They Say Marriage is a Dying Institution: What's Really Dying is Love
good feeling? Nope.
That doesn't mean that the love of a husband and wife should be devoid of good feelings, or that the spousal relationship should be tepid and boring. Emotional barrenness is not inevitable and certainly not God's plan for spouses. But like all of life there are changing seasons; there are highs and lows; there are easy times and trying times; there is happiness and sadness - you get the idea. Those who head for the door when they aren't feeling it anymore will never reap the rewards of love.
Dr. Ablow says, "The third reason marriage is a dying institution is because it inherently deprives men and women of the joy of being 'chosen' on a daily basis." (Here again, marriage is a thief stealing something precious from us. Sheesh.) Well, boo hoo. So none of us should have to feel obligated to stay if we don't want to anymore? If we don't feel especially "chosen" this week, we should be able to leave in search of someone who will stroke our ego?
I don't want the guy who won't hang around through the tough times. I don't want the guy who's going to split when someone prettier and more tingly with excitement over his greatness comes along. I want the guy who has the steel to stand by me, keep his vows, and honor his commitment particularly when it doesn't feel good. I want the guy I chose when I promised to forsake all others.
And by the same token, I want to be the woman who does the same for her man. That means I'm gonna have to learn how to love, and it'll be painful at times, because Love will entreat me down off my throne and smash my selfishness to bits. But only little by little, day by day.
I also want the guy who will choose to love me when I'm not very lovable. I want the guy who will keep walking with me through the hard times, being faithful through the empty times because he believes that Love will breathe on us again and the delights of passion will warm us again, even if more mellow than when we first began. (Like a good wine, Love ages sweetly.)
I want the guy who wants to learn to love, because he values Love and knows that Love is the reason for living. If that sounds like a greeting card cliché to you, too bad. Love is the end-all and be-all.
The sad state of marriage today has nothing to do with it being outdated or confining or passion-killing. It has everything to do with people who are no longer willing to love each other because they no longer understand what Love is, nor do they know Who Love is. It has everything to do with people being slaves to sexual desire and desecrating the beautiful gift of sexual love that brings forth new life.
No, Dr. Ablow, marriage is not a dying institution. What's dying is our respect for each other and our reverence for human life. What's dying is our willingness to sacrifice, to serve, to remain steadfast, to keep our vows. We are weak with self-gratification and a toddler's attention span. We have no faith that deserts can bloom, ice can melt, storms will pass, and wounds can heal. What's dying is our love.
Dr. Ablow concludes, "It's only a matter of time now. Marriage will fade away. We should be thinking about what might replace it." Marriage is in serious jeopardy, no doubt. If it dies, it will not be due to any inherent defect of its own but because we have ceased to try to conquer our defects. It will be because we gave up the struggle of love.
With what, exactly, shall we replace Love?
Jennifer Hartline is a grateful Catholic, a proud Army wife and mother, and a happy chocoholic. She is a contributing writer for Catholic Online. Visit her online at Wordpress and at MCH.
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Pope Benedict XVI's Prayer Intentions for January 2013
General Intention: The Faith of Christians. That in this Year of Faith Christians may deepen their knowledge of the mystery of Christ and witness joyfully to the gift of faith in him.
Missionary Intention: Middle Eastern Christians. That the Christian communities of the Middle East, often discriminated against, may receive from the Holy Spirit the strength of fidelity and perseverance.
Keywords: marriage, divorce, love, sex, children, family, Dr. Keith Ablow, dying institution, jennifer hartline
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