Our Most Sacred Institution – Really?

I find myself wondering why so many people continue to say that “marriage is our most sacred institution.”

Is that a fact?

Because it seems to me that marriage, far from being sacred, is one of the most disrespected institutions, at least here in America. I would bet it’s not all that sacred in other places, either.

The whole argument for marriage gained heat, of course, as opponents of gay marriage began to lift marriage between a man and a woman as sacred, put in place by God. That’s what makes it sacred.

But when I look at marriage in this society I don’t see sacredness. Rather, I see a mockery and manipulation of the institution. Mockery because it seems that fewer and fewer people have any intention at all of being monogamous, and manipulation because people manipulate marriage for their own gain.

The sad situation involving former NFL quarterback Steve McNair and his girlfriend Sahel Kazemi got me to thinking, once again, or more accurately wondering, why anybody continues to say that marriage is sacred.

McNair was married. He had four children. And yet, he was shacking up with Kazemi, giving her lavish lifestyle that her youth could not really even appreciate. All bets are that they had a passionate relationship, full of furious and glorious sex, and that he cemented his “love” for her with money and gifts. Kazemi was smitten, and decided she wanted him for her own … but then, (and I am just surmising), McNair probably pulled out the “m” card, and declared he loved his wife.

No divorce. You were just a fling … and Kazemi probably snapped.

I wonder if she knew she wasn’t the only girlfried, according to the most recent news reports.

Then there’s Gov. Sanford, and all the other politicians who in the last few months have had their infidelity exposed. Almost every one of our so-called heroes have been unfaithful if history may be believed. Franklin Delano Roosevelt may have been beloved to scores of poor people, but to his poor wife, he was unfaithful.

So, tell me. What is sacred about marriage?

Young people want to get married in church all the time, and the first question I ask is, “why?” To be married in church, to say promises to each other before one’s God, surmises an intention to keep the promises. And maybe some people do …but it seems to me that after the wedding, the reality of being married seeps in and people forget their vows.

One person doesn’t seem to be able to satisfy the sexual appetites and the love of being in love for far too many people.

So, why get married? Joy Behar has been with her boyfriend for years. They have said no vows. Oprah Winfrey and Stedman, again, have been together, but have not said vows. It seems that for them, their relationship is sacred and special and important.

I do not think marriage is sacred. I think it should be sacred, but it is not. The idea of marriage being sacred is an ideal. If it were really sacred, infidelity would not be so rampant.

I would rather have a good relationship than a horrible marriage any day.

And that’s a candid observation.

6 thoughts on “Our Most Sacred Institution – Really?

  1. Well-written article and your points are vivid examples of Americana which I have observed, as well. The sacred part, however, is not that which man has done to the Scriptures, rather that which the Scriptures have to teach man.

    “Marriage” was sanctified prior to and during the Old Testament days. In fact, I can almost guarantee that not one atheist or gay living today would ever have “thought up” the word “marriage” had it not been lovingly passed from generation to generation by people of faith, so they really have no right to claim it for themselves. Government was not granted any mandate over the institution of marriage within the literal parameters of the Constitution of the United States of America, so Government has no legal right to license, authorize, etc., “marriage”.

  2. It’s funny I read this article when I’m questioning the need and the sanctity of marriage. All my friends are married; I’m the last holdout. I sometimes feel the only reason I want to be married is because I don’t want children out of wedlock. But I often wonder if a relationship is stronger when people are in it because they want to be and not because a divorce is too expensive. Something to be said about that. Great article.

  3. So right – it is not treated as sacred, though it should be. Folks just treat it so casually. It begins with so much pomp and circumstance at the wedding ceremony, but people often forget that the real work begins after that ceremony and also that those vows that they recited and covenanted with each other and God is most sacred.

  4. I appreciate your thoughts Pastor Smith.

    As a social scientist I can agree that our American values and social norms about marriage have shifted because people these days find it much easier to just have sex versus having any committed relationship because it requires WORK and we’re a lazy culture.

    However, I do believe marriage is a sacred institution. I’m not referring to the debate about marriage being between a man and woman, even though marriage was created to be “fruitful.” We are to create “life” from our relationships, that is not just children tangibly but life in all forms. Perhaps, if the youth were lead by elders who still had intact relationships we’d have examples of what works. Perhaps if we taught our children about the holiness of sexuality with REAL examples then our youth would choose something better than after-school sex parties at 12 that lead to adults who have no idea how to form sacred relationships.

    Having been married and divorced now because of infidelities that resulted in a child I’ve walked the path so I get what your saying. After choosing not to have sex after my divorce I found that men are interested to a point, but none of that has stolen my essence that says just because society is morally bankrupt doesn’t mean the people of faith should also follow suit.

    Marriage is sacred because the Creator purposed it to be so, our lack of application does not negate the sanctity. I, being an optimistic idealist, do believe that we, as a global people still honor marriage—but we don’t get to hear about all the GREAT men and women who get it right.

    My guess is that we’re failing to take up the charge to teach about the roles, the balance, the responsibility of self-love, knowing thy self and the divine purpose in true passionate marriage.

    Thanks for the opportunity to dialog about a subject I care deeply about.

    With peace.

  5. In America mariage has become a registration and revenue source for state,local and federal government. It has become a tool for conservatives,racists and religious intolorantpeople” to use as a platform to discriminate against all those that do not meet their narrow perception of what is acceptable. Marriage is no more or no less than the commitment of one human to another. Love, cherish, protect, provide, nurture, teach, learn from ect. etc. I have been married and I have not been married and have found that other than the government fee and registration that nothing occurred that could not have occurred without the governments involvement.

  6. I believe each persons perception is their own reality. For some it is a beautiful arrangement ordained by God while others view it as a formality. Others who are busy living see it is as an inconvenience because what if things don’t work? Now a days people go with the flow and do what’s best for them, but at the end of the day God is still God and the author of the Bible. The Holy Bible that for some years has been a pretty good reference on the subject of marriage. Although it says not to I guess some things in the Bible have to be tweeked every now and again or so it would seem.

    sa·cred audio (skrd) KEY


    1. Dedicated to or set apart for the worship of a deity.
    2. Worthy of religious veneration: the sacred teachings of the Buddha.
    3. Made or declared holy: sacred bread and wine.
    4. Dedicated or devoted exclusively to a single use, purpose, or person: sacred to the memory of her sister; a private office sacred to the President.
    5. Worthy of respect; venerable.
    6. Of or relating to religious objects, rites, or practices.

    Hmmmmm I guess some marriages are and some just aren’t although they should be. Then there are times and these are the marriages that really last the one where one party is the giver and the other the receiver IE. My Mother has been married to my Father for 52 yrs to her it is Sacred to him it is NOT!

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