The statement has been made to me that a couple in the United States who are living together and are expecting a child together do not need to get married. I agree, surprisingly, but not for the same reasons that the other person was thinking. U.S. American’s have a warped perception of what marriage is and what it is not. C.S. Lewis said, “If people do not believe in permanent marriage, it is perhaps better that they should live together unmarried than that they should make vows they do not mean to keep.” In other words, why say that you will stay with someone til death do you part if you do not agree that divorce should not be an option in a marriage? Even if you say that nobody intends to marry with the thought that they will one day divorce the person they are swearing a lifetime commitment too; I would say that what you think about people that you know had a “right” to divorce will determine whether you will remain with your spouse or not. Meaning, if Billy and Felicia have fallen out of love with each other, have a kid together, and are miserable in their marriage and you think that they should divorce then you do not need to be making life-time vows when you get married. You should just get the justice of the peace to call you man and wife without swearing your allegiance to the person. Marriage for you is a contract.
The real question though is what marriage represents or asked another way, why does marriage exists? I guess that depends on who you are and what you believe. Looking at a few tribal societies of today and some Hebrew examples, one of the first things you notice is that marriage was/is not about love but about economics. Who has the most cows? What is the price going to be for the virgin girl? They made sure to marry outside of direct family relations except for rare instances where it was unavoidable. The notion of marriage as something that people who are in love do did not come about until about 1,000 years ago (which would seem to open up an entirely different line of questions regarding a Christians understanding of the church being the bride of Christ). Regardless of what I have been reading, the point that I guess I want to make is that God did not create the institution of marriage as we know it: a legal contract that allows two people to gain governmental benefits due to their marital status, nor as what is recognized by the church as some kind of love sanctioned ceremony where God is given token respect regarding the vows being made. So did God create something like what we know as marriage?
I will elaborate on this in a later post that is already written but this is too long for now.