Marriage is designed to last. While that's a simple statement, the implausibility of the construct makes it an enigma. How can two completely different adults, with completely different customs, traditions, and rearing, come together in their 20s or 30s and build an entirely new family that not only survives a 50 or 60 year marriage, but thrives and endures after the couple's death? There is but one lynchpin in the whole system that keeps this complex arrangement together: permanence.
On their wedding day, couples promise to love and be faithful to one another until the end of their natural lives. Those two sentences are the bedrock of marriage and it's only when the idea of permanence is abandoned that marriages fail.
The thing is, while many single people loathe commitment, it's that very commitment that holds everything together. 50 years presents endless opportunities for screw ups, for handling situations poorly, and for making mistakes. Yet, despite those hundreds of thousands of errors, permanence holds it all together. Marriage can survive imperfection because both spouses have consented and promised to endure all trials, together, even when the other is causing the strife.
Permanence protects more than just the spouses; it protects the kids. Children are unable to grasp the nature of marriage, and so oftentimes children in broken homes blame themselves. It’s precisely because of permanence that children are able to live with their mom and dad and be nurtured and protected. Permanence binds parents together, working towards the ultimate goal of forming a well adjusted adult.
Without permanence, there is no marriage. Marriage is a safe haven, a refuge, a lighthouse in the storm. When things get tough, it shines it's light into the situation reminding the quarreling spouses that this is a but a small disagreement in the scope of a 50+ year marriage. When permanence holds a family together, all members grow, thrive, and live in peace.
There is great irony in the fear of commitment by single people. These people fear being unable to remain committed, which is ironic because their fear is of the very thing that will keep their marriage together. Permanence isn't a yoke, permanence is freedom. It's freedom to give up everything for your spouse without worrying about being vulnerable. It's the freedom to let your spouse work late, go out for drinks, or take a business trip without constant fear that they're being unfaithful. It's the freedom of the mind that allows one spouse to love the other without the oppressive entrapment of constant questioning. Permanence is what makes marriage and that’s a beautiful thing.
Tags: Friendship Generosity