Written by Ron Carlson
I know firsthand of a handsome young man just this side of maturity who recently leased a new luxury car with a sticker price twice his annual income. Cruising down the freeway a few days later, he caught the eye of some teenage girls who fancied his polished machine.
They stopped. They talked. They flirted as young folks often do. The pretty girl from the backseat with the “spoiled” tee shirt ditched her companions and joined his carriage. Later that week they fell in love and last weekend he took her home to meet his folks, who wondered more about the car than their daughter-to-be.
They are smitten and planning a big church wedding in the spring. Some of their peers wonder if it will last. Some have expressed concern that his history with women suggests he might be more interested in leasing a wife than owning one. They are worried that in a few months he might want to trade her in for a new model. They are concerned what might happen when the chrome wears off her grill.
“Don’t worry about it,” a former victim told a concerned citizen, “he’ ll bolt before they can fit the tux.”
Not every marriage is made in heaven. Some are thrown together in the parking lot of the local Sonic Drive-in, and that can lead to indigestion. Not every marriage is founded and grounded on self-sacrificial love and commitment. Some marriages result from convenience, default, or lust.
There are lots of reasons to get married, but few of them proper. Not every couple who ties the knot should. Some would fair better left undone.
I take every opportunity to remind young folks that an unfit mate is worse than no mate. You are better off single than coupled to a jerk. Not everything that glitters is gold.
We pay a hefty price living in a tinsel culture. We have ransomed authenticity. We have traded substance for superficiality. We value pretense over integrity. We are more concerned with show than go. We’ve lost the ability to discern right from wrong. We are more interested in delighting our sensual appetites than providing for our long-term stability. We are enamored with carnal pleasures at the expense of covenant responsibilities.
We are often and easily persuaded that it really is “all about me.” We have sold our soul for a bag of trinkets. We’ve come up empty. The general dysfunctionality crippling our culture specifically attacks things sacred, most notably the institution of marriage. The bedrock social arrangement of every viable culture in history is currently being discounted to bargain basement prices. And we’re getting what we pay for.
When we value things over people and elevate personal needs over communal interests, we have created a climate ripe for failure. Successful relationships require skills and devotions alien to a materialistic worldview. Marriage demands compromise, resolution, peaceable cooperation, and old-fashioned Biblically-defined love. Enduring and blissful arrangements struggle to develop under current conditions. Two can become one only when both abandon the “me-first” mentality (as well as “womentality”).
We meet and mate in a unique time. The spirit of the age gets more play than the Spirit of God. Marriage has been stripped of its sacred content. Authority has been transferred to the individual. Everyone does what is right and wrong in the sight of their own eyes. Call it phony matrimony.
Children of a secular god lack proper interest in others. They are ill -trained to share a bed, a dream, or a life. They prove to be uncomfortable in a situation calling for commitment. They are typically users, needy and demanding, used to getting their own way. Living with one can be like sandpapering a bobcat’s behind in a phone booth.
Marriage requires mutual respect, but we seem to live in a culture where respect is frequently demanded but seldom extended. We are in it for ourselves.
Happiness is best earned. Contrary to popular public opinion, my happiness is neither an inalienable right or guaranteed. It’s not fair to expect someone else to fold my underwear. I may have to be happy with wrinkles.
I wouldn’t be surprised if the number one excuse in America today for divorce is: “I’m not happy.” We call it “irreconcilable differences,” but the fact remains it’s all about individual happiness, the true enemy of the state.
Amazing what sins we commit in the pursuit of happiness. We can justify most anything if duped into believing personal happiness is job number one. We can treat people like trash if convinced they are a deterrent to my “good life.” We can trash our mate without regret if somehow persuaded they are an impediment to personal development.
The organized effort to legalize homosexual unions should not surprise us; we almost always get what’s coming to us. Symptomatic of our distaste for divine authority, we have tuned the asylum over to the inmates. Culture has given personal preference and taste a free reign. “If it feels good, do it!”
I expect that we will soon witness similar thrusts from folks who want to marry children, siblings, animals, trees, and scarecrows. And why not, if there is no objective absolute authority looking out for society’s best interests? If “doing our own thing” surfaces as the primary criterion for relationships, then what is proper and improper becomes a slave of personal whim.
I suggest you get ready for anyone and anything your daughter might bring home. Remember, in today’s moral marketplace, tolerance is king. Who are you to judge another’s pursuit of happiness?
“When the cat is away, the mice with play,” is another way of saying that when God is dismissed from culture, personal tyranny will triumph.
“In the beginning, God made them male and female, and He united the two as one flesh.” Marriage is a God-deal, and to remove it from under His authority is to invite nothing but trouble. Don’t believe me? Just look around. The carnage doesn’t lie.