Marriage seems to be on the decline as more and more people opt to “move in together” and act like they are married. Of course this is just a euphemism for no strings attached sex. When challenged regarding why not get married the response – usually from the man – is there is no need because those are just words that have no meaning and won’t change anything. Of course the rebuttal to that is “if the words have no meaning then why not say them?” Obviously the answer is they do have meaning not just morally and legally but psychologically as well. It is true that the marriage vows are just a verbal contract but they might be the most binding contract anyone will enter into and that is the reason why the “lets live together” bunch avoid it, because it is a firm commitment that closes their option to just walk away when they become unhappy.
For some reason more and more people seem to think they have a right to happiness-not just occasionally but permanently – they think they should never be unhappy and if things and circumstances make them unhappy they feel free to just walk away and find some one else who makes them happy. Of course this is an unreasonable expectation as anyone who has been married longer than a few years can tell you. Marriage is filled with highs and lows as well as compromises and sacrifices, but in the end it is worth everything if you just stick it out. Marriage begins with passion, fun, adventure, and the expectation that this will go on forever and it does for a while. But that passion and excitement is not love and the fun and adventure quickly fade and become routine. And as that routine sets in things change – for some it changes for the better but for others it becomes boring which in turn leads to unhappiness and divorce due to the expectation that they should never experience unhappiness or sacrifice. These people never really experience love because they cannot separate sex, passion, and excitement from love. The problem seems to be that people get confused about love and think that movies portray love – they don’t.
Every day and in many ways husbands and wives show their love. Every time a man squashes a bug or disposes of a mouse or just takes the trash out, he saying “I love you”. Every time the wife picks up the dry cleaning, prepares a meal, or insists you see a doctor for that scratch she is saying “I love you”. Marriage is all about love – real love – where the other person’s health and happiness comes before your own. Where you can sit quietly with the other person and say nothing but can’t sit alone without knowing where the other person is. Love is when nothing can be fully enjoyed without sharing with the other person. Love is not Hollywood just as it is not constant excitement and romance – love comes quietly and sustains you through the bad times just as it magnifies the good times. The words in the marriage vow mean something and will bring lasting love and happiness when they are followed.
Living together is not marriage and does not represent any sort of commitment and no matter how long this arrangement lasts it will never yield the level of love that marriage provides, because it never shows any commitment to be there during the bad times. But once married and willing to stay through the bad times the effort and sacrifices are worth it and yield a life time happiness because the marriage rests on a foundation of love.