A Good Marriage
Definition of a good marriage
A good marriage is the physical, psychological, and social union of a man and woman for the lifetime of either one of them. This union is an exclusive bond between the man and woman that is to be recognized by them and by the society in which they live as being special. This special status of living in a marital relationship is recognized by the laws and traditions of the land in which the couple reside.
Basic purposes of marriage
This special union has been designed by God for the conception and care of each new generation of human beings. And this special union is to be consummated by sexual intercourse between the man and the woman, which is to be part of the lifetime exclusive bond that they make with each other. This special union of marriage and parenthood is God’s basic calling for human beings. Men and women are created to be partners, particularly as parents, and the context for this special responsibility is a good marriage.
The legal boundaries of marriage
Since the sexual union of men and women has various personal and social consequences that extent beyond themselves alone, particularly in regard to children and the raising of these dependent human beings, it is good for the legal representatives of a nation to make appropriate laws that will govern men and women in their sexual unions and in this special relationship of marriage. These laws are designed to not only protect the children that are produced from the sexual unions of men and women, but they are designed to protect the men and women who enter into such unions, and also to protect society and the communities in which these couples live from undue responsibilities that may come from their sexual unions. So these laws are basically social protections, but they are also psychological and spiritual guidelines for good marital relationships. They can assure each individual in the union that his or her rights and responsibilities in the marriage are clearly established, and that their union is established in accord with God’s plans and will for humanity.
The social responsibilities of marriage
There should not be any doubt in anyone’s mind that children learn some of the most important and basic lessons of living from their parents while they are with them in the home that is provided for them. They have to learn to function as social creatures who know how to use the proper facilities to dispose of their body’s waste and how to eat with other people. They learn a lot of physical skills such as walking, running, getting dressed, and even sleeping. They learn how to talk and to express themselves, and hopefully how to listen. They learn the importance of rules, and how work is done. They learn how to play, relax, have fun, and enjoy the company of other human beings. They learn what it means to love another human being, and what it means to be disappointed by another human being. They learn what it means to trust someone else. They learn the difference between what is basically true and what is basically a lie. They begin to learn the difference between what is right and what is wrong, what is kind and what is cruel, what is respectful and what is prejudicial, and what is hard and what is easy. And many of these lessons are provided to them by their parents who are in this special relationship of marriage before they are ever exposed to any other teachers in the schools of the society in which they live.
Marriage of same sex individuals should be prohibited by law
It should be evident that individuals of the same sex cannot conceive children. It should also be recognized that the pleasures of sexual intercourse are not just for the enjoyment of sexually mature men and women, but that such unions have extensive social and personal consequences. And it should also be recognized that the early training and education of children is best done in a home that is well established by legal, personal, and spiritual principles of conduct that are designed to protect everyone and society for generations to come. The responsibilities and rights of men and women who are committed to each other in marriage should not legally be extended to men and women who cannot fulfill these responsibilities. Few, if any, men and women, are perfect, so there are few, if any, perfect marriages, but the imperfections of human beings should not be so established as to be legalized in marriage. That is why divorce is a legal matter and not just a breakup of a relationship, and why it does not end the responsibilities of men and women for their children.
What makes for a good marriage
A lot of books have been written about this matter, but I’ll just briefly cite a few of the basic factors. A genuine caring for the well being of each person must be one factor in the foundation for a good marriage. This may be known as love, but the quality of this love is certainly stronger than what is commonly recognized as sexual love or sexual desire. And it is the quality of this genuine caring that is protected by the commitment for an exclusive sexual relationship that makes the life-time bond between a husband and his wife. And it is this factor of genuine caring that is stronger than the changing circumstances of the husband’s and wife’s living situation; whether it is a situation of “sickness” or “health”, or “joy” or “sorrow”, or being “richer” or “poorer”.
This factor of genuine caring should be regularly demonstrated in the intimacy of sexual intercourse where the intention of the sexual activity is to give one’s spouse the pleasures of this sexual communication more than to just to receive them. And it is this factor of giving rather than getting that is another important factor in all of the other forms of communication that take place in the special relationship of a husband and his wife. It is these forms of intimate communication that enable a man and woman to really “know” each other, which is a biblical term for “sexual intercourse”.
Another basic factor that makes for a good marriage is having common objectives and priorities for the relationship. If there are basic and persistent differences in these matters between a husband and his wife, they will be pulled apart by them rather than being pulled together. These objectives and priorities may be financial in nature, or matters of faith and belief, or matters of raising their children, or caring for their home, or getting along with the relatives, or matters of work and careers. It is these relative objectives and priorities that can be clarified and merged by regular caring communication.
The last basic factor for a good marriage that I will mention is the gift of forgiveness. Since no human being is perfect and no husband or wife can be consistently caring, we all need to be forgiven from time to time for our unloving attitudes and actions. The active giving of forgiveness may be preceeded by the spouse’s expression of sorrow for his or her unloving attitude or action, but the words “I’m sorry” may not be offered. Nevertheless the gift of forgiveness can still be given. No caring husband or wife should let moments of anger or bitterness infect their relationship for a long time, even over night, when the tension can be relieved by this gift of forgiveness.
Benefits of a good marriage
A good marriage that is established on the personal, social, and spiritual factors that are described above provides men and women with a secure and stable foundation for their ongoing growth and development through a lifetime of changing responsibilities and opportunities. This foundation includes a family that is related to them by inherited characteristics and qualities that are stronger than just those that are acquired through social relationships. A good marriage is God’s nest or basic human community for the care of each generation of human beings that are born into this world. A good marriage provides a real visible model of love, human love for one another and divine love for humanity. A good marriage is a very GOOD gift that a man and a woman can give to each other. It will not only bless them with much happiness during their lives together, but it will also bless their children, the generation of relatives from which they came, and the society and communities in which they live. And these blessings of marriage can be GOOD forever.