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The marriage ideal

The ideal of the sacred institution of marriage as promoted by the Christian church does not seem to fit into our evolving individualistic society.

The society in which we live is about the “Almighty I”, marriage on the other hand is about the “humble we”.

Our society preaches that there is no one better than “me”, survival of the fittest, and we often hear people talking about me, myself and I.

We continue to drift further and further away from this precious community that the more mature among us speak of with reverence and pride. Instead the educated and the intelligent in our midst have created a virtual community where we meet, date, flirt, cheat, order, shop, bank, reacquaint and chat.

The time is here when we can sit at our computers or use our smart phones to chat with persons in Sao Paulo, Pretoria or even Liberia. Yet as global as we have become, we are in essence very individualistic and self centred in this global village.

Even when we assist charities, for many it really isn’t about the charities, it is about us, the individual. I am not saying we don’t care, but it usually comes down to “I supported”, “I did”, “I patronised”, “I helped”.

Our society is about self.

Christian marriage promotes the selfless joining of two lives spiritually, which in turn is manifested physically in the way they live. But the reality is that one of those two individuals is in control. The person bringing the most to the relationship or possessing what is most desired is usually the person wielding control — whether they intend to or not.

From very young we are taught to satisfy our needs and the older we get the more restrictions are lifted and the stronger this urge becomes.

Our world is such where the more dominant never takes “the last lash”. Everybody is now standing up for their rights.

While I am not an advocate of divorce, I however believe that if you are in an abusive relationship you need to get out, and fast too, because it might cost you your life. Some die physically, but even more die mentally as their inner person is continually stabbed and shot and raped and kicked and punched and denigrated.

It seems almost impossible not to bring that individualistic attitude to marriage because it is the milk we have been nursed on, the game we’ve played and the craft we have perfected and are qualified to perform.

Our society promotes, encourages and endorses cheating. It is the escape route from the miserable wife; it is the remedy for infrequent sex and a non-performing partner, the solution for financial woes. It is that sweet heaven that leads straight to hell.

When our needs are not met in marriage the dangerous “safety-net” of society is there to fall back on; and our actions demonstrate clearly the sentiments of Li’l Rick — ahhhhhhhh a like maself.

Marriage is about love, respect and trust. But we are taught to love ourselves, respect those who respect us because respect is earned not given — and to trust no one. And depending on your social status or cultural background there are also a list of certain people you are not to trust.

Were it not for the grace of God, marriage could and would not survive or rather fit into our evolving liberal lifestyle. And ironically, in our society of individual rights and freedoms marriage is now the latest bastard child. The Christian ideal of marriage in many regards falls outside the unity and bond of new-age thinking.

Same sex unions, civil unions, in vitro fertilisation and marriages of convenience are just the tip of the iceberg of emerging events which threaten to sink the age old institution of marriage.

Because of how we now live, marriage is no longer a life-long commitment. It has been reduced to something to be tried and as Beres Hammond so eloquently puts it “if your heart’s not in it, let it go, stop wasting time don’t fool yourself, it won’t grow”.

When you really think about it, the ideal of marriage built on true love makes the Christian seem stupid holding on to the principle that love bears all things, believes all things, hopes all things, love never ends.

Modern society and Christian marriage seem more likely to collide than to coexist.

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