A Low Expectation of Marriage

The people of our land have a very low opinion of marriage.   After the initial and early joys of dating and early marriage, those high realities are replaced with normalcy and hectic schedules.  For too many people, marriage then becomes a chore and another enslaving chain of normal life.

An Institution

Some speak about marriage as an old institution that we can do without.  Just as a business may have begun for good reasons and done something excellent, over time it becomes old.  New technology and ways have developed.  The culture has changed.  The business that will not change and adjust becomes an institution – going through the motions, but no longer fitting the needs of modern people.  Marriage is viewed to be like an old business which is still around but whose usefulness has long passed except as a political tool.

The Contract

Another popular misunderstanding conceives of marriage as a legal contract between two people – a business arrangement.  A man and a woman decide that they love each other and that their course in life should take the same path, at least for a while.   Like any contract, a marriage contract can be dissolved when the couple no longer finds the contract mutually beneficial.  Then the couple can close one contract and establish another contract according to their desires as long as the contract is mutually beneficial.

A Governmental License

Because governments license marriage, regulates who can officiate at a legal marriage, regulates divorce, and collects various taxes and fees, some people view marriage as a governmental practice.   The government has taken a larger place in marriage than it had, and so people assume that marriage is a state driven and controlled social function and nothing more.

Strong Emotions

Those who place a slightly higher value on marriage but still fall short of God’s purposes, speak of marriage as love.  This type of man and woman detest the idea of their marriage as being an institution, a business arrangement, or a governmentally driven ordinance.  They want to get married because of their love – a good reason to get married.  Yet, as we observe their relationship, and watch the “flow” of their marriage, a world driven value becomes clear.  To them marriage is an emotion driven value.  Once the high, the exciting, the mountain top emotions of their dating, the development of their love, and that special day begin slip into recent history, their desire for the marriage also begins to slip.  Most couples will have their relationship begin with mountain top experiences and exciting emotions of love and commitment.  That is the way their relationship should develop.  But we cannot base the importance of a man or woman’s relationship, their marriage, and their life upon changing emotions or the decrease in enthusiasm for the relationship.  Every relationship faces challenges but God does not want those to strangle a relationship and cut off their “love-oxygen.”  Still, many who have this emotion driven idea of marriage may conclude that once the high point is past that they need a new relationship to reclaim the mountain top experiences of their early relationship.

While you may be able to think of other ways in which the world sucks the spiritual truth from marriage, we will consider only one more.

A Piece of Paper

Some people have stayed away from marriage because it is “only a piece of paper” and we do not need a piece of paper to justify and substantiate our love.  While this idea in part flows from a dislike of government and a correct realization that government and paper do not a marriage make, still the attitude shows a weak idea of marriage.  As marvelous as a young couple’s high energy emotions are, and as fantastic as their initial marriage energy is, we cannot base the beauty of our marriage and our spouse on those.  Human self-centered nature and the frantic pace of our lives will tear down those mountain top emotions.  Too often when the mountain tops have given way to the day to day normalcy of life, many consider the marriage to be dying.  As the emotions and energy become more and more sluggish, people will think that it is time to move to a new relationship with the hopes of reliving those marvelous mountain top events.

All of the preceding low expectations warp and devalue what God established in marriage and which the Lord speaks about in the Bible.  The Bible has a much higher view of marriage than does the world, and the “normal ways” of living out our lives.

Next we will examine God’s high view of marriage in two segments.


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