Marriage, An Outdated Institution? – Part 2

It is coincidental that right after the conclusion of part 1 of this journal, I stumbled on an article in the Metro of July 14 which stated that divorce is now easier than obtaining a driving license. This was the opinion of a Family Judge. I bet he knows what he is talking about from his experiences in the family court room. According to Sir Paul Coleridge, people needed to re-educate themselves about the importance of stable relationships for the good of society. He suggests that about 3.8 million children are caught up in the family justice system, with no sign of the number dropping. Sir Paul blames the social changes in the past fifty years, including a shift in attitudes towards co-habitation and having children out of wedlock. The stigma attached to a divorce has disappeared and we’ve had a cultural revolution in sexual immorality and sexual behaviour. One interesting thing from the article was the opinion of Sir Paul that the rate of breakdown among unmarried couple was higher. Could this be true and if so, could it be that marriage was created as a framework that stopped breakdown or at least reduces the chances of one?

Marriage forces two people, each of who has his or her own defects or shortcomings to commit to a life of continuous adjustment. I like the way someone puts it. That marriage is the result of human needs. Here’s what someone else says; “having failed in one marriage, and seen the blight of the legal system on my private life, I would be tempted to say marriage is dead. However with a second sound marriage I see clearly the importance of a strong, sound and respectful relationship”.  Marriage is God-ordained for a very good reason. Because within the commitment of marriage, people learn to put other’s needs before themselves, rather than the selfishness that exists in society today.

You might say to yourself, ‘I am a firm believer in marriage so I don’t need this lecture’. If so, how are you role-modeling marriage to those coming behind you? Have you confined your spouse to an institution of neglect, pain and regret with your actions, words or inaction? Yes you do believe in marriage and although you are not married yet, you are sure that it will be blissful when you finally say I do. But, do the examples of marriages around you cause you to doubt whether it is really worth it.

I seriously think we must stop complaining about the weaknesses in marriage or threats against it albeit there are real threats hurled at the institution on a daily basis. All you have to do is look around you. However we must start to look at the strengths and opportunities we have to promote the institution of marriage. Each married person has a role to play in ensuring that their marriage does not become part of the statistics. People also ought to be more accountable for their reasons for entering into marriage. Marriage is very costly when entered into without any determination to remain committed for life. Marriage is a spiritual and an emotional commitment which cannot be dictated by law. It is my personal belief that marriage is a spiritual institution run by relational or emotional beings.

Don’t be fooled by some of the threats in our day against the marriage institution. For example, I have nothing against Gay men or women and I do love them. However my bible tells me that homosexuality is a sin. In Dr. James Dobson’s book, Marriage under fire he stated that we must all become soberly aware of a deeply disturbing reality. Which is that the homosexual agenda is not marriage for gays. It is marriage for no one. And despite what you read or see in the media, it is definitely not monogamous. I am disillusioned about the fact that this is not the only threat against marriage. There are other things such as complacency, adultery, unfaithfulness, selfishness etc.

Marriage is the ultimate commitment to your spouse. It should never be entered into lightly. The formal act of marriage is not only a declaration to your spouse, but to your friends, family and community that this is a permanent relationship. While some marriages do not work out, people need to try harder before separating and think longer before marrying. Ultimately, marriage is a lot of work and not something to be entered into because others are doing it or your family expects it.

In the same way that organisations discharge their corporate social responsibility to ensuring that our planet is safe by going green, we ought to have many more organisations out there helping the family. It is going to cost us patience, perseverance, determination, commitment, love, discipline and so on but the reward will be well worth it. Try and picture where the family or marriage institution will be in the next 30-40 years if we don’t do something about it. We all have a role to play and we cannot afford to see our relationship as affecting just us but as part of a big, God-ordained institution.

References:     Marriage under fire by Dr. James Dobson.

                            The BBC

                            The New King James Bible.

                            Metro, 14 July 2011, pg 14