What Marriage Is

With the passage of the law making marriage between gay people legal last week in New York, I found myself breathing a sign of relief.

It felt like a right too long denied finally being granted.

I have been listening, though, to those opposed to gay marriage. One of the strongest statements I heard suggested that gay marriage would lead, or will lead, to anarchy in this country. I didn’t understand that when I heard it, and I still don’t.

But by far the vast majority of opinions in opposition to gay marriage circle around a feeling that allowing gay people to marry will undermine the meaning of marriage.

That has really kept me deep in thought. As I think about marriage between heterosexuals in this country, I ask myself, “What is marriage, really? Who really values it?” The rate of divorce in this country is high; adultery is rampant, and my thought is that people are more interested in having a wedding than they are interested in being “married.”

Joseph Campbell said that “when people get married because they think it’s a long time love affair, they’ll be divorced very soon, because all love affairs end in disappointment.” I don’t know that I agree with him totally; there ARE people who “fall in love” and stay that way.

But Campbell says something that is intriguing to me. He says that “marriage is recognition of a spiritual identity.” He says that “marriage is not a simple love affair. It’s an ordeal, and the ordeal is the sacrifice of the ego to a relationship in which two have become one.” He says that marriage is not just a social arrangement; it’s a spiritual exercise.”

I have been chewing on Campbell’s words because they are intriguing and they jolt the senses. How many people who get married think of it as a spiritual exercise, church service notwithstanding? As a pastor, I have seen so many people get married who, frankly, use the church for the setting, not for its significance in the covenant the two people are making. I shudder when people “promise” God that they will be true each other and will be with each other “for better, for worse, for richer, for poorer.” The divorce statistics don’t gel with the promises made.

If we look at marriage as a spiritual exercise, it takes on a whole new dimension. I have seen so many gay people who have been together for years, and I mean a LOT of years. Theirs have been nothing less than spiritual exercises; they have stayed together “for richer for poorer, for better for worse” in the truest sense of those phrases. They have lived in secret, hiding their relationships, not daring to let on that they have such deep love and respect for each other. When I think of the many very old gay people who no longer have to hide their relationships nor their love for each other, and who now be able to have legal countenance of their relationships, I breathe a sigh of relief for their gain.

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7 thoughts on “What Marriage Is

  1. Thank you for being a woman called by God that ” gets it”!!

    I have always said marriage is the civil stamp on a sacred union.

    Sooooooooooooooo praying you will be there with us!!!

  2. All of us need each other. The God I serve, the Jesus I love, makes no distinctions between people. I like that God. I love that Jesus.

  3. NO!!! Absolutely NO! Marriage is first and foremost a spiritual union. Simply because human beings abuse and use it for their own means does not make it less. Gay (homosexual) marriage is a union based on lusts of the baser sort; no less and no more than that. Pastors who approve of homosexuality of any kind has been deceived into believing contrary to the letter and spirit of GOD’S WORD. Each human being is born as a male or female with natural instincts for the opposite sex. ASny other so called sex is NOT SEX; it is lustful and detrimental behaviour that GOD does not approve. A man with a man is NOT sex and a woman with a woman is not sex; what they do is a perversion they call sex. In the natural sense; according to nature and the anatomy of the human body, there can be no sex between a man and aman and a woman with a woman; so it must be a perversion of sex. Calling the union of homosexuals marriage is an insult to GOD and HIS word and to every true believer. Just remember; some sins go beforehand and some come after but all will be exposed at the time determind by our Creator. He is now winking at this behaviour because it is man’s day and man has the right to make his own choices. Bottomline we must remain aware that “GOD IS NOT MOCKED” and each of us will be held accountable for our own actions.

  4. Well said Dr. Smith. Marriage is a spirirtual journey and an act of thanksgiving to God. To stand before God, friends and family and acknowledge that this is the one God has given one to love, honor, cherish and grow in spirit with is a blessing. And its significance should never be judged by man. God is the only true judge !

  5. So many people are so deceived by the sad stories of homosexuals who cry about being discriminated against and mistreated because of their nasty lifestyle that they have become enablers who are encouraging them to continue their degrading lifestyle which will in fact, lead to death; spiritually and physically. That is the reason why GOD’S WORD refers to human beings as sheep, because they have no compass and lack a sense of direction. GOD does not make a distinction in people but He does, in fact, make distinctions in our behaviors. Homosexuals are what is referred to as, “abusers of themselves with mankind” and preaching evil as good just as the bible says it would be.

  6. Campbell calls marriage a “spiritual experience”. I think I agree with him, but I’d like to hear his definition of “spiritual experience.” I mean, Phillip and Nancy Garrido were married for 28 years. Since they were married, does Campbell’s definition mean their union was a “spiritual experience”? In case you don’t know, Phillip and Nancy kidnapped and held Jaycee Lee Dugard prisoner for 19 years (Phillip also impregnated her with two children). What does it mean when Campbell calls marriage a “spiritual experience”?

    1. You ask a good question. Unfortunately, the kidnappers of Jaycee Dugard could very well have been spiritually connected – or it may have been that Nancy was a woman who, like so many women do, stayed with Phillip for reasons like fear, insecurity, and a misguided understanding of love. I wonder if Bonnie and Clyde were spiritually connected; I’ll bet they were. To be spiritually connected means that there is a connection which is deeper than can be explained. People can be soul mates, be those souls acceptable or unacceptable…

      Thanks for the thought-provoking comment!

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