Wednesday, October 14, 2009

Your Cheatin' Heart

Recently God has been focusing my attention on the Sacrament of Holy Matrimony.  In part this has been because of the changes that have taken place in my own marriage.  The sudden change that takes place in the marriage when a spouse becomes paralyzed can focus your attention on the nature of your relationship and the commitment to the vows you have made.  But lately I have also witnessed more than my share of marriages breaking up for a variety of reasons.

 Over at the Washington Times, Cheryl Wetzstein has been looking into the recent announcement that David Letterman had been found to be cheating on his long-time girlfriend (now wife).  She comments on this by referencing a study done by the University of Chicago on Co-habitation.  The finding show that

"of 3,500 people found that 94.6 percent of cohabiters and 98.7 percent of married people expected sexual exclusivity from their partners.

But the survey found that expecting fidelity didn't mean getting fidelity, especially among unmarried people. Of married men, 4 percent said they had cheated on their wives in the past year. Of cohabiting men, 16 percent had cheated. And of single men with steady girlfriends, 37 percent had cheated."
Perhaps even more astounding is the fact that this tendency toward infidelity does not diminish when those who previously co-habitated finally get married.  Why is this?  The answer is fairly simple.  It is because marriage is created by God for something more simply sharing of expenses.

In the 1549 English Prayer Book, the beginning of the Service of Matrimony reminds all those gathered for the event that
"[Marriage] is not to be enterprised, nor taken in hand unadvisedly, lightly, or wantonly, to satisfy men's carnal lusts and appetites, like brute beasts that have no understanding; but reverently, discreetly, advisedly, soberly, and in the fear of God, duly considering the causes for the which matrimony was ordained."

How often is Marriage undertaken for reasons that satisfy only our "carnal lusts and appetites"?  Does the Church spend enough time teaching the purposes of marriage?  Or have we simply made marriage the door prize for not having sex out of wedlock?

Since the two people who are joined together are intended to live as a Sacrament, perhaps we as the Church need to spend a lot more time preparing couples to live this life according to God's purposes.

Photographs used under Wiki Commons license.

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