For every 9.4 marriages in Colorado in 1994, 5.1 ended in divorce, the U.S. National Center for Health Statistics reported. How can people so quickly ignore their oath to their spouse? Perhaps a more pressing question might be, "What is marriage?" Who should decide what marital commitment means?
Is the American public free to reinterpret God’s plan for marriage as Hollywood, radical feminism and the homosexual movements have been so inclined? Marriage was once a beautiful flower that beamed with pride. Now it is nothing more than a skeleton of its former glory, ravaged by the groping and illicit hands of men and women. Special interest groups, religious groups and the Supreme Court all vie for their definition of marriage, yet God’s heart cries out, "Ask me! I am that definition."
Believing we can define right and wrong for ourselves was the sin in the Garden of Eden. As a Boston College professor put it, the song they will be singing in hell is, "I did it my way." For the appearance of open-mindedness in relationships, Americans have with almost embarrassing eagerness traded what God has defined as "good," in exhange for, as some poor satirist put it, a god who would like to exist if he could. The downfall of marriage has been long-coming.
The movie world portrays marriage as anything but fulfilling. Modern films have taught that sex outside of the confines of marriage is exciting and new, and sex inside marriage is dull and predictable. American culture used to blushingly watch when sexual impropriety was portrayed. Now with the abundance of sexuality, most viewers are disappointed if they don’t see some skin. These same people judge any relationship as good as long as it "feels" right.
William Blake wrote of this years ago when he penned the words, "This life’s dim windows of the soul, distorts the heavens from pole to pole, and goads you to believe a lie when you see through, and not with the eye." How much better would our moral judgments on marriage be if we judged marriage by looking through the eye, with the conscience? Today modern people watch with voyeuristic pleasure as larger than life stars, married to seven other people none the less, model a behavioral standard that is selfish and flat-souled; traits that are anything but covenant love.
After the sexual revolution, men who had formerly felt some obligation to the women with whom they slept now were told that a woman was like any man, and she reveled in this new found freedom. One night encounters became exceedingly easy for men, more so now than in any time in the past. Only now, men had no compunction or sense of duty to women. Sex was duty-free and marriage became a nice tax shelter. According to best-selling author Allan Bloom, "One of the strongest, oldest motives for marriage is no longer operative. Men can now easily enjoy the sex that previously could only be had in marriage."
Homosexual activists reinterpreted "man and wife" into "reciprocal love between two consenting adults." Marriage used to be a thing, a noun. In its modern use, it is an adjective that colorfully wraps an odorous and decaying corpse of convenience.
The feminist movement exacerbated the problem by destroying the notion that a primary goal in life was to raise a family. Equality in duty became the flag ship of the woman’s fleet, the same one that once took care of the children. Children who once had the exclusive attention of one parent, found themselves divided between two career conscious adults. Now women, like their husbands, pursue promotions and send the children to a nanny or school to learn about God and ethics.
But new questions have been raised, is career or family the higher good? Daniel Yankelovich masterfully paints the dilemma both men and women face today, "To the (modern man and woman), self-fulfillment means having a career and marriage and children and sexual freedom and autonomy and being liberal and having money and choosing non-conformity and insisting social justice and enjoying city life and country living and simplicity and graciousness and reading and good friends and on and on."
An inability to commit to a family has inevitably been passed on to children. The courtship of the modern children is defined by a more sterile word, "relationship." Neither committed nor uncommitted, the couple has the freedom of autonomy and the comfort of a companion. A couple can live together for a year and one might suddenly decide that what they really wanted was an acting career, and leave with nothing more than a disagreement about who keeps the blender. Is this real love?
Lying, casually dismissed by our highest elected officials, has been the fuel that scorched the last remaining trees in the forest of marriage. The vows each person promised in the presence of the Most High God meant nothing because their word meant nothing in daily life. Students have signed SPU’s statement of behavior contract and gleefully broke that promise without second thought. Promising to not drink, they threw parties in dorms; swearing to refrain from pot and tobacco, their homeless minds lit fat bud; in good faith they vowed not to behave in a sexually immoral manner while only practicing immorality. Newsflash: if a person lies with these little things, how can he/she be trusted with anything substantial?
God took great care to create a hallowed environment for Adam and Eve. The monogamy, the equality and the male/female nature of the relationship cannot be missed. Someone who is the definition, defined parameters for marriage so that we would have a better understanding of him. God did this so that we can know what is, and what is not love. The God of the Bible is not someone who can be arbitrarily defined according to our whims. Neither can marriage resemble anything but what God has described it as.
Marriage is considering the other person as greater than yourself. It is when a man and woman give all of themselves without regard to the consequences. It is not loving to leave your spouse for self-actualization, it is loving to "cleave." It is not loving to love only while the other person is fun, it is loving to love for a lifetime, and this God calls marriage.
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Title: God, not man defines marriage | Author: Alex Thomason | Section: Opinions | Published Date: 1998-12-02 | Internal ID: 361