some questions about marriage…

for the record (probably vinyl), these are going to be questions i’m asking, but not answering.  at least not today.  i’m looking to pick your brains.  i’m not even sure what that phrase is suppose to mean.  pick your brains?  like a zombie?  whatever.

i want your thoughts on some marriage stuff that has been coming up more and more in conversations i keep running into.

answer any or all of them.  i don’t care if you’ve never been kissed or been married for 50 years or divorced and bitter, i want it all.  my motives will revealed in due time.  probably.

here we go…

1.  is marriage as valuable today as it once was?  why or why not?  if not, should it be?

2.  is marriage really just a piece of paper?  why or why not?

3.  do you think marriage vows are taken seriously anymore?  why or why not?

4.  why is divorce so common?

5.  is marriage about your personal happiness?  why or why not?

6.  what do you consider grounds for divorce?

feel free to add a number 7 or 8 or infinity plus one.

okay.  let the opinions fly.  agree or disagree with what others are saying.  i will be watching and may interject or add a thought or ask another question as we go.

have at it.

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16 comments on “some questions about marriage…

  1. Bushlings says:

    1. is marriage as valuable today as it once was? why or why not? if not, should it be?
    MY ANSWER: It’s more valuable because it’s certainly more rare. And if it works it’s PLATINUM.

    2. is marriage really just a piece of paper? why or why not?
    MY ANSWER: It’s more than a piece of paper. After spending some time around divorce court you get an idea why.

    3. do you think marriage vows are taken seriously anymore? why or why not?
    MY ANSWER: They are by some. They aren’t by others. The first set should be married. The second set belong in the jungle with the rest of us.

    4. why is divorce so common?
    MY ANSWER: Because it is so easy to enter something uncommitted. We need to start taking lessons in commitment.

    5. is marriage about your personal happiness? why or why not?
    MY ANSWER: Marriage is more practical than that. It isn’t a happiness machine. It is the human continuation machine. And the security system. And the friendship generator. And the love pill. None of these things really amount to happiness – happiness is a personal and subjective thing found not in another person but in yourself.

    6. what do you consider grounds for divorce?
    MY ANSWER: Infidelity. Abandonment. Betrayal. Total incompatibility. The morning you make up and realize you made a terrible mistake you cannot live with.

  2. 1. Marriage is as valuable today as ever; but it is not as valued by the general populace. Marriage and family are the central building block of human society. When they fall apart, the society falls apart eventually.

    2. A marriage license is something the government issues to legally acknowledge that a marriage exists. But marriage was not created by governments. Marriage dates back to the Garden of Eden, predating the existence of human governments, and is divinely ordained as a foundational structure for human relationships.

    3. Many people don’t take marriage vows seriously anymore because the culture around them has rejected absolute morality in favor of doing what you individually want, and has taught people not to expect them to last. Without moral absolutes, people do what’s expedient at the time, and marriage vows are more of a tradition people feel good about than something with real consequences behind them. Without a reverence for God in the culture and individuals, the idea that you’ve just sworn an oath with God as witness doesn’t carry much weight.

    4. Divorce is common because people believe it’s an option, marriage is hard, and people are selfish. It’s also common because people mistake sexual attraction and/or emotional attachment for love. So when those feelings fade, which they always do in every relationship at some point, there’s nothing of substance to hold them together. There’s no stigma against divorce in the culture anymore, so it *looks* like a very easy out.

    5. No, marriage is not about your personal happiness. If you’re looking to marriage as your source of happiness, you’ll be gravely disappointed. Every marriage has unhappy days, whether you’re unhappy with yourself, with your spouse, or with outside factors. Loving someone is about wanting what’s best for them, which is not always going to be what makes them happy. Marriage is about a commitment to choose to love a person in a way that seeks their best interest, not yours.

    6. Grounds for divorce are abuse and infidelity. That’s not to say that every situation in which there is abuse or infidelity should end in divorce. In the case of abuse, physical separation is essential for safety, but divorce is more a matter of determining whether the spouse is willing and able to change and with the help of God become a safe person to be around. And infidelity is a difficult situation to find restoration in, but not always impossible. Whether you *should* divorce in each case is a decision to be made between you and God, but each is Biblically acceptable grounds for divorce.

  3. Claire says:

    Off the top of my head, these are my answers:

    1. is marriage as valuable today as it once was? why or why not? if not, should it be?

