“Nothing’s really sacred anymore! What’s happening to this world?” wails my sister, single and wishes to remain so. Her reaction came after I told her the news of the separation between the Terminator actor and his wife of the Kennedy clan after a 25-year marriage.
At her reaction, I told her I’ve acquired a different view of marriage– that it is actually not immoral for couples to separate as what we were taught to believe.
Believing that married people in the after life become brothers and sisters, I said they’re free in this lifetime to decide whether to have a go at that relationship. The increasing number of separation and dissolved marriages is perhaps indication of there being now an increasing insight into what is truly meaningful in life. Perhaps marriage is not the ultimate happy event or goal after all. But unfortunately for couples who break up, one or the other or both are perceived by the rest as deviants and relegated to live on the edges of one’s community and society.
My sister is a conservative in these things as I was and as she was turning blue from my talk I quickly dissipated the tension by humoring her.
I was raised in a strict Catholic household, but as an adult I find that I had to discover on a personal level and still am on a journey of discovering what my religion and faith mean to me. I try to discern from the examples of models in the Church. In marriage and family, it’s the Holy Family, of course. Were Mary and Joseph married? Rather, each is married to Christ and in Him both find real and authentic connection with each other. This suggests that if one desires true love – unfailing, selfless – one won’t have it completely and fully from another human being who, because of our earthy nature, is bound to disappoint. Even as couples declare true love to each other, they continue to seek in a unique and personal way the ‘one true love’. In other words, even while humans bind themselves and love another still we continually seek God, our one true love. My soul will not rest until it has sought Christ or rests in Christ. When rested in Christ, marriage becomes the sacrament that it is.
As such, marriage is not the goal rather, to be crass about it, a means. To be even more crass about it, a civilized means to perpetuate humankind, this world. Such is our lot.
On the bright side, marriage is a means in which to recreate our ideals of love and community.