Almost a year ago (October 14th, 2007, to be exact) I wrote an article titled "WHAT IS MARRIAGE???" www.gather.com/viewArticle.jsp?articleId=281474977146935
This was back when, for some strange and now unknown reason, I wrote everything in capital letters.
In this article I questioned the "institution" known as marriage and asked what the difference was between two people who get married and spend the rest of their lives together and two people who just "live together," yet still spend the rest of their lives together.
I received a very limited yet varied amount of responses to this article. Some said that a legal marriage was better because of the benefits that came with it. Others said that people should get married because God created marriage and He demands it. Still others said that, because a marriage license is a legal contract, two people are more likely to stay together than they would if they were not legally married.
The original article only received 17 comments, so there wasn't a lot there for me to read and consider.
Well, here it is, almost a year later. And, since then, I have read numerous books about the pros and cons of marriage as opposed to "living together" (and vice versa). Yet, I am not any closer to resolving my confusion over this issue than I was a year ago.
Knowing what I know about the actual history of marriage, I still cannot see how a marriage license makes any difference. I personally have friends who got married and then divorced less than two or three years later. However, I also personally have friends who have been "living together" for over 20 years or more.
Even the Bible, though it mentions marriage many, many times, does not specifically describe in detail what a "marriage" actually consists of (other than two people who remain together their entire lives). And, yes, I know, the Bible says that those two people should be a man and a woman.
Perhaps, I will never have a proper answer to any of this. Because, as far as the Bible goes, a binding marriage contract betwen a man and a woman seems to have had more to do with "consumation" than it had to do with standing before a minister or J.P., signing a piece of paper, and having rice thrown at you.
In biblical terms, once a man had "known" a woman, she was forever thereafter his wife. Well, in theory anyway. This is not to say that someÂ men weren't always like some men are today. Ready to bang and run without so much as a "see ya later."
But, something held marriages together two or three thousand years ago, and it wasn't a notarized piece of paper. And it wasn't the idea that God would be mad at you or you'd be excommunicated from the church either. Lots of people have stayed married to each other for their entire lives who didn't go to church, or believe in God or the Bible, or who didn't see their marriage license as the thing that held them together.
Oh well, maybe this is just another pointless article...................