Now, right from the git-go I need to make it clear that I am using the collective “we” here. My marriage is healthy and happy, thank you very much! 29 years in and I’m still rejoicing with the wife of my youth, as the Good Book tells us to do. Challenges to work through over the years? Yes, but that’s to be expected. But no affairs or anything remotely catastrophic—not even close—thank you, Jesus!
So by “we” I really mean North American culture generally and the Body of Christ specifically. Since I’m a part of both, I’ll lump myself in with most of the rest of you reading this.
And, yeah, we really messed up marriage, didn’t we?
We had a pretty good thing going for, oh, about 6000 years of recorded human history. Adam and Eve made a good start, and marriage was rolling along in cruise control.
Then the 1960s came along. Sigh. It started with no-fault divorce, really. Up until then, at least in our Western world, you pretty much needed a good reason to divorce your husband or wife. And adultery was the main, pretty good reason that was allowed. Wonder where our culture got that from? Oh yeah, from the Bible—Jesus’ own lips, really—which is where we pretty much got all the laws that have governed Western culture well for so many centuries.
But when no-fault divorce came along, husbands and wives could start divorcing each other for seemingly any and every reason—often no reason at all.
And they did. At an alarming rate.
What has been the fruit of this? Well, let’s see. Broken homes and broken hearts. Kids being forced to raise themselves--or worse, having popular media and the public schools raise them. Single parents doing the best they can, but their kids still growing up by and large without the formative influence of both a father and a mother. Co-habitation. Common-law, pseudo-marriages which saved on rent and satisfied sexual urges without any of the commitment of real marriage. And on and on and on.
Instead of “for better or for worse”, it became “for my happiness or else!”
And what did Christians say and do during all this time? Well, in my experience—and I’ve been pretty much around the church scene closely for almost 50 years now—not much. At least, not much that I remember. And that’s as recently as today.
So yeah, we really messed up marriage, didn’t we?
Is it really any wonder, then, that the U.S. Supreme Court decided 2 years ago that marriage should not be exclusively between one man and one woman? Makes sense, right? If the “One Man, One Woman For Life” crowd has done such a lousy job of marriage, then why not give someone else a chance?
I just don’t think people who think marriage should be redefined have really thought through the implications. I don’t think the Supreme Court justices have. What prompted me to write this post was the article I saw come across my Facebook a while back that in Some Town, USA, this was about to happen: “Father to marry his son—legally!”
Do you realize what sort of Pandora’s Box has been opened now that marriage is redefined? It won’t just be same-sex couples. Parents will be marrying their kids. Siblings will be marrying each other. Polygamy will definitely become a viable option. Folks will start legally marrying their pets! Living folks will start marrying the deceased. And you’ll have the great option of legally marrying inanimate objects—like the armoire you’ve loved all these years! I’m sure employers will be thrilled to be legally forced to pay all sorts of benefits for beloved furniture in a consensual, committed relationship.
And just like the days of the Judges, everyone will be doing what is right in his/her own eyes.
Far-fetched? Let me ask you this: when you were a little boy or girl—in your lifetime—could you have ever dreamed that 2 men or 2 women would be able to get legally “married”, or that a father could legally “marry” his son? Don’t talk to me about far-fetched!
When marriage begins to mean everything, suddenly it means nothing.