    Yes. However I feel it’s important to note that I think marriage is still valuable on an individual basis as opposed to a cultural or societal one. It really depends on who you’re talking to. (A lot of people these days seem to be more interested in weddings as opposed to the reality that comes after the big party.)

    Marriage as *the concept of staying in a committed monogamous relationship* is valuable to people. But I think it depends on who you are talking to. Different people value different things.

    2. is marriage really just a piece of paper? why or why not?
    A marriage is what the people in the union choose to make it.

    3. do you think marriage vows are taken seriously anymore? why or why not?
    See my answer to #1. It’s a matter of individual morals and ethics.

    4. why is divorce so common?
    People get married for the wrong reasons, or have unrealistic expectations regarding what it takes to sustain a marriage. Or a combination of the two.

    I’m single. But even I know that a good marriage requires work. Furthermore, I also know that I have no intention of marrying someone that I’m not compatible with. However I’ve heard of others forsaking compatibility for superficial factors such as physical attraction or money.

    Meanwhile I don’t care how handsome a man is. If there’s no mutual respect, there’s no point in us being in a relationship, let alone tying the knot.

    5. is marriage about your personal happiness? why or why not?
    Yes, and no. People deserve to be happy in their relationships. However not to the point of selfishness. I believe that a huge part of marriage involves selflessness, or the ability to put one’s spouse first.

    6. what do you consider grounds for divorce?
    Lying, infidelity, or conducting illegal activities on a continuous basis—after being confronted and reconciling, etc. Secretly being involved in activities that place one’s spouse and/or children in danger. Abuse. Gross incompatibility.

    That last one sounds odd. However I’ve known more than one set of people who should not be married yet remain wed. One or both partners refuses to improve–either by making an effort to change, or seeking informal/formal counseling (either from wise friends or an actual therapist). Instead, one or both parties remain committed…To making each other miserable.
    That last one sounds odd. However I’ve known more than one set of people who should not be married yet remain wed. One or both partners refuses to improve–either by making an effort to change, or seeking informal/formal counseling (either from wise friends or an actual therapist). Instead, one or both parties remain committed…To making each other miserable.

  4. Amy says:

    1. is marriage as valuable today as it once was? why or why not? if not, should it be? Try getting into the ER to see someone who isn’t your blood relative or who you aren’t married to. As long as there are these types of laws/regulations, then marriage is important. It is what you make it.

    2. is marriage really just a piece of paper? why or why not? According to “the law” it is, but you have to think it is more than that if you want it to mean anything. Is a birth certificate just a piece of paper? Yes, but try getting a drivers license or passport without one (which are also just pieces of paper).

    3. do you think marriage vows are taken seriously anymore? why or why not? Depends on the situation, but I think that the majority of the people who get married do mean their vows at the moment they take them. It just becomes harder to live those vows year after year. I think this question is directly related to question #4.

    4. why is divorce so common? Because people don’t realize that marriage is work. There is no “and they lived happily ever after.” It’s messy and hard and you have to “show up” every day and not just phone it in. I think that a lot of people don’t realize this when they take their vows and that just makes things that much harder when the shiz gets real.

    5. is marriage about your personal happiness? why or why not? You should be happy being married, but you shouldn’t depend on your marriage to make you happy. People are so hung up on things making them happy. I don’t want to be at a constant level of happy, it seems kind of manic and needy. I’d rather have long stretches of “content” or “worry-free”. “Happy” should be earned, not just expected.

    6. what do you consider grounds for divorce? Infidelity in every sense of the word – cheating, yes, but also lying. My marriage almost ended because of my husband’s alcoholism, not because of the physical aspect of what it did to him but because he would lie to me about how much he was drinking and how he was paying for it. Lying indicates lack of trust and if you can’t trust your spouse then you shouldn’t be married to them.

    Very interesting questions!

  5. JBen says:

    ooh, great questions! (my answers will be knee jerk, un-thought about answers. I am totally willing to be wrong.

    1) Yes but I could care less what the larger culture does with it. In the church it is a powerful way we embody the gospel to one another. Also, sex is always the marriage act in scripture. So sex and marriage are joined at the hip, er, crotch.

    2) No. See answer #1

    3) I think when people say them they are very serious. I think we need to invest more energy in helping people live those vows out when things get difficult.

    4) See answer #5

    5) No. Marriage is about committing yourself to another person and laying down your life for them in order to create something beautiful. I think there is supposed to be great joy in that but it can be very difficult.

