This rant on Reddit presents such a poor view of marriage, claiming it to be a prison, a societal construct meant to entrap and enslave individuals. And as misinformed and shortsighted it may be, to your possible surprise, this is the way most people view marriage nowadays. There seems to be a failure to recognize the benefits and importance of marriage for a person.
First, the assertion that marriage is a societal construct designed to enslave completely ignores the historical and cultural significance of this institution. Marriage has been a fundamental institution across varying cultures and throughout history, serving as a foundation for building families and nurturing social bonds.
It played a vital role in ensuring the continuity of family lineage and the establishment of alliances between different social groups. In many ancient societies, marriages were arranged to strengthen political, economic, and social ties between families and tribes. These unions were not merely about control or subjugation but about fostering cooperation, stability, and mutual support among communities.
On top of that, marriage has been considered a sacred institution in numerous religious and cultural traditions. In Christianity, marriage is viewed as a divine covenant between a man and a woman, symbolizing the union of Christ and the Church. In Hinduism, the Saptapadi, or the seven steps taken by the bride and groom around the sacred fire, represent seven vows and commitments that form the foundation of a strong and lasting marriage. In Islam, marriage is considered a sacred contract (Nikah) that fosters love, mercy, and tranquillity between spouses. These examples demonstrate that marriage is deeply rooted in spiritual and cultural values, rather than some sort of tool for enslavement.
In addition to its historical and religious significance, marriage has also played a key role in shaping cultural practices and customs. Wedding ceremonies and rituals, often rich with symbolism, have been integral to preserving cultural heritage and passing down traditions from one generation to the next. For example, in Chinese culture, the tea ceremony symbolizes respect and gratitude, as the bride and groom serve tea to their elders. In African cultures, the tying of the knot, where the couple's hands are bound together with a cloth, signifies unity and commitment.
And if religion, culture and history is not convincing enough. Then the final card is evidential proof from various studies that have shown the positive impact of marriage on individual well-being and societal stability. Married individuals tend to experience better physical and mental health, enjoy longer life expectancies, and benefit from economic advantages such as shared expenses and tax benefits. Children raised in stable, married households are more likely to perform well academically, exhibit fewer behavioral problems, and develop stronger social skills.
Marriage gets such a bad rep because we have gone too far as a society. What does marriage mean to me? It’s a divine institution that was established in the Garden of Eden during Creation. For me, it represents a precious gift bestowed upon humanity by a benevolent God, even before the Fall. Our Creator's intention for marriage was to fulfill our innate desires and needs for love, intimacy, joy, care, and appreciation.
Scripture begins and concludes with the theme of marriage, with Genesis introducing it as the foremost institution. At the same time, the final chapter of Revelation employs marriage as an allegory to depict the bond between Christ and His followers. Notably, marriage is distinctively placed at the end of the creation week, emphasizing God's ideal for humankind.
But I get it. I understand why, in today's culture, society, and legal systems, the sanctity, beauty, and significance of marriage has been greatly undermined. This is rooted in the pervasive impact of secular sexual ideologies and practices, which erode standards for sexual morality and family relationships. Premarital sex, infidelity, domestic violence, promiscuity, pornography, cohabitation, and the "liberated" lifestyle of numerous married individuals has plunged the institution of marriage into a profound crisis and distorting God's original vision for humanity.
I've noticed that in today's world, people are moving away from traditional values that were created as a means to protect them and focusing more on casual relationships. This shift has affected how we see marriage and its importance. Marriage used to be a special bond between two people, and it's something that should be cherished.
Marriage is about so much more than just living together; it's about love, trust, and respect. When two people get married, they promise to support each other and face life's challenges together. This kind of commitment is rare these days, as many people choose short-term relationships over long-lasting ones.
We should remember that marriage has been important for centuries. It's not just about the couple. It’s about a connection to something bigger, like their faith, family or traditions. Marriage brings people together and builds stronger communities.
The Erosion of Sanctity: How has the shift from traditional courtship to modern dating practices impacted the quality and longevity of relationships? What are the potential drawbacks of cohabitation and how does it affect the foundation of a strong and lasting marriage?
In the past, courtship used to be a period during which a couple would get to know each other, with the intention of eventually entering into marriage. As Jane Austen wrote,
"A lady's imagination is very rapid; it jumps from admiration to love, from love to matrimony in a moment."
