Much attention has been focused  on preserving marriage from the threats of redefinition in the gay marriage debate. But the vulnerability of the God-created institution in that controversy exists because the traditional view of marriage has been ailing for a while. It is the chronically sick who are most susceptible to attack from the latest super-virus. The patient of marriage has been decidedly under the weather since divorce laws were weakened.

Now the marriage knot is being further loosened. Marriage vows may become so loose that they are more like a lease than a final sale. According to a report in Town Hall, an idea gaining traction is that marriage could be like a lease arrangement: a temporary commitment, as practiced in the retail industry, to bring the product home and use it for a defined period, say 1-year or 5-years, with an option to buy when the lease is up. But, of course, you would be free at that point to trade in for a better model.

As Kellie Fiedorek writes in her article, "...once we get used to a one-year commitment (which we can abandon once the contract ends), it won't be long until we are looking for even shorter commitment periods - perhaps more like an extended test drive rather than a rental contract to begin with."

Fiedorek laments the apparent demise of marriage, and her conclusion is insightful. It's not that marriage has failed: it is our commitment that has failed. It is we as individuals and married couples who are in need of serious help, not the institution. We cannot stomach the prospect of "for better or for worse". We assume that the problem is a malady in the marriage or the pain that our partner is causing. But the real sickness is in us.

Not that the Bible will let us call it sickness, as if we are the victims of a random virus. It unabashedly uses the word sin. And unfaithfulness is one of the big sins. It's deadly. It may be sobering to consider whether our unfaithfulness (in regard to whatever kinds of commitments we have made) is more damaging to the institution of marriage we say we are defending, than are the attacks of those who have a different vision for what marriage should look like.



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