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While at the gym today, a talk show played on the TV above my treadmill. The title for the segment was, "Is Marriage Outdated?" I couldn't hear the audio, but I read along with the captioning. Several guests were on the stage with various beliefs on the institution of marriage. One woman said that she does not believe in marriage. She said she believed that couples don't have to be married to raise children effectively. The man sitting in the middle explained that he and the mother of his daughter always try to behave in an appropriate manner when they are around his daughter. He said he doesn't want her to grow up thinking relationships are bad. He even said at one point, "I don't want my daughter to date men like me."

The other lady said that she believed in marriage, but she wasn't sure how she could stand in front of someone and promise that she would feel the same way about him that she does at this precise moment. They went on to talk about how marriage today is a contract, and that marriage can mean financial security. As the segment went on, audience participants started sharing their feelings. One lady said that she and her boyfriend have a one year old son, and they were planning on getting married, but they were going to wait until the time was right. Another woman stood up and talked about how she and her husband got married so her child and she would all have the same last name.

The entire time, my heart was grieved. Recently divorced, I know how hard marriage is. I also know marriage is not about anything these people are talking about. No wonder these people aren't married, or they haven't been able to make a relationship work. Every single one of these people view marriage selfishly. It's all about them. Not one of them ever said anything about the other person in the relationship. Marriage isn't - and can't be - about yourself. We live in the "me" generation, and it is all too evident in marriages today.

The guy who said he doesn't want his daughter to date men like him exemplifies this selfishness. If he doesn't want her to date men like him, then why is that not enough for him to change himself? He should be the types of man that he does want his daughter to date. But he is too wrapped up in doing what he wants to do to change himself to be an example to his daughter. He refuses to give her a solid, positive example of what a relationship should be like, much less a marriage.

Marriage is about two people. It's about a relationship with the other person. It's about love and choosing that person. It's about a commitment to that person forever. How can someone stand in front of God, friends and family, and swear that he or she will feel the same way in 10 years? It's through God, and it's by choosing to put that person's needs and desires ahead of your own. That's what love is in the first place. It's not the warm, fuzzy feelings when you get around that person. It's not the euphoria you feel when near that person.

Marriage is a covenant - not a contract. A contract is you get a certain percentage, and I get a certain percentage. A contract is selfish. I'm in it for me, and you are in it for you. Therefore, I have to protect my investment. How can that ever lead to a meaningful and fulfilling relationship? Conversely, a covenant says that I give you 100 percent, and you give me 100 percent. I'm in it for you, and you are in it for me. Therefore, I protect you, and you protect me. That's how marriage was designed, and that's how God always meant for it to be.

When two people are in a covenant marriage where God is at the helm, then there's no way that it can fail. It's not always going to be easy, but when your eyes are turned away from self, and they are permanently affixed to God, then marriage works.


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