Marriage is a word that seems to invoke fear in many men and women. With declining marital rate and rising cohabitation couples are seemingly forgetting one very important and vital aspect of marriage: commitment. By definition commitment is ‘to give in trust’. If couples are not seeking a long term commitment they may be in fact saying “I do not trust you”, a frightening realization. A more frightening realization is the rising number of Christian couples who cohabitate, foregoing the traditional route of marriage and opting for a more open policy.
Many defend their anti-marriage stance with ideas such as, it’s only a piece of paper, marriage is slavery, marriage isn’t for me, my parents divorced and I don’t want that for my family. My viewpoint on all that is if it’s only a piece of paper then why not do it? And if you’re worried about impending divorce then you probably aren’t ready for marriage or have a very poor example of what a marriage should be. I have seen couples of all types, those who divorced, those who are struggling and are unsure of what the future holds and couples who may never get married. There is a large spectrum in today’s society, sadly their viewpoints of marriage are simply misguided.
The binding forces and oaths of marriage are so much more than simply a piece of paper. Heck, way back in the day they didn’t even sign a piece of paper. They pledged themselves to one another until ” til death do them part”. Even now we repeat those words in wedding ceremonies, but many couples do not live by example of that promise. These marriages are not the true intention. Marriage is very simple: two become one and live to love and support each other until their winter comes and death brings its kiss.
For the anti-marital couples, what glue binds them in times of hardship? Love? Because sometimes even in marriage love is a choice and not always an easy one; the heart is deceitful above all things (Jeremiah 17:9). Is it finances? Money is the root of all kinds of evil (1 Timothy 6:10). And if money is the main glue to your relationship then you are putting less worth in your significant other and more into their things; where your treasure is there will your heart be also (Matthew 6:21).
Cohabitation is a means of convenience with no commitment. Without a binding glue it makes a relationship disposable. It says “I love you… for now. But if our situation changes then I might not choose to love you anymore”. That does not indicate a requite or unconditional love; to me I understand that as ‘you are replaceable’. What a punch to the gut. With a constant knowledge that your relationship could drastically change at any time trust would be difficult to truly achieve. A relationship without trust is already on the track to failure.
No marriage is perfect, but if you enter into it together with a biblical perspective and Christ at its center your relationship will be fruitful. Promising yourself to a lifelong guarantee ensures that it will be treated with respect and care. No one sided participation, no relying on circumstances to make it work. Marriage truly is beautiful and unlike anything else on earth. More than paper, more than mushy feelings and romance. It is unconditional, Christ like love, respect, honor, dignity. Now who wouldn’t want to be treated like that.