Before I am about to discuss the relevance of marriage for society nowadays, we dive a bit deeper into the origins of the concept of marriage to get a better understanding of the meaning of marriage.
The concept of marriage dates from 2350 B.C. in Mesapotamia (the ancient Greece). Then, marriage primary purpose was to bind men to woman for the purpose of producing legitimate offspring. So on it was primary not about “love” or “religion”, but actually about the “guarantee” for a man that he could count on offspring.
When the catholic church became a powerful institution, priests had the need to receive a blessing from the church. In this way, marriage became a sacrament to bestow Gods grace.
Later on, in the middle-ages, romantic love became part of the concept of marriage through the Knight culture in which knights started to write romantic novels (The week, the origins of marriage: jan 2017). Interestingly, marriage is a wider and a more dynamic concept than you might have known.
As a married man, I would love to share some (dynamic) thoughts of the relevance of being married for both male and female now. And of course, I will bring some illustrations on the table. Let’s assume that marriage is “really” about a pure love relationship between male and female. I assume that this means that the relationship comes from a free choice, a genuine conviction (of both woman and man), and a chemical connection between male and female without cultural and institutional interventions.
So as we know the history of marriage, why is marriage important for male and female according to my opinion and experience as a believer of Jesus Christ? To respond on this question I will outline some reasons adding explainations which can expand your notion and possibly your perspective about marriage.
1. Respect: marriage is such a great expression of respecting your partner. With respect I mean the willingness to say that you accept the person as your partner the way he or she is, for a lifetime. Accepting means in practice that you communicate with your partner in a way that he or she experiences that he or she is “acknowledged” and “understood”, even if you do not agree with your partner on certain points of views or you do not fully understand someone’s behaviour. Besides that, respect does also mean that you don’t flirt with others. Flirting with others positions your partner as less important. The outcome of respect is “f in your relationship. When you know what your partner is honoring you, you
2. Honor: marriage is about honoring your partner as well as your family, friends, and family in law. I believe ‘Honor’ means, in the perspective of marriage, that you invite family members to be witnesses of the wedding day as well as getting them involved in the process before and after marriage. During the process of marriage you acknowledge the position of your loved ones being part of a lifetime love story. The outcome of honor in this light is “being seen as one through the eyes of your loved ones”.
3. Character shaping: By stepping into marriage you choose to put your partner before yourself in up-and-down situations. In this way, humility will shape your character. You got the opportunity to learn from fulfilling the needs of your partner. When you take him or her needs seriously, I believe you can become a better person over time.
4. Fulfillment of inner needs: Woman and man are having the basic fysical need to have sex with each other. Marriage gives a great domain to fulfill this basic need for both man and woman because marriage itself is about fully “giving” yourself to your partner. Furthermore, behind the fysical need there is a deeper connection which makes you feel ‘one’, ‘secure’, and ‘complete’.
5. Purpose: Together you are ‘one team’, together for a purpose: a great fulfilled life together. Marriage labels you as being a team. You actually need each other to get the best out out each other, for great decisionmaking, and to tackle issues you are both facing in daily life. In short, marriage brings not only great purpose to yourself, but also great purpose for your loved one.
6. Stability: Marriage gives you a foundation to build on. Male and female both say YES to a life surrender to each other. You got confirmed by the promise of your partner. You deeply know and trust that your loved one is the person you can count on in every situation.
7. New possibilities: Marriage gives you new possibilities to flourish. It makes you putting your resources together, like income – talents – insights – and efforts. It also makes you distributing your individual resources more effectively, because decision making is now based on two views instead of one. In the process of putting individual resources together and distributing them more effectively – Marriage brings you to a new level of ‘possibilities’ together and to the central question: How can we use our resources to impact peoples life?
8. Perseverance: Marriage makes you fight for the person you have committed yourself to, instead of leaving because of circumstances. Meanwhile, bad and good things happen in life you are able to remember yourself to the place of commitment, which leads you into a confirming rest.
9. Perspective: Marriage brings two perspectives together, which leads to a wider and deeper perspective on things in life. This makes you able to experience more ‘colors’ in your daily life, what will lead to a higher level of personal satisfaction.
10. Comfort: Marriage makes you start doing life together, buying or renting a house to dwell in. An house provide you great comfort through an atmosphere in which you can have heart-to-heart conversations together. Heart-to-heart conversations lead to social and emotional progression. Besides this, being a house together gives you the opportunity to connect with people like friends and locals. Surely, this connections will give you life enriching memories.
11. Love: Marriage is not based on selfish or cheep love, but on sacraficial and surrendered love. In this way marriage gives space for both male and female to discover their identity on a deeper level as well as reinventing each other.
12. Blessing: marriage is a blessing for male and female as well as for family and friends. In other words, It is the enjoyment of unity in love that fills the hearts of of people during marriage. I personally believe there is also a release in unity during marriage between the bride and God, as in the sense that “a court of three is not easily broken”.
13. Adventure: marriage gives time to reinvent each other and to reinvent life together. It also brings new ‘challenges’ along the way, for example: Division of tasks, distribution of responsibilities, and daily planning. These challenges will surely strenghten your character what brings you more satisfaction in life.
14. Integrity: marriage gives you the opportunity to really stand for what you have promised to your partner. When you show your partner that you really are the person she or he believes in, “favor” will increasingly surround you.
In todays society marriage is a kind of snowy concept, primarily limited in his meaning to individual and mutual profits. But actually, I believe, marriage comes to his full meaning when “surrender” brings male and female to daily growth. Under daily growth I understand “growth” as for example more anticipation capacity, more listening capacity, having a greater trust in people, etc..
Moreover, marriage often seems to occur as “One special day celebration” in todays society being social accountable to family. Of course, this is a beautiful part. But at the core, I believe that marriage is not just ‘one’ great moment in life but in broader sense a great process of growing together, personal development, while celebrating victories together.
At the end, marriage functions when it stretches both male and female to get the best out each other, by applying some fundamental values, of which I have discussed a number of them in this blog.