The Case For Marriage (the case against marriage debunked)
I just read a article in The Atlantic entitled, “The Case Against Marriage, What You Lose When You Gain A Spouse”. Before the article it asked me if I wanted to subscribe to “The Family Weekly”. I would chuckle if it wasn’t so sad.
For decades and probably millennia, someone has been trying to redefine family and marriage. Many have come and gone who have tried to convince people that marriage isn’t necessary and is an archaic idea. Mandy Len Cantron isn’t the first and won’t be the last to try to pursuade society to abandon marriage in favor of..., actually, I am not sure what her solution is except to stay single or cohabitation. Although she didn’t quote any statistics about (especially against) cohabitation, which is awful convenient, she did mention that cohabitiation has its draw backs.
Her assertions are the same as many have used before. First, you don’t need to get married to be in a serious relationship. From there she quotes many studies about how people are not getting married like they used to and of course the divorce rates. She goes on to make one of her major points beginning with a quote from Justice Scalia where he said that people get married out of fear of being lonely. That starts the article on a long road of proving that when people get married they actually become more reclusive from society and not inclusive. She quotes many experts who warn that marriage will actually harm your life and leave you outside of your community because you focus your energy on your marriage. All the while she never, not once, quotes anything positive about marriage which belies the reason for the article, she doesn’t believe in marriage, she is not married, she has no plans to get married, so she doesn’t want you to get married. Maybe that is going too far, but one thing is for sure, she wants you to question marriage and gives you plenty of negatives to postulate.
The trouble with her article is she is blaming marriage for human decisions and attitudes. Marriage, the institution, has great value that cannot be overstated. All the statistics about happiness, loneliness, divorce and the like are personal decisions made by people. Less people are getting married and more are waiting longer means what exactly? I should be like other people? The notion that I should make my decisions based on what other people think is laughable. Our society’s problem is that we have lost the concept of what marriage truly is. What God intended it to be. I could write a book on it but let me mention a few things.
First, marriage was a covenant and not a contract. Society created the contract marriage. Easy in, easy out. Covenants in nearly every ancient society were signed in blood. Meaning, once you are in, there is only one way out. Death. Isn’t that in nearly all traditional vows? It wasn’t poetry that put it there. That is the remnant of a covenant ceremony. I know that God allowed divorce, but it wasn’t because marriage was bad or flawed, it was because people’s “hearts were hard”. All of the evils talked about by the author are because of people’s hearts. Marriage and the family that is started by it, is the building block of every society. Read the studies on broken homes and see what you come up with. Brokenness. Covenant makes it very difficult for people who want some green grass, to partake. Although it is not impossible to break. When you break something, it is broken. That is the problem. It is like saying vases aren’t good for holding flowers because sometimes they brake and everything goes all over the place.
Secondly, the major point of the author was people are lonelier in a marriage. On a personal level I have no idea what she is talking about. She should come over for Easter dinner and try to be lonely. She talks about people taking care of one another and ONLY the spouses are charged with taking care of each other when trouble happens. First, if you have great kids like mine, there are 8 plus 5 spouses who would help. Then, if you are in community like this married person is, there are people who line up to help. When my mother died we had people bringing meals nightly for 2 weeks. My point again is marriage isn’t the problem, people are the problem. If people isolate themselves because they are married, they have forgotten their humanity and I would add that they have forgotten their God given and unique purpose for their lives. God wants us to share Him, his love, his care, his mentoring and so much more with those around us. Not just in our house but our neighbors and our community and even our world if we have that platform. The marriage unit is a stronger unit to help others because their are at least 2 people to join forces, (if they don’t have children).
My experience, which counts, is that marriage is the most enriching thing I could have done. My commitment to my wife allowed my relationship to flourish in troubled times. It gave a security to our children. It was the base of outreach to others in our community and it is the grandest tool of personal development in my life. If I could, I would go back in time and change many things. Many of my decisions would be different. Marriage is not one of them. I would choose Lora again and again. It was and is the best decision I have ever made. As my mother in law taught me, marriage is an empty box. People are getting married to receive things out of the box but it is empty. They think it is full and that is their delusion. To have a box that is full you have to put stuff in it. When two people think like that, then the box is full. Overflowing really. Then, there is plenty to receive and even to give others. That’s a good word.