Marriage, what is it?
Soon the U.S. Supreme Court may/may not consider the repeal of DOMA.
This stands for the Defense Of Marriage Act. In Polish, “Doma” means home. The first time I saw this acronym, I thought those letters mean “home” to me. But to most Americans, they mean the institute of marriage; families live in homes; children make the husband and wife a family. The Defense Of Marriage Act defines marriage as a union between one man and one woman. I confess to wondering why there has to be a law to preserve and define this centuries-old institution that forms the very foundation of societies.
The sacrament of marriage has changed over the years. As we have progressed, sadly, we have regressed even more so. Marriage is no longer an intimate, private, personal relationship with a lifetime partner. Rather, it is a big business that scarcely places any emphasis on the bride and groom but lots of emphasis on the wedding day and the honeymoon location. It is all so commercialized, one rarely even hears the vows exchanged between the marrying couple.
The statistics reveal marriage is no longer a lifelong commitment. The chances of a marriage lasting more than five years have greatly diminished. Perhaps that is because many people have no idea what a vow, a commitment and a partnership really means.
Once I heard a young woman about to be married talking about the upcoming event with great excitement. In the other room the soon-to-be groom was professing his love for her while talking about all the things he sacrificed to have a sensational, romantic honeymoon. As I walked back to the room where she was chatting, she added that she thought her soon-new husband was a good idea as her “first” marriage. She even expressed a desire to look around on their honeymoon for whom she might choose next. That story defines how casual and temporary marriage is regarded today. It’s all about things.
Today many couples choose to not marry but possess the commitment. Why? Because I believe the government has meddled into everyone’s private lives. They do not want to have government requirements regarding taxes, child support, alimony and visitation decided by a court. I know people who have very good marriages without all the infringements of privacy legal marriage now represents.
A hot-air balloon wedding ceremony ended when the balloon crashed immediately after vows were exchanged. All survived, but we can likely look forward to a feature in a magazine called, “Can this marriage be saved?” What are the chances? I actually think they are pretty good. The crash after the vows instead of before may be the bond beyond their love that holds their marriage together. No doubt, if my assumption is erroneous, we will hear about it on the news.
Consider the omnipresent invader, social media. Nothing, I mean nothing, is sacred anymore. And it is everywhere. Internet dating is prolific. This need to find a partner has created big business because of the social media advancements (?) technology has created. The reality is that one can become anyone but be no one. Do you remember the fictitious girlfriend of the football player? Once a blind date told me he looked like Gerald McRaney; I, in turn, told him I looked like Sophia Loren. It was a most amusing date. We laughed a lot about the stupidity of pretending when seeking a companion.
I have no interest in delving into anyone’s private life. Young people would probably well benefit by completing a course in high school about marriage followed by a responsible sexual education class. Key words to understand in marriage class would include commitment, communication, moral conviction, compatibility, compromise, honesty and, most of all, maturity.
Ann Bednarski of Carson City is a career educator and journalist.