    6) Serial adultery or abuse.

    That is all.

    • Riggs says:

      i agree with this guy.

      also, i hate divorce because of what it did to my family when our parent’s got a divorce when we were little kids… i think that makes me more careful (maybe).

  6. Jana says:

    Nearly 32 years single and mostly disillusioned with the few relationships I have experienced, I still think marriage is incredibly important.

    1. Marriage is still important…just look at the general fear surrounding commitment and the battle waged over same-sex marriage freedoms. However, I think marriage as a long-term commitment is getting less respect and honor and there is a general sense of disillusionment with marriage as an institution.

    2. Marriage should be far more than just a piece of paper, but I think the culture at large is less convinced of that.

    3. Marriage vows taken seriously? yes and no. I think feelings are taken more seriously than vows.

    4. Divorce is so common because a) people fail and b) it’s more socially acceptable to be divorced than it has been in the past.

    5. Yes, marriage is partially about your personal happiness. People are created to be happiest when in community, so a long term, committed community is seen to add to personal happiness. However, it cannot only about being made happy all the time; if a commitment takes place based on the assumption that being made happy is the most important tenet of that contract, it will fail. Marriage involves a sacrificial love relationship that is intended to be focused not on personal happiness as its end, but on the best for the other person and on service to God as a stronger family unit.

    6. abuse and unrepentant unfaithfulness (heart-wise or actual adultery).

  7. 1. Marriage will always be as valuable as it once was. Now do people “value” it like it once was?…that’s a different story.

    2. Absolutely not. If you think it’s just a piece of paper, you really should never get married. Why would you ever come into a binding agreement that you think is “just a piece of paper”. I know people who value a business contract more than a marriage license. It baffles me.

    3. Many people don’t understand the vows they make in the first place. Their vows are so contingent on the perfect scenario. It is all about expectations. I’ll make this vow to you…if this, and this and this. They may not realize it at the time, but later down the line you might here “But I never thought it was going to be like this”

    4. Many people don’t understand what a covenant is. Or love for that matter. If you think that love is fickle and marriage is based on love, then divorce becomes ubiquitous.

    5. Absolutely not. Can you be happy in married? Absolutely. But if you ever make any kind of agreement based on feelings, it will never last you longer than your attention span. And with so many things vying for our attention spans these days, that length is getting cut shorter and shorter.

    Marriage is about commitment. It isn’t something that should be approached lightly. Not to keep coming back to it, but some people give more thought to who they would ask to be their business partner than who they ask to be their partner for life.

    You have to understand that there will be both good AND bad times. If you run at the first sigh of unhappiness or unmet expectations, you have no business getting married (or going into business with someone for that matter).

    6. That’s a tough one. I could go the Bible route but honestly I think it depends on the situation. What I definitely DON’T consider grounds for divorce is “falling out of love” with someone.

    Infidelity, domestic violence, emotional abuse…these are all things I can understand. Everything else is just lazy.

    *Disclaimer: I was divorced 5 years ago and I’m about to get married again in October. I have PLENTY of opinions on this subject. 🙂

  8. corrie phillips says:

    1. is marriage as valuable today as it once was? why or why not? if not, should it be?
    Modern living has made the teamwork of a man and a woman less necessary. I probably think of this because as a preteen I read “Love Comes Softly” – a book about a pioneer couple who married each other because their spouses had died and they literally couldn’t live without each other. (Twilight had not been written yet. We did what we could.) But really, now Pa can work all day in the fields and then feed the kids Taco Bell. Ma can simply adjust the thermostat to heat the house. I think historically there were more real, daily, tangible ways that married people knew each other’s value.
    2. is marriage really just a piece of paper? why or why not?
    Well, maybe it was because I read “Love Comes Softly” as a preteen, but I think I felt our souls join when we got married.

    3. do you think marriage vows are taken seriously anymore? why or why not?
    I look back after 17 years of marriage and realize I had no idea if I even had what it takes to keep the promises I made. The one I remember is that we said “And forgive you when you offend me”. We have done that one the most.

    4. why is divorce so common?
    I have no idea. It seems like it involves so much moving and packing. You’ve got to go get boxes… And wash all the clothes, and take stuff to Goodwill… Sure, Sound of Music and the Best of the UFC are no-brainers, but how do you split up the rest of the DVD’s? It just seems really hard.

