Sanctity shmanctity


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          The sanctity of marriage is a concept that marriage is not a man-made institution. Unlike what heathens like us want you to believe, marriage is a sacred union borne of the whim of God himself. We are supposed to believe that marriage is not a contractual commitment that has more in common with buying a car than a binding ritual like baptism. We are supposed to believe that ‘what God has brought together let no man put asunder’. So why are we so cynical about all this blessed union stuff?

          Lee says: 22 years tomorrow, I married Paul. We were wed by Fr. O’Byrne at Saint Catherine Laboure Catholic Church in Torrance, California at 3:30pm. I wore a big white dress with a long train and Paul wore white tie and tails. It was formal, traditional and serious. We were in love and getting married. Nothing else mattered.

          During our wedding, the readings from the Bible referred to love of God and cleaving to one another. We heard the words and took them seriously. However, before we were bonded publicly and announced to the world that ‘I will, I will, I do’, we had committed to each other privately. It was not just that moment of the kiss or the lighting of the unity candles or the vows that bonded us; it was our countless discussions of our future that bonded us.

           The sanctity of marriage is a farce because we have allowed it to become just that. When we allow people to be married for hours or days, we diminish the beauty of marriage. When we allow people to be unfaithful or physically, mentally and verbally abuse one another, we diminish the beauty of marriage. When we treat marriage as a special club, we diminish the beauty of marriage. When we tell gays and lesbians that their love is not appropriate for the institution of marriage, we diminish the beauty of marriage.  

          The sanctity of marriage lies in the bond of love and not the sex of the committed.  If people truly believed in the sanctity of marriage then making divorce illegal should be the priority instead of making marriage illegal for some and not others. If we truly believe that God has created this bond than we should honor love and not see abomination when someone’s love is not like yours.

          When we look at the statistics of marriage, we don’t see sanctity. We see disposable commitment. When we look at a 50% success rate in marriage, we do not see holy but we do see a flimsy understanding of what marriage is. We know that this statistic is misleading. We know that the real numbers are less daunting. For example did you know that if we removed people who marry under the age of 25 and ultra religiosity, the divorce stats drop to less than 30%? That’s right, those kids who marry because their parents force them too because they’re knocked up or just want to have sex but the church would frown on anything less, get divorced. Surprise!

          We say sanctity of marriage as if we should all bow our head a little each time. Like Inigo Montoya said in Princess Bride, ‘You keep using that word. I don’t think it means what you think it means.’ For something to have sanctity it is said to be inviolable. If so, then this would mean that it would be a horrible sin to violate the vows of marriage. If that is the case, how many of these religious wing nuts need to answer to God?

          I may not believe that marriage is sacred but I do feel that being integritous is a sacred bond. I need to be true to myself and then I can commit to others. In this case, to be true to myself, I am committed to being a good wife to my husband who I love with all that I am. My marriage is sacred to me and I am no one to tell others if their marriage holds the same, more or less sanctity.

          Paul says: We got married in a church?!? No wonder I didn’t understand any of the readings.

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