Everywhere I look I see the battle over the definition of marriage being waged in the arena of public opinion. It makes me think to myself...silly politicians, don’t they know that marriage doesn’t belong to a government, it belongs to the soul.
I recently attended a wedding of a friend of mine in a Catholic church. Not being Catholic myself I didn’t know what to expect. (Thankfully, they skipped the full mass, my growling stomach was very grateful and that communion was starting to look pretty tasty.) I began paying close attention to the priest during the ceremony as he was painting a picture of marriage that I had never seen before. He was using sweeping strokes of selflessness and maturity, fidelity and kindness...wow, was he talking about marriage? Being a child of much divorced parents and a divorcee myself I had never seen the mystical land of marriage that he spoke of in his introduction to the vows. I half expected to see a unicorn run by but nonetheless, I was deeply moved by his description of what this thing called marriage can and should be, a vocation that not all should enter into, a special calling for those who receive it.
A marriage is precious, it's a uniting of two souls together to which there won’t be any separation except death itself. It's a union that has the ability to refine both people as they selflessly give to one another, laying aside their own desires as they honor the other. Together they begin to build a life and family of their own as evidence to the community around them of their love and commitment to one another.
It made me wonder if I had ever even been married to my first husband at all. This description was about as close to our relationship as taking an exotic vacation is to being kidnapped and held in a Columbian prison with rats as big as cats...well you get the picture. I personally was a huge offender of all the things a marriage should be, I was selfish, immature, stubborn and unreasonable and so was my ex husband. Apparently, we missed the disclaimer on the bottom of the license that explained what we were about to embark upon together. Now everything was starting to make perfect sense, the whole time I thought I just had a bad marriage and maybe the next one will be better, I didn’t realize that it wasn’t really a marriage at all.
That being said as our country struggles with marriage and it's definition, I have only this to say, it's much, much more than just a man and a woman, much more than a license, a priest or a judge. It's something that very few people actually experience regardless of whether they wore the dress and took the vows. Just because you had the wedding doesn’t mean you entered into a marriage. I’ve come to the conclusion that marriage is like an endangered species, there are very few of them still in existence. If we feel the need to really define it maybe it’s time to focus on bringing back the beauty of it, not just trying to protect the definition according to webster's dictionary.
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