Tuesday, May 15, 2012

Have we lost the purpose of marriage?

Marriage is getting a bad rap in this culture. Many people I talk to, especially young people, have a negative opinion of marriage. In light of all the divorces and heartache, many don't see the point of getting married. I mean if the main purpose of marriage is to have sex and enjoy someone's company, in this culture you no longer need a marriage commitment to do that, so why get married?   I truly see their point.

But the problem isn't the institution of marriage, the problem is that our culture has redefined marriage. If I asked you what the purpose of marriage was, what would you say?

  • To raise children in a stable, loving environment
  • To have a partner to enjoy life with
  • To share the burden of finances

All good things. Now, what about divorce? What are the main reasons you hear that people get divorced?

  • Incompatibility
  • Extra-marital affairs
  • Person doesn't fulfill me anymore
  • I fell out of love with him or her
  • We grew apart

Oddly none of those reasons have anything to do with the above reasons for getting married in the first place. There seems to be a disconnect somewhere.

In earlier days, marriage was a permanent contractual union for the purpose of mutual love, procreation, and protection.
Presently that's been defined to a Sexual contract designed for the gratification of the individual parties.

The earlier definition came out of a Christian heritage that understood that God gave marriage to us not just for our own happiness but for the benefit of all humanity. Lifelong monogamous marriage created a social stability in which children could thrive and grow, a healthy loving environment which had ripple effects in the entire community.  Marriage used to be a public institution for the common good. It used to be other centric. But now, it has become s a private arrangement for the satisfaction of the individual. Self-centric.

Now, when the sexual fervor fades and couples have problems, as couples will (We are flawed humans), they split up and move on to the next exciting relationship, living for one romantic experience after another, addicted almost to the pleasure it brings them.

Today, we expect our wife or husband to "make us happy" or "fulfill" us. We expect them to be there for us, listen to us, care, love, protect, defend, honor, agree with us, put up with our faults, never let us down, never be in a bad mood..etc..  really?  Sounds like we expect our spouse to be God. Trouble is, they aren't. They can never live up to our expectations. And we can't live up to theirs. No one can fulfill us. That's what God is for. We used to stay married for commitment's sake and turn to God for those things in which our spouse couldn't provide.  But we've taken God out of our marriages and decided our spouses exist to make us happy. When they don't.. they are out of there!

Don't get me wrong. I love romance! I'm a romance author, after all! But I do think we need to change the way we look at marriage. It isn't about finding your soul mate or being fulfilled or being happy or living in bliss. That makes marriage all about you. Let's make marriage about honoring God and about improving society and about raising good kids. Let's approach it with a "what can I do for you" mentality instead of a "what can you do for me".

When you do that, when you do things God's way, the romance that follows may take you by surprise!


  1. Tues May 15th,
    "Morning, MaryLu."
    Another excellent blog !!! "Have we lost the purpose of marriage ?" That would for the most part, be a resounding "yes" ! Many today are in it with a: "what's in it for ME" attitude. It is definitely no longer about God, honouring His standards, everything He intended marriage to be, and for a healthy family life. Involving God into the equation, would make it -- too self sacrificing, too complex, too spiritually revealing, and just "too tied down with committment", you see ...
    Right ??? NOT !!!!!!!!!!!!
    Years ago, I 'used to think' it was up to my husband to "make me happy". Boy, was I ever wrong !!!My husband definitely did not live up to my expectations, and I most surely did not live up to his !
    Happiness comes from within one self (so I have learned over the years), and, from knowing the "true source" of happiness ... that of our Heavenly Father.
    God needs to be back in the centre of marriages ... back to the basics of His design ... with integrity and honour.
    Excellent post, MaryLu. Thanks for bringing us 'another timely word in due season' !
    Take care, and, God Bless,
    In Him, Brenda Hurley

  2. Agree with Brenda, MaryLu....another excellent piece. Lately I've also been struck by the fact that God also established marriage as a picture of Christ's love for the Church. That thought always sobers me.....He could have used some other analogy but He didn't. This further underscores for me even more His view of marriage and the need to hold that picture He wants me to model in my life as being much more precious. Thanks for the food for thought!

  3. Thanks Ladies! I just wish we could get the world to remember what marriage is truly about instead of this self-gratifying view they have of it today, a view that always ends in disaster.
    Indeed, Pam.. when you think of marriage as a union of Christ and the church, it becomes much more than an institution.. but something holy we should revere.
    Thanks Brenda and Pam for dropping by with your comments!!

  4. If the couple keeps God first in their lives, then their relationship would be blessed. I agree with Pam. There's a reason why God uses that analogy. The world is in love with love, and pleasure of any kind. Its sad when they change marriage from a holy covenant between two people and God, into an animalistic and carnal way of life. We are truly living in the last days.

  5. Last days, indeed. Eszter. I agree. Thanks for dropping by. :-)