naturally, the argument is the parents don’t have to be married to raise kids in a healthy environment. After all, people do it every day. Or do they? This reality does not change the fact the children are impacted by this lack of unity and doesn’t understand this impact until much later in life. Usually, one parent’s role is minimized because of absenteeism or resentment. Any bitterness between the parents is sprinkled into the child’s experience like seasoning on meat. In these instances, it is grace that helps single and blended families to mend the wounds caused by a lack of commitment.
Too often children are born as the result of the adult's desire to be sexually satisfied with no consideration beyond the heat of the moment. Again a matter of self-satisfaction. Responsibility and accountability are necessary for the family to stay united. Having kids with no commitment leads to unnecessary stress and emotional strain, broken relationships and much more with children and adults feeling the impact.
There is research to support the benefits of a family united by marriage versus one that is not. For the most part, the evidence speaks for itself.
***Marriage breeds generational wealth designed to support family lineage***
It’s not rocket science. When a family separates so does the money. No one builds an empire alone. Society may credit one person for being responsible for it, but you best believe that person had help. Any single parent will tell you it's hard when everything for the household falls on them. They need someone to help carry the load. Often it’s a grandparent, sibling or friend.
Married couples have an advantage in building a foundation that will allow their children to be stable in adulthood, creating an avenue for their children to build wealth. When a child is not carrying a burden of poverty, they are able to maximize their gifts and talents early in life as opposed to struggling for basic necessities at all cost. These kinds of struggles make stability the goal instead of the stepping stone it should be.
When the conversation ends, marriage is a choice like everything else that comes with life. An individual will do what they will, hopefully considering the pros and cons critically and equally.
Be careful not to let the culture of “self over everything” be a death sentence. There is value in marriage, family unity and generational wealth. Fear of responsibility, commitment and accountability are real. Our society is full of people who cannot handle responsibility and use love of self as an excuse to live below their potential and rise up just high enough to maintain, never enough to soar.
It is one thing to declare your belief. Be mindful that a declaration against marriage says more about you than the unwillingness to announce your union. While the idea of customizing a family to accommodate selfish ideas may be popular, jumping on the bandwagon out of ignorance should be avoided.
While marriage is not for everyone, it is definitely worthy of more respect than it’s been getting. Whatever your relationship status, recognize the lifeline marriage holds. Say “I do” to grace, because we all benefit from it whether we sign an actual contract or not. Be well.