    5. is marriage about your personal happiness? why or why not?
    Um, marriage isn’t about personal anything. I don’t even get the bathroom to myself.

    6. what do you consider grounds for divorce?
    I don’t know. The above responses are very good. Maybe I don’t know about the one about “waking up and realizing you’ve made a mistake you can’t live with.” (I really liked everything that person said, though). I think we’ve all made mistakes we think we can’t live with, and then we just have to. And then one day it’s okay. Not to get so heavy here, but my dad killed himself 16 years ago, and I know about having to keep living with regret you don’t think you can live with. Sometimes un-making mistakes just isn’t one of your options. And that’s how you learn that God can redeem ANYTHING. Really anything. So I would say you have to keep going in a marriage that you think is a mistake. And as far as “compatible,” men and women just aren’t. Better get over that one.

  9. Regan says:

    I’m not married, nor have I ever been married, though I am seriously considering it at this moment. But here are my opinions of very little worth.

    1. is marriage as valuable today as it once was? why or why not? if not, should it be?
    No, it’s not as valuable to people. Mainly because women can pretty much get by without a husband in our culture. So they don’t try to keep their marriages together if they are unhappy with them.
    2. is marriage really just a piece of paper? why or why not?
    No, it’s not. Marriage is a holy union. God takes it seriously even if we don’t.
    3. do you think marriage vows are taken seriously anymore? why or why not?
    No, not by most people. See answer #1. People expect to feel like they’re in love all the time, and if they don’t then they bail.
    4. why is divorce so common?
    Maybe people give up too easily? They are not willing to try a little bit harder to work out their issues? I really don’t know.
    5. is marriage about your personal happiness? why or why not?
    I would say in a way yes. I would hope you would be happy to spend time with someone you love. But it’s also about trying to make that other person happy and pleasing him/her. But as my sister warns me, sometimes it’s about being sad together or mad together.
    6. what do you consider grounds for divorce?
    Adultery, abandonment, and physical abuse.

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  11. Linda says:

    My thought about marriage lately (rather my question) is about common law marriage. I see it all the time and have friends who have awesome families, yet never tied the knot officially. I wonder what that’s all about and what it is in God’s eyes since they are awesome people who are committed to family and all that jazz, and look just like me and my family, yet don’t have a piece of paper to say that they are married… Lot’s of places in the world have different ways of defining marriage. Is our American way of being legally married the right way? Is love and commitment the right way? I’ve been thinking about this more and more as I have several friends with amazing, moral, safe, committed family lives, but never “got married”.

    • A little delicate, since you have friends in mind when asking it, but I’ll give it my personal opinion.

      Common law marriage is not marriage. It was a legal structure created to provide some measure of property rights protection for people who lived together long-term, in the event of a breakup. There’s no official life-time commitment involved.

      So it breaks down like this for me:

      1. Sex outside of marriage is wrong.
      2. Living together is two people having sex outside marriage who combine it with a joint living arrangement.
      3. Common-law marriage is two people who do living together for a long time without splitting up.
      4. Therefore, neither living together nor common-law marriage are marriage in God’s eyes.

      Your friends may be very nice people who are very dedicate to each other and their children; I don’t doubt that. But it is still a sin carried out over a long period of time, unless they make the step of making an official life-time commitment out of it. Giving a long-term sexual sin a legal definition doesn’t make it the equivalent of marriage in God’s eyes. (Which is also a good sentence to articulate my view of homosexual marriage, come to think of it.)

  12. Linda says:

    I don’t necessarily disagree with you, but I have been really thinking about this. Especially since American marriage is not the only way in the world. I know of an African man (living in the states) who came home from a business trip with a new wife. His pastor was confused. The man said, I had sex with her, she’s my wife. This was an interesting cultural situation where the American pastor said, “hey, stop having sex, your not married.” but a local African pastor said, “No, he’s married.” So I guess I am really thinking about the definition of marriage and how that plays out all over the world including my neighborhood.

    I have learned that much of my thinking has been in boxes and rows that were created by my society and my “Christian” culture and not necessarily by the Bible or the Holy Spirit.

    I haven’t landed yet anywhere different than what you mentioned above. I do agree that sex outside of marriage is sin, etc. I just have to really keep thinking about it more. Did Adam and Eve get married before they had sex? What do other cultures say about marriage? Does it have to be a legal paper? Is it written on our hearts? Like I said, I haven’t landed yet.

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