Megan McCardle: Why Marriage?

Posted by Kendall Harmon

Well, it's outre, I know, but I sort of believe in marriage. I believe in the act of committing for life to another person. I believe in the power and the joy of facing your life as a team. I think you can have a very happy, fulfilled life without being married, and before I met Peter, I was preparing to. But my life is even happier and more fulfilled with him. So naturally, I want to start building that life as Team McSudelman.

There's a reason for the social role of "spouse". And there's a reason for all of the legal and social systems that have grown up around that role: they reinforce and strengthen it. It would be much harder to do many of the things we want and intend to do, for and with each other, without that useless little piece of paper.

But more to the point, once we'd decided to do what spouses do, why wouldn't we, well, become official spouses?

Read it all.

Filed under: * Culture-WatchMarriage & Family

Posted July 28, 2009 at 11:54 am [Printer Friendly] [Print w/ comments]

1. Helen wrote:

Interesting how the comments immediately move into a discussion of divorce.  Young people - and maybe not so young - are questioning the value of life-long vows if people are not going to keep them.  There seems to be a longing for commitment.  Perhaps the pendulum will swing back.  Let’s hope and pray so.

What’s missing from these comments is the “third party” involved in the marriage vows - God!  God is the one who forges the covenant, and God is the one who keeps it together.  Marriage is not just a piece of paper, not just a contract.  It also cannot be founded on the faithfulness of two imperfect people - it needs to be founded on the faithfulness of God, and supported by the church.  I could go on and on, but I’ll leave it there.

July 28, 12:06 pm | [comment link]
2. Chris wrote:

reading the comments at the end is instructive, not one mention of marriage as proscribed by scripture….

July 28, 12:11 pm | [comment link]
3. Tegularius wrote:

marriage as proscribed by scripture

I do not think that word means what you think it means.

July 28, 1:06 pm | [comment link]
4. Chris wrote:

yes sorry, been a little jumpy today: prescribed by scripture.

July 28, 1:19 pm | [comment link]
5. teatime wrote:

Helen, I’m one of the jaded younger ones and, frankly, I question the notion that marriage, as defined by the West (one man, one woman), is prescribed by Scripture as firmly as the Church insists. I’ve read the passages and remain unconvinced; part of me believes that it was actually society that used the Scriptures to prescribe marriage for its social purposes, not the other way around. If you think about it, we younger folk need to feel that way because if we truly believed that marriage showcases Christ’s love for His Church, yikes! We wouldn’t understand that love because it’s rarely modeled for us.

Whereas in other cultures and in past centuries, marriage was the building block that bonded families and communities, it has now become an isolating factor in our society. The tiny nuclear family is most often self-absorbed and insulates itself from the rabble outside. Marriage nowadays can be compared to a corporate merger, uniting two people with their buying power, their earning potential, and their “stuff.” So, it’s no surprise that homosexuals want part of that action, too. Have you seen the USA Network’s “character” snippets? One features a homosexual advocating sex-same sex marriage “because gay people deserve wedding gifts, too.” Sorry, but WTH?!

I have not married and probably never will. I would not trust marriage until the government gets out of it entirely and no longer regulates marriage licenses, provides civil services, and presides over divorces. Until marriage once again becomes solely a private, family, religious matter and not a government tool or big business. Marriage has lost its way.

July 28, 1:53 pm | [comment link]
6. Helen wrote:

Dear #5, Teatime:
You would be interested in Alan Storkey’s book “Marriage.”  Sorry, don’t have access to it right now, and can’t remember the subtitle.  He is a sociologist who has traced marriage through the centuries and across cultures, and contends that actual Christian marriage has NEVER been tried.

There’s something special about being involved in a life-long covenant with God at the center - worth all the hard work, in my opinion.

July 28, 3:21 pm | [comment link]
7. Larry Morse wrote:

Why marriage? Because it is a discipline, just as a religion is a discipline. To fail to marry but to cohabit is to deny the discipline, to pretend that one can avoid all the unpleasantness that a discipline demands if it is to do its work.
    I agree entirely with you that government should be entirely out of the marriage business, and for this reason I continue to advocate two separate courses. 1. A couple goes to a JP and there receives the license that grants to them jointly the protections that the government has it in its power to grant.  This is not marriage, but a partnership. 2. The couple goes to a religious institution and is there married because marriage properly so called is a spiritual matter, one t hat the government cannot touch for at least constitutional reasons. The government can make partnerships; the church alone can make transformations. Larry

July 28, 8:49 pm | [comment link]
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