They have said, “The Lord does not see,
Nor does the God of Jacob pay heed.”
Pay heed, you senseless among the people;
When will you understand, stupid ones?
He who planted the ear, does He not hear?
He who formed the eye, does He not see?
You know I usually don’t post pictures of people because I rarely take pictures of people. But these two girls, who painted herb pots at the Commonside booth at the Mitcham Fair on Saturday, were each so cute, and the pictures turned out so well, I couldn’t resist. So here they both are.
I’ve been thinking about marriage. At Commonside I’m the only married one there, although they all have “boyfriends” or male “partners” or “other halves.” In the car with one of my sponsors the other day we began talking about marriage, and she told me that unless your religion demanded it (as mine did), she found marriage pointless. To her way of thinking, marriage did not offer any significant benefits over simply living with your lover. What’s the point in going through all that if you don’t get anything more than cohabitation? The law here apparently offers little incentive to join in matrimony, and the peresonal freedom of leave-ability takes precidence over commitment. This mindset pervades people here; Ian and I look like throwbacks to another age when people married their high-school sweethearts, women wore red-and-white checked Betty Crocker dresses, every family had a son and a daughter and one car, and the happy family gathered together around the radio at night to listen to the news and to radio plays.
The sponsor doesn’t put much stock in marriage lives with her boyfriend (partner? Boyfriend sounds odd in reference to an adult couple; that’s for my kid sister and her 17-year-old high-school guy). I didn’t know how to explain the value of marriage to her. All my glib words failed me when I tried to expess the depth of value marriage holds for me. How to express the value of constancy? How to explain the rightness of sleeping in the arms of somebody you know you’ll wake up with fifty years hence? How to explain that marriage becomes engrained, it becomes part of who you are so your spouse and yourself truly grow closer to being one person? As a Christian marriage also represents Christ’s relationship with the Church; so my and Ian’s interaction would show non-believers what the love of God for His people looks like. Our marriage is a God-designed, God-ordained relationship set in place thousands of years ago, and in our marriage we seek to honor that. In our respect for each other, in our deep and deepening love for each other, in the way we speak to each other and behave towards each other, in many other ways Ian and I seek to praise God through our relationship. Yes, we love each other, but God’s presence imbues our relationship with meaningfulness and depth that it would otherwise lack entirely. Marriage is God’s blessing for a couple, the opportunity to understand some small part of His vastly infinite, loving plan for all mankind. Marriage is about commitment, about love for each other and for God, about knowing somebody deeply, about fun and struggle and playfulness and sadness and experiencing life with your spouse beside you always. So you see my heart for the institution of marriage springs from my faith. Please help me: what is the value of marriage outside of religion?