Here’s the thing:
Having heard messages over the years and also having had my fair share of fingers shook in my direction, I’m struggling to understand the actuality of marriage.
I’m not looking to get into the ‘marriage is only between a man and woman’ argument. In fact, I’m not looking to argue at all.
Here’s where I’m coming from: it seems to me that marriage as it’s defined by fallible humans is what happens when two people stand before some other human (whether that human is a pastor, priest, rabbi, imam, judge, court- or legally-appointed whoever) to say a couple of words and sign a paper.
Did I leave anything out?
I went hunting for a Biblical description of marriage and of course, our friend Google gave me all sorts of lingo like ‘Such and Such (insert your favorite ‘religious’ belief system here) belief on marriage. Which isn’t what I wanted.
I eventually landed on a site from The Gospel Coalition that was titled ‘what is marriage, according to the Bible’, which was more like it. The writer of the piece offers several concepts, including the breaking away from parents and relatives to ‘cling’ to this other; wholehearted devotion to one another; becoming one flesh; and one mortal life fully shared:
The Gospel Coalition
“One flesh” is essential to the biblical view of marriage. It means, one mortal life fully shared. Two selfish me’s start learning to think like one unified us, sharing one everything: one life, one reputation, one bed, one suffering, one budget, one family, one mission, and so forth. No barriers. No hiding. No aloofness. Now total openness with total sharing and total solidarity, until death parts them.
I’m down with all that, but it still doesn’t get at the other issue of that pesky piece of paper …
See, ‘religious’ folks of all ilks will poo-poo others (like yours truly) who live with each other and don’t have the piece of paper.
Is it possible to have all the bits defined above and still be committed to the point of mortal lives fully shared?
Now don’t get me wrong: I do see practical value in the piece of paper. At least here in these (dis)United States of ‘Merica, having the paper enables folks to put each other on health insurances and helps ensure that final wishes are kept (usually).
Help me understand the subtleties and nuances of the poo-pooing and finger-shaking?