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Why Marriage?

March 5, 2021

Photo credit: The Waldron Photograph Company

“Why are you getting married? Be specific.” 

If I’ve married you, I’ve likely asked you this question. I might have even pushed a little bit, following up with: “We live in a time when marriage is neither required nor necessary in our society. So, why are you choosing it?”

For years I have personally pondered this question. I’ve asked myself why I married. I’ve asked myself in general why people marry. For me, it’s an intriguing question. And apparently, one that is difficult to answer. I say that because after asking this question of many couples, friends, and myself, I have yet to find the right, perfect, jackpot answer.

Marriage is an interesting institution. It’s ancient. An anachronistic custom that has not evolved too terribly much through the years; and when it has, it’s often accompanied by social discourse, debate, and even upheaval.  And yet, the institution of marriage endures. People of all sorts continually seek it out, are drawn to it, desire it, almost yearn for it. Stories of love so often point to marriage as the logical end, the destination, the ultimate, final exam, proof (as Rilke states).

But why? I want to know why. So, I’ve spent years asking. And I’ve had all sorts of answers.

Many answers cluster around the idea that marriage is the place where true love is lived out. Some answers are about believing in the institution and stability of marriage itself. Once in a while, a couple will cite the civil and legal benefits of marriage . . . usually alongside pointing out the physical and spiritual benefits of marriage as a bit of an afterthought. Some couples point to other married couples they admire; a sort of “this is a beautiful thing, and we want this as well” sentiment. I’ve also had answers around family building and children.  And none of these answers are bad or wrong. In fact, I think they are all great answers . . . pieces of the puzzle. But it still doesn’t get at exactly why.

And beyond the why . . . the what? What is marriage exactly? What is this thing we do?

Photo credit: The Waldron Photograph Company

So, over the next months, I will be tackling this question in a more deliberate way. You will hear me talk about it with Liz on her podcast The Pretty Truth Podcast. And be looking out for our own podcast coming soon! You’ll see us blog about it more. And we’ll be inviting some guest speakers to weigh in on the oh-so-sought-after and yet very elusive thing we call marriage.

Speaking of guest speakers . . . that might be you! What are your thoughts? What is marriage to you? Why have you chosen or not chosen marriage? How do you even define marriage?

Let’s hear from you!

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