Monday, November 17, 1997

Week of 11/17/1997

The Marriage Deluxe Plan
"Covenant" Marriages will cheapen marriage
- by David Matthews 2

Gather around, boys and girls, because what I have to offer to you will solve all your problems concerning your marriage!

You say you love your spouse, but do you REALLY love your spouse? If you do, then don’t delay - upgrade your marriage to the brand new Covenant Marriage Plan!

Yes, you too can be sure that your blessed union will be eternal and everlasting! With our new Covenant Marriage Plan, you won’t have to worry about your spouse deciding to just get a quickie no-fault divorce while you’re busy in the shower. Instead, you can rest assure that if your spouse decides to get a divorce, you’ll both have to go through hell and back before you’re single again.

So don’t delay! Upgrade your marriage today and show your significant other that you really, REALLY, love them! As a bonus, the first one thousand couples who upgrade their marriage will get a lifetime supply of Miracle Snake Oil, one thousand wooden nickels, and prime development swampland, and we’ll even throw in a bridge or two!

Ok folks, let’s get brutally honest here. Does anyone outside of the delusional religious crusaders think that divorce can be made harder to get simply by creating a "higher level" of marriage? Huh?

The funny part is all this is happening because the social and religious crusaders fear that divorce cheapens marriage! What a crock! Divorce doesn’t cheapen marriage, MARRIAGE cheapens marriage!

I can hear the arguments now from the insurance companies. "Oh, so you want to have your wife covered under your insurance policy? Well it’ll cost you more, because you only got married. You must not really love your wife, or else you would have gotten a covenant marriage."

How about the lending institutions? "We’re not going to be able to give you a home loan, because you two only got married. That mean you could get a divorce at any time, and that’s too unstable a risk for us. Now, if you got a covenant marriage, we’d know your relationship was rock solid, and we’d be all too happy to grand you your loan."

Of course, you know the jewelry companies will be going overboard on the notion. "What better way to say to your loved one that you plan on getting married FOR REAL with this new covenant marriage band? Perfect for when you’re serious about spending the rest of your life with your spouse."

Essentially, the notion of an extra-special level of marriage will cheapen marriage far more than divorce ever could! I can easily see churches refusing to grant marriages unless they were covenant marriages. I can see the social stigmatization of "regular" marriages on the grounds that the couples "just don’t love each other enough." I can see the same states that refuse to recognize homosexual marriages to no longer recognize "regular" marriages. In short, the whole concept of marriage will be blackened, and cheapened, in the moralist crusade to "save the institution of marriage."

Look, like the moralists, I see the institution of marriage to be a special union of two people. It’s existed for centuries in various cultures around the world, and even the notion that such a union can be dissolved through annulment or divorce has not diluted the importance of marriage itself.

So why are the moralists so intent of destroying marriage by creating another level of it? Simple. They no longer have control over marriage. Once upon a time they had it, just ask King Henry VIII. That guy couldn’t divorce his wives, so he had them executed. But that kind of power got lost when it became easier to get a divorce. It didn’t cheapen the institution of marriage as much as it took power away from the moralists who relied on it. So the moralists have been trying to retake that power by making divorce harder to get, and they haven’t really succeeded in that endeavor.

I’ve been lucky in that I’ve grown up in a family that does not believe in divorce. My parents have been married for thirty-one years now, through good times and bad. All of my relatives have equally held their marriages to be something special and not something to be dissolved on a whim. I also know that it’s hard for some people who have gone through divorce. But the moralists forget that while marriages can be made at the drop of a hat, it’s not that easy to get a divorce. Couples just don’t wake up one morning and say "I’m bored.. let’s get a divorce."

And for the champions of "family values" I have two words for you - Newt Gingrich! Remember him? The leader of the "Republican Revolution" first married his schoolteacher, then while she was in the hospital recovering from surgery, he gave her a notepad and dictated to her the terms of their divorce. This is the guy the moralists continue to defend simply because he’ll vote for their interests, even if he hasn’t always lived up to them.

Look, the solution to the "problem" of divorce does not come from government creating a new level of marriage or making divorce harder to get. It comes from the hearts of individuals deciding that marriage is something that should not be entered into lightly nor treated frivolously. When that happens, then, and only then, divorce will no longer be a "problem."

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