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What Does Marriage Give You That You Can't Otherwise Get?
by Greg Baker
4/23/2010 / Marriage
Marriage is just a legal document, after all, so why do it? More and more people are living together without actually getting married. Do they lose out on something? Yes they do. As a counselor and pastor, I've witnessed firsthand what is lost outside of the marriage.
Yes, yes, I'm a Christian which means that I do believe that only in marriage does God bless sex. But if that is all the reason to get married, it is rather pathetic. No there is so much more that a marriage can bring.
I'll mention two things that you can only get through marriage that are most important to my wife and I.
Saying, "Will you marry me?" is making a commitment that transcends other partnerships. When you get married you make a lifelong commitment-or at least that is the way it is supposed to be. Shacking up like two stray cats doesn't lend itself to long term commitment. You may claim that you love each other, and you may, but not willing to make the level of commitment that a marriage entails, puts doubts to your love.
I don't have an easy out if we have problems. I can't just pack up and leave without creating huge problems. I wanted it that way. I don't want an easy way out of marital problems. I want my commitment to help me be determined to see it through, to work out the problems.
But if two people are just living together without this commitment, then it is an easy thing to leave when problems come. There is nothing that keeps them together or that truly encourages them to find a solution even if they don't want a solution.
It is more than just a legal document. It is a profession of my commitment made to a society, publicly, and to my mate. My word is my bond and I wanted a relationship that is more than something I can get outside of marriage. I also wanted something public and before witnesses. I'm not ashamed of my wife. I'm not waiting to see if things are going to work out. I don't want to wake up one day wondering if it's time for a change. The marriage gave me the depth of commitment I sought. I can't get that otherwise.
For me, I can only get the depth of a relationship I want inside of marriage. The commitment means a lot to me. It means everything to me. That someone else would commit to a relationship that says, "Till death do us part, for better or for worse, in sickness and in health" means more than I can express here in words. That my wife believes in us to that degree, that she would commit herself in this manner, that she would demonstrate her love with this level of commitment is a wonderful gift that I fear few have-even those who do get married.
AN EXAMPLE FOR MY CHILDREN
The marriage allows me to set an example before my children to shoot for themselves one day. The above commitment is something I want my children to learn about. I want them to see a relationship that is so close, so in love that they seek for the same thing when they become adults.
My parents had a marriage like I do. As a child, I had such tremendous security at home that I never worried about if my parents would be together one day or not. I witnessed their commitment and I craved the same thing. I want this for my children, and it is only through the commitment of the marriage that I can give it to them.
A relationship outside the bonds of marriage sends the wrong message to my children. How can I expect them to find the same level of commitment and love if I myself am not willing to demonstrate it? Our children more often than not follow our footsteps when it comes to relationships. Mostly, because it is all they know. Well, I want my children to know what a relationship is like between two people so committed to each other, so in love, so bound together that they want nothing else.
That being said, if the above is true, then getting married on a lark is unwise. I got married because I found a woman that I could commit the rest of my life to, and a woman who was willing to do the same for me. Our union has purpose and our marriage gives depth and commitment to that purpose.
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