But we can hide the meaning behind the screen of words, especially some of the obsolete words from the King James Bible. (Does anyone ever use the word "unto" for anything but a religious reference, outside of direct Scriptural tags?)
I mean, do we really have a feeling for the words "sacrament" and "covenant", outside of their Biblical use?
I suspect not, so let's look at marriage without some of these doodads.
Marriage is a unique relationship. It's intended, and promised at the altar, for a lifetime, beginning when the betrothed are both consenting adults. That means that they may or may not have a significant history together before that day.
In other words, it's a relationship that is completely artificial, no matter how 'natural' and 'right' it may feel. Forget soulmates; whether these exist or not is outside my purview, and we'll leave those metaphorical angels dancing on their pinheads.
Our other significant relationships are natural. The bind us through genetics, shared history from an early age, shared culture...they are the arms and bosom from which we spring. We have a natural bond with our parents and grandparents and siblings and cousins.
We may hate them, but those bonds, deep down, will still exist in some form, and are the stuff of legend, myth, and bad TV movies.
But we're supposed to put marriage, this artificial thing, above them. We're supposed to choose to walk away from nature.
And we're supposed to stick it, through thick and thin, if we lose our health and our money, or if we're rewarded beyond avarice and thereby tempted by the young and beautiful.
We're supposed to keep our allegiance to this construct, this marriage, this promise, even when circumstances change and we don't want to do any such thing.
We're not supposed to leave open an avenue of escape to our original family...home is where they'll always take you in, but they're not supposed to, if we use home as a refuge from our marriage.
And WHY? Why are we called to this? Why does it matter that much?
Why can't we just have time-limited marriage contracts, drift in and out according to interest level?
Part of it is stability for children...it's an important part, but I don't think it's everything.
EVERYTHING is the keeping of a promise that may be hard to keep, and a promise for which we can lose the reason we made it in the first place.
It's holding onto faith in the dark, that all of this does have a deeper meaning, that the honour of our actions is something more than a flicker between eternity and oblivion.
It's placing ourselves behind and below something else; if we can't serve a spouse, if we can't remain true in a storm, how can we possibly remain true to a God who died on the Cross, and was gone for three hellish days?
If we're 'first' in our hearts in marriage, how can we possibly say "Well, GOD'S really number one!" and have any integrity whatever.
And that, I believe, is why marriage is important. Looping back to the word sacrament, it's supposed to be representative of our relationship with God.
But it's not just a love-love thing. It's also holding on like grim death, in the face of grimmer life.
We're linked to 3D lessons For Life.
This post is linked to Wedded Wednesday, a compendium of really cool posts on marriage. If you click on the logo below, you'll be taken to www.messymarriage.com, which is the springboard to a wealth of information. It's run by Beth Steffaniak, who has a heart for marriage and a soul for God!