Monday, May 9, 2011

in defense of marriage.

In an article on the Fox News Editorials page, Dr. Keith Ablow seconded the brusque attack of a celebrity on marriage. It was astonishing, infuriating and depressing.

             "First, the involvement of the state in marriage has been a colossal mistake. The
 granting of marriage licenses by government debases an institution which is actually the proper domain of churches, temples and other entities focused on God and Spirit." 

             "A second reason marriage is a dying institution is the invention of oral contraception. Once human beings understood that they could express themselves emotionally, romantically and sexually without necessarily creating multiple families and perilously dividing their assets, the psychological pain of living without sexual passion (even by choice) was significantly intensified. And, make no mistake about it, marriage that includes cohabitation is a really tough environment in which to preserve such passion. The vast, vast majority of men and women, in fact, are no longer physically attracted to their spouses after five or ten years (that’s being kind), if they have seen one another most of that time. Human beings just are not built to desire one another once we have flossed in the same room a hundred times and shared a laundry basket for thousands of days."
               "The third reason marriage is a dying institution is because it inherently deprives men and women of the joy of being “chosen” on a daily basis. It’s natural to like the feeling of being wanted (most people thirst for it), and the fact that leaving a marriage involves “lawyering up” and suffering greatly means that most husbands and wives have to wonder whether their spouses really want to stay, or simply don’t want to go through the hassle of leaving."

                "Fourth, our collective experience with marriages failing in such great numbers is itself one of the reasons the institution is dying. No one likes being part of a group of hypocrites. The fact that millions of Americans take vows to stay in marriages for life, then leave those marriages—once, twice, maybe three times—has so trivialized and mocked those vows that many silently chuckle to themselves while listening to them. Once enough divorced parents have wept with joy at the placing of rings on the fingers of their daughters or daughters-in-law, the backbone of marriage as an institution must snap.
It’s only a matter of time now. Marriage will fade away. We should be thinking about what might replace it. We should come up with something that improves the quality of our lives and those of our children. And we should keep government out of it, if we know what’s good for us."

After writing and point-by-point destroying Dr. Ablow's editorial piece, when I was finished I closed my laptop and walked away. Several hours later I returned, opened up the screen, and deleted everything I'd written. 
Every frustration, every defense, every angry retort and trashing of his views disappeared with a single highlight and keystroke.
Below is all I had left once I'd taken me out of it.


1 Corinthians 7: 1-16

Now for the matters you wrote about: It is good for a man not to marry. But since there is so much immorality, each man should have his own wife, and each woman her own husband. The husband should fulfill his marital duty to his wife, and likewise the wife to her husband. The wife's body does not belong to her alone but also to her husband. In the same way, the husband's body does not belong to him alone but also to his wife. Do not deprive each other except by mutual consent and for a time, so that you may devote yourselves to prayer. Then come together again so that Satan will not tempt you because of your lack of self-control. I say this as a concession, not as a command. 

Hebrews 13:4-7

Marriage should be honored by all, and the marriage bed kept pure, for God will judge the adulterer and all the sexually immoral. Keep your lives free from the love of money and be content with what you have, because God has said

Matthew 19:4-6

Haven't you read," he replied, "that at the beginning the Creator 'made them male and female,' and said, 'For this reason a man will leave his father and mother and be united to his wife, and the two will become one flesh'? So they are no longer two, but one. Therefore what God has joined together, let man not separate."

Mark 10:6-9

"But at the beginning of creation God 'made them male and female.'' For this reason a man will leave his father and mother and be united to his wife, and the two will become one flesh.' So they are no longer two, but one. Therefore what God has joined together, let man not separate."

Romans 12: 9-21

Love must be sincere. Hate what is evil; cling to what is good. Be devoted to one another in brotherly love. Honor one another above yourselves. Never be lacking in zeal, but keep your spiritual fervor, serving the Lord. Be joyful in hope, patient in affliction, faithful in prayer. Share with God's people who are in need. Practice hospitality. Bless those who persecute you; bless and do not curse. Rejoice with those who rejoice; mourn with those who mourn. Live in harmony with one another. Do not be proud, but be willing to associate with people of low position. Do not be conceited.

When it came down to it Dr. Ablow had pointed out that married couples are hypocrites, tire of each other quickly, have become unfaithful often, lose the desire for one another after only a few short years, and have re-built the marriage covenant into something that brings hopelessness and failure.
Apart from scripture, apart from Jesus and apart from following him, Dr. Ablow is right.
Marriage will, however, not fade away, nor do we need to find something to replace it. One should not replace a wayward child if they become dysfunctional and rebellious, or a parent when they become old, senile and disruptive. 
The only reason marriage ever had any meaning in the first place was because it was ordained by a sovereign God who loved mankind enough to offer him that if he wanted to not be alone any longer. Man could take up a covenant with his bride and the Father would give both husband and wife the grace to live the rest of their lives together under his promise to love and take care of them both.  
Take away the Father and what's left are two imperfect human beings with just as much struggle as those with Jesus, only they don't have hope and must create their own grace. 
In the middle of trying to graduate, plan a wedding and keep up a breakneck pace on both levels, I can tell you that right now my fiancee and I are surviving on grace and hope alone.

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