Courtship was essentially meant to lay the foundation for a strong and lasting marriage by fostering trust, understanding, and a deep emotional connection. It was a time-honoured tradition and couples would invest time and energy into getting to know each other's character, values, and aspirations. It was about discovering the other person's essence and building an understanding that transcended physical attraction. Testing for lifelong compatibility is the way I like to put it.
Unfortunately, courtships turned into talking phases and superficial connections and instant gratification. Dating apps and social media turned to form relationships into swiping right based on a series of pictures and a few words. Where did taking the time to form a genuine connection go? The focus went from seeking a lifetime partner to pursuing temporary pleasures, eroding the sanctity of long-term commitments.
The prevalence of cohabitation, or living together before marriage, has also dramatically increased. The most common logic I have seen people use to defend living together before marriage is to “test their compatibility” without the commitment of marriage. 35,000 people obviously agree with the tweet above. And sure, this approach may seem practical, it often fails to account for the transformative power of commitment itself. In his book, "The Seven Principles for Making Marriage Work," renowned relationship expert Dr. John Gottman writes,
"Happy marriages are based on a deep friendship... a mutual respect for and enjoyment of each other's company."
Cohabitation ends up leading to a lack of this deep-rooted friendship and commitment, which are vital ingredients for a thriving marriage.
Cut the “Wife Treatment” without the title: How does providing "wife treatment" without the title of marriage impact a woman's emotional well-being and the stability of her relationship? What are the potential legal and societal complications that can arise for couples who choose to cohabitate without getting married?
I saw this tiktok a while back and was left thinking about how many women don’t realize the effects that acting as a wife while being a girlfriend has. It has become so common for women to assume the role of a wife in their relationships without the legal or social recognition that comes with marriage. But do they realize the consequences of doing that?
When a woman provides wife treatment without the title, she ends up experiencing emotional and psychological stress. Even if she does not admit it. Think about it: she is investing her time, energy, and emotions into a relationship without the stability and security that a marriage provides. So what will this imbalance result in? With feelings of inadequacy, insecurity, and vulnerability, the woman becomes bound to worry about the future of her relationship and her role in her partner's life.
And couples that bypass the commitment of marriage don’t just affect their lives. There’s a ripple effect on relationships and society that is actually pretty significant. As mentioned earlier, the lack of a formal commitment leads to instability and uncertainty, but it is not just limited to uncertainty in the relationship. It also leads to uncertainty in the community. Children born to unmarried couples face challenges in terms of social acceptance, legal rights, and emotional stability. And then, as more and more couples choose to cohabitate rather than marry, the institution of marriage itself becomes devalued, diminishing its significance in society and resulting in people like the guy from the reddit rant at the beginning.
I wonder if people know that partnerships without legal recognition, such as cohabitation, lead to a variety of complications, particularly in situations involving healthcare, property ownership, and inheritance. Without the legal rights afforded to married couples, individuals end up finding themselves unable to make important decisions on behalf of their partners or access critical benefits and protections.
One of my mom’s friends, let’s call her Sarah and her partner, John, (for confidentiality purposes) had been together for ten years, living as a committed couple and sharing their lives in literally every way. But, they had decided to not get married. Unfortunately, John became hospitalized after being in a severe accident and Sarah was devastated to learn that she was not permitted to visit him in the intensive care unit because she was not considered immediate family.
Tragically, John ended up passing away without Sarah by his side. And after his death, Sarah faced further heartbreak when she discovered that she had little to no say in John's burial arrangements, as she was not legally recognized as his spouse. Now I know that situations like Sarah are not that common, but living your life knowing that if (God forbid) something like that were to occur that you would not be able to be there for the love of your life seems painful.
Marriage Empowers Men: How does marriage contribute to improved mental health, physical well-being, and social satisfaction for men?
As a man, you will realize that marriage will provide you with steady emotional support and companionship. With a loving partner by your side, you can navigate life's ups and downs, knowing that you will always have someone to lean on. This emotional stability positively impacts your mental health and overall well-being.
Research shows that married men tend to have better physical health than their unmarried counterparts. As a married man, you are more likely to adopt healthier habits, seek medical care when needed, and enjoy a lower risk of developing chronic conditions like heart disease and diabetes.
You will also quickly realize that marriage will help you build and maintain a strong social network. You will benefit from an extended network of friends and family, leading to greater feelings of belonging and social satisfaction.
Being with someone that has committed to you will quickly help you see that the stability, companionship, and shared experiences that come with marriage contribute to a more fulfilling and meaningful life.
