Saturday, September 22, 2007

New Attacks on Marriage

Bavaria: one of the leaders of the "Christian" Socialist Party of the German State of Bavaria has announced that there should be limits on the length of marriages.

Dr. Gabriele Pauli, who has become famous for her unorthodox mode of deportment, her take-down of a political superior through the uncovering of his affairs, and most recently for some of her own sexually suggestive photos, has suggested that marriage should last only seven years.

She feels that conservative public policy concerning marriage is unrealistic and is not in the interest of the people. Pauli, twice divorced herself, stated that after the seven year time limit, a couple may decide whether or not to renew their marriage status for another seven years. She said, "The basic approach is wrong ... many marriages last just because people believe they are safe..."

We must admit that Dr. Pauli is correct in her assessment of the disconnect between conservative lawmakers/commentators and the average citizen. Yet her solution is certainly wrong-headed. Rather than hold people to the ideal of marriage, preserved by the "conservatives", she advocates a lowering of the ideal of marriage to match the lowered expectations of the populace. And why is she taking such extreme measures to remove the permanence of marriage? Because it falsely presents itself as safe? Yet isn't that what marriage does represent? A safety that comes with permanence (think Gen. 2:24).

It seems that Pauli has a completely backward view of marriage. It has become a state of convenience and emotion, a proclamation of love and affection, a linking of two souls as long as they want to be together. Sounds a little flat, doesn't it? My Grandmother once gave me sage advice: Sometimes you will want to be with your spouse ... marriage is there for the rest of the time. It is what keeps you together between the happy times.

It would be naive to think that marriage is sunshine and roses at all times. It isn't. Marriage takes hard work and dedication, and that is in the fun times. Jobs, children, family, disagreements over things like money and how to spend time lead to stress that can tear a marriage down. The veneer wears down with time and the abuse of the world. This is why it is so important to know who you are marrying and how they react to stress. If you have trouble with their reactions before marriage, when hormones and infatuation are blinding you, these things will really get to you later when some of the "fuzzies" wear-off. But marriage isn't about the fuzzies. Marriage is about navigating through life and serving each other in love. For Christians, marriage has even deeper purposes: marriage signifies God's relationship to his people, clarified through Christ's relationship to the Church; and marriage brings two souls together in common purpose to serve God in a certain capacity.

Dr. Pauli has shown herself to be a selfish and sinful person. While that can be said for all people, she has embraced this and wants to make public policy of it. What brashness! The clay says to the Potter, "Not only do I reject the way you made me, but the way you made others. I shall reshape not only myself but all those around me."

Marriage has been redefined to signify a wedding. Emotion and beauty and ephemeral joy. Alas, it is not to endure! Yet this was never what marriage was really about. Marriage really signifies God's relationship with his people as mentioned above. This being the case, divorce is a plague and says something about both man and God. It makes a (wrong) point that God is not faithful. It is we, not God, who are not faithful. It is we, not God, who divorce and forget covenants.

My suggestion to my married readers is that they foster strong marriages and serve one another in mutual love and respect. Do not do so because of your mood, or because your spouse does. Do not do so because you think it will make your lot better. Do so because you love and serve a faithful God who set-up marriage to be a covenant that represents his covenant with us. May God bless your marriages and give you the happiness and lasting joy that escapes the rest of the world.


j-money said...

did this crazy lady mention why the 7-year mark? Is that the year of Jubilee or something? And did she wait until the 7th year of her marriage to get divorced? Both times? Hmmm, questions to ponder when making someone live by their own rules...

Steven Douglas said...

No, I don't think she gave a reason for why she chose the seven year mark. I suppose it is all very scientific. Yeah, right!