There are a number of myths about marriage vis a vis the Bible that I would like to address before I sum up this series. Some of these are more prevelant than others, but I've encountered all of them recently. All of them lead to confusion in society about what marriage is, which leads to confusion about "why" it is. If we can eliminate the confusion by dispelling the myths, there will be less strife.
Myth: - Marriage can be separated into legal and religious components
Actuality: - As I talked about Tuesday, marriage isn't about legal anything. In fact, I'll go so far as to say that if the state conferred nothing that could be construed as a benefit on married couples, I'd be perfectly fine with that. My marriage has nothing to do with tax rates, living wills or estate matters. If the government just did away w/marriage laws and made everyone formally document all these matters, that'd be fine with me. Why? Because marriage was created by God for one man and one woman for the purposes I outlined way back in the beginning of this series. God did not create marriage so Mrs. Northern 'burbs and I could pay less in taxes, or visit each other in the hospital.
Myth: - Marriage should only last while we're "in love."
Actuality: - So called starter marriages are growing in number. Biblically speaking, though, and excepting cases of adultery, marriages are for life. They are not dependent on feelings - which are quite fleeting. Marriage is a commitment, not something you "feel like doing."
Myth: - Religion has no effect on the frequency of marital problems or divorce.
Actuality: - Well, depending on how you look at it, this can be partially true. Faith doesn't completely shield anyone from marital problems, infidelity, abuse or divorce. However, the general understanding that Christians divorce at the same rate as other demographic groups is actually misleading. Nominal Christians (those who call themselves Christian) do divorce at similar rates, if not slightly higher, to those of the general population - much to the delight of militant anti-Christians. However, those who are regular church attenders divorce at a rate much lower than the general population. This is intuitively easy to follow. The more seriously you take your faith, the more it will impact your life. While I will fully admit my sampling here is too small to be statistically significant, of the divorced couples I know, all but one couple fell into a nominal Christian demographic, and rarely were any of these people in church (the other couple was made up of two Evangelicals of the conservative ilk, where she attended regularly and he attended rarely.)
These three key myths Americans hold about marriage need to be dispelled. If we recognize that marriage is something God designed for certain purposes, is based on commitment instead of feelings, and is blessed when both spouses share a dedication to faith, marriage in this culture would be in a much better place.