You will also begin to appreciate the value of shared responsibilities within a marriage. With a supportive partner, you can more effectively manage your time and energy, reducing stress and achieving a better work-life balance.
Building a Strong Partnership: How does commitment and trust in a marriage contribute to better mental health outcomes for individuals?
Marriage provides a unique opportunity for individuals to experience the psychological benefits of commitment and trust. The sense of security that comes from knowing one's partner is fully dedicated to the relationship fosters emotional well-being and resilience. According to a study, married individuals have lower levels of depression and anxiety than their unmarried counterparts. As philosopher Friedrich Nietzsche once said,
"It is not a lack of love, but a lack of friendship that makes unhappy marriages."
Building trust and commitment in marriage lays the groundwork for a healthy, fulfilling partnership. Having a lifelong partner means invaluable stability and support, especially during times of difficulty or crisis. You can’t deny that knowing that someone will always be there to lean on significantly changes one's mental health and overall well-being.
A study also found that married individuals have better mental health outcomes than those who are single, divorced, or widowed. Marriage provides a reliable support system that promotes emotional resilience and strength.
Shared values and goals are the components of any successful marriage. When a couple's beliefs and aspirations align, they are able to work together and overcome challenges, celebrate achievements, and grow as individuals and as a partnership. As the Bible states,
"Two are better than one because they have a good return for their labor: If either of them falls down, one can help the other up"
Reclaim the Sacred: How can men and women uphold their roles and responsibilities within a marriage to reinforce its sacredness? What steps can society take to support and promote the importance of marriage in contemporary culture?
So what are the steps we need to take to reclaim the sacredness of marriage? By understanding the roles and responsibilities of men and women within marriage and working together to uphold their values, we will be able to (once again) give marriage the respect and significance it has always deserved.
As a man, you need to recognize the importance of your role in reclaiming sacredness. Here are a few things to keep in mind, to accept marriage as the natural next step in relationships rather than cohabiting, casual hooking up or speed-dating:
- Embracing responsibility and commitment: You should be ready to assume the responsibilities that come with marriage, such as providing for your family, offering emotional support, and contributing to the household.
- Respecting and valuing your partner: You need to treat your wife respectfully and acknowledge their essential role in creating a harmonious, loving household. I came across this video and it perfectly sums up why having your wife staying home is important and how much it ends up contributing to the overall quality of one’s life.
- Prioritizing wanting a family over short-term relationships: Regardless of what anyone says, you should be proud to seek long-term, committed relationships rather than engaging in casual hookups or cohabitation without a clear path towards marriage.
As a woman, know that you also play a crucial role in reclaiming the sacredness in marriage. Your role involves:
- Setting boundaries and expectations: You need to be clear about your expectations when it comes to relationships and be firm about the importance of marriage as a foundation for a stable, supportive partnership.
- Embracing your traditional roles: Recognize that you are what strengthens the bond of marriage. How do you do that? By embracing your roles as a nurturer, caregiver, and source of emotional support within your family unit.
- Encouraging a culture of commitment: As a woman, you should advocate for the value of committed relationships and the sanctity of marriage, promoting a culture that prioritizes long-term partnerships that benefit women with stability, security and a title.
Weren’t expecting our roles as a society, huh? What do we do to create a generation that sees the beauty in matrimony?
- Promoting education and awareness: Educating people about the benefits of marriage and the importance of upholding strong values can help counter the narrative that marriage is outdated or oppressive.
- Encouraging community support: Fostering a sense of community that supports and celebrates married couples helps create an environment in which long-term relationships are valued and encouraged.
- Addressing underlying issues: Tackling social and economic factors that contribute to the decline of marriage, such as financial instability and lack of access to education, can help create a society where more people are inclined to marry.
I believe that marriage holds a special place as an institution designed by God not merely to bring us happiness but to make us more holy. It is through this sacred union that we learn to serve one another, practice humility, and embrace the transformative power of forgiveness.
Our spouse is the one relationship we consciously choose, a testament to the commitment we make to walk hand in hand through the journey of life. And by shying away from marriage and settling for temporary superficial connections, you miss the opportunity to create a life of profound value together. In these trying times, committing to the sanctity of marriage is more important than ever. In the words of Dietrich Bonhoeffer,
"Marriage is more than your love for each other... In your love, you see only your two selves in the world, but in marriage, you are a link in the chain of the generations, which God causes to come and to pass away to His glory, and calls into His kingdom."