Sunday, October 28, 2012

Have we made marriage an idol?

Idolatry- immoderate attachment of devotion to something[1].

Have we made marriage an idol?  Why do we worship marriage so much in our society?  Sure, God wants us to marry and His first directive was for man and woman to be fruitful and multiply.  However, have we taken God's desire for marriage out of context?

Recently, I had to read a book for class entitled, The Marriage Go-Round:  The State of Marriage and the Family in America Today [2].  In this book, Cherlin discussed  America's religious foundation and how the institution of marriage was at the center of it. Thus, marriage has become what Cherlin (2009)  refers to as a "cultural ideal" (p.3).  Matter of fact, here in America, Cherlin describes us as having the highest percentage of marriages in Western society.

If marriage is the "cultural ideal" within American society, imagine that ideology being multiplied within the Body of Christ. In the Body of Christ, we treat singles as if they have some sort of spiritual defect.  We are constantly asking singles, "Why are you still single?"  "When are you going to get married?".  We have put such a prestigious label on marriage that we treat single people with disdain.

The Country Club Ideal

The Body of Christ have a habit of placing a members only tag to marriage.  Singles are told that the reason they are not married is because they have not proven to God that they can "wait patiently".  Sometimes we are told that God wants to give us a few more "tests" to pass.  I seriously doubt that God is administering all of these various "tests" that we hear about in the Body of Christ.

Attaching Merit to Marriage

Merit- to be worthy of or entitled or liable to: earn[3]

In the church world, we attach merit to marriage. When contrasting "singleness" and "marriage" we often speak in terms of people being married because they are somehow deserving of it as if they have brownie points with God.  This causes us to rate married people as being superior to single people.  However, God does not want us to compare marriage and singleness in such terms.  Single people are more than likely not married because God is still preparing their mate.  God has to work out situations and circumstances in both people's lives in order to bring them together.

[2] Cherlin, Andrew J.  (2009).  The Marriage-Go Round:  The State of Marriage and eh Family in America Today.  New York:  Vintage Books.

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