In scrolling through the Yahoo news board during down time, I have come across article after article about marriages. Even while I know that these articles are silly and I will end up shaking my head after reading them, I still click on the stories if for no other reason than to pass the time. Through these articles I have “learned” a good deal about relationships and marriage…or at least I have learned a good deal about how a secularized society views it!
One article focused on why divorce poses a strong case for marriage. Curious at what this article was about, all the while knowing I would almost certainly not agree with the information, I went ahead and read it. The story suggested that if two people are in a relationship where they live together, have children together, or basically jointly share anything, they might as well get married because divorce will divide things more evenly than just a breakup. Other articles have looked at marriage from a financial standpoint. Does it make good financial sense to get married? What sort of tax breaks will that afford me? Would it be more “fiscally responsible” to remain single? One recent story highlighted a man’s proposal to his now fiancé which cost him over $40,000 to make it memorable. The article went on to say how men need to be more creative and cannot simply rely on getting down on one knee or popping the question over dinner.
The problem, it seems to me, is how marriage is perceived. It appears that for a large portion of society, marriage is simply the next step in a relationship. Secularized media, sitcoms, and movies support the idea that if you like someone – date them, if that goes well, have sex, if that still goes well then you might as well live together, and if after that you can still stand to be around each other- eh why not get married. But when you do get married, be sure that the man makes the proposal expensive —er meaningful. And you should probably have an expensive wedding where the focus is mainly on the bridal gown, floral arrangements, invitations, and centerpieces. That is what’s important right? After all, you may end up saving money by being married and plus, you’ll have legal rights to belongings when you split up! But that’s not what it’s about.
Marriage is not something to do simply because it’s the next step, or because you feel you’ve been together long enough that it is expected. Marriage is an unbreakable union by God. Marriage is about loving someone despite their flaws, despite arguments, despite differing viewpoints. Marriage is about finding the person who God intended you to be with and entering into a holy union with them. To help that person become closer to God and to grow in your own relationship with the because of the love you receive from your spouse. Marriage is about being with each other truly, “til death do us part.” Not just ‘til times becomes tough. Not ‘til I find someone better. Now I am fully aware that some marriages become dangerous, become abusive or violent. There are circumstances where a couple needs to part ways and I am in no way judging people who are in that position. I am merely looking at the reasons people enter into marriage to begin with.
If you are entering into marriage with even the thought of divorce down the road, is this truly the right person to marry? When you decide to marry someone it should not be a decision for something temporary, but a true desire to form a permanent bond. Nowadays love and romance has been confused with money and sex. We measure love by how expensive an engagement ring it, how large a spectacle the proposal was, or how extravagant the wedding is. If you are blessed with the money to enjoy a $40,000 proposal, congratulations on your good fortune. If you are wealthy enough to afford a $50,000 wedding without hurting your wallet, good for you. But the fact is, most couples don’t have that kind of money. A wedding that costs that much means taking out loans and going into debt. I know weddings are expensive and I know that it can be tough to find a balance between having a momentous occasion to celebrate the union of marriage, and going overboard. Trust me! My wedding planning is still in very recent memory and my sister is getting married next year so the planning has begun again! But a lovely, memorable wedding centered on the celebration of a marriage does not have to be so expensive! And a memorable proposal certainly does not have to cost so much!
One of my favorite stories of romance is that of my mother’s parents. They were from different cities when they met. They wrote back and forth and only met in person 18 times when my grandfather proposed. He has always been a jokester and to propose to my grandmother he drove her to the city dump, turned around and put a big red clown nose on and asked her to marry him! She said yes and this year they will celebrate 59 years of marriage! My husband proposed to me in a secluded area by the river in a local park. It was simple, peaceful, beautiful, and absolutely perfect.
Love is not shown by money, by expensive gifts and extravagant vacations. True love is showing the love that God gave. True love is about saying to someone, “I love you, respect you, and care about you so much that I will spend my life with you no matter what.” It’s not about a “trial” marriage. Or getting together married so that you can get divorced rather than just break up. It’s not about popping the question because you figure it’s the next step, or because you think it could save you a few bucks financially. Marriage is a commitment with each other. It is a bond between husband, wife, and the Lord, with children one day if the Lord so wills it. It is truly about forever. So despite all the secular media tells us, I simply shake my head and know that I am blessed to have the example of my grandparents, my parents, and my in-laws all before me in loving, lifelong marriages. And I know that I have been blessed by the Lord to have found my husband and share a wonderful life with him. And I am confident that we will remain together through ups and downs with God at the center of our lives, of our love, and of our marriage.