The Insanity of Matrimony

The Insanity of Matrimony February 14, 2011

Happy St. Valentine’s Day people! Hope you’ve got a incredibly good-looking babe for a girlfriend or boyfriend or husband or wife!!!!!

Ahem. Moving on…

Perhaps the most potent fuel thrown on our ever-increasing and nationally-embarrassing divorce rate is the over-thinking of marriage. We think of it as such a commitment that we forget it is only a commitment because it is an adventure, and there is nothing more difficult to walk away from than an adventure. We hold it to be such a sacrament -which it is- that we forget it was only made a sacrament because something as impractical and daring couldn’t be sustained otherwise. And I say impractical because it truly is, aside from those outdated aims no longer important in the modern world: civilizing men, love, raising sound children and such trifles. It is biologically impractical for us to be built for monogamy, and physically, socially and just about “everythingally” impractical for two fallen human beings to pledge to love each other until they are killed-or kill each other.

That is why marriage is so awesome and beautiful: it can only be a mad act of passion, and because we have elevated it to such high heights of the sacramental, it is one of the few acts of passion with a wonderfully good chance of success. The liberals grumble about it being an antiquated, oppressive and inescapable institution – hear them cry Patriarchy! – and while this cynicism does not always cross over to the Christian camp, the fear does. It is what leads to the careful evaluation, sorting and testing which make the thing as exciting as tap water or a demotion. The happy truth is that, yes, it is indeed an institution! Not antiquated, but so clearly correct and durable that it has survived long enough to be called such. The inevitable truth all forward-thinking progressives must face at some time or other is that the “old-fashioned” must have survived much greater attacks than progressivism to be awarded the status of “old-fashioned”.

You know who this is. You know
what she’s doing? Getting a
Catholic marriage. Catholics-1
Secularism – 0

The fact that marriage is indeed an ancient institution only further glorifies it. G.K Chesterton, whom a YouTube commenter – that strange, psychotic breed – called a “fat, racist, loser excellently representing most Christians”, and who – in other news – is the greatest writer the world has ever seen, reminded us that it is only in moments of insane passion that man creates sane institutions. We like to think of a child as wild and free, and in some senses this is true. But it is the same wild freedom of the child that would create the most rules the world has ever seen. It is the child that creates the sacred institution of don’t-step-on-the-cracksism, and we’d be hard pressed to find more oppressive dogma in all the churches of the world. Give a child a game with no limits and you’ll bore him; give him limits on where to step, what not to say; give him an oppressive institution and you’ll have a happy child. Out of freedom and spirit comes institution. Only out of the mad rush for freedom that was the French Revolution came something as institutionalized as the Republic. Only out of the wild American Revolution was there to be an organized America.

So it is with marriage. Unless it comes from the insanity of love and the spirit of adventure for which it was meant, it will never become the solid and steadfast institution that will stand the test of time, children and mortgage. No amount of time will ever tell us what living a lifetime with someone will be like. It is something that, by its very nature, simply must be done.

So, lovers; marry. In a world insistent on making marriage boring, childless and designated for 35 year-olds in need of a tax break, in a world of indecision, Catholics need to remind the world why we bind ourselves to each other. It is because we love. It is because marriage is a sacrament – like the Eucharist – and should be taken with all the joy and all the impulsiveness of going to daily Mass. It is because marriage is a vocation, a calling from God, a divine set of marching orders that lead to happiness and holiness, and thus shouldn’t be put off for the sake of fear, for the sake of money, for the sake of opinion, but should be taken up in love and defiance. I mention the latter, because I do believe Catholic lovers should marry, if only to annoy the co-habitaters in the apartment upstairs. Let’s be a happy, head-over-heels sign of contradiction.

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