Lately, we have been hearing a lot about ‘the sanctity of marriage.’ In particular, there seems to be grave concern that if same sex couples are allowed full marriage rights it will result in the complete desecration of the institution of marriage. But while people banter about the phrase ‘the sanctity of marriage,’ I’m not sure that many people have actually sat down and thought about what it means to them and their own marriage or partnership.
When I looked up the definition of “sanctity” on dictionary.com, I found the following definition: “condition of being inviolable.” Just to be sure, I looked up the definition of “inviolable.” It reads “secure from destruction, violence, infringement, or desecration; incorruptible.”
Considering the divorce rate in this country, it is funny to me that the words sanctity and marriage go together at all. (Not to mention the number of people to choose to remain in an unhappy marriage.) The act of getting married in no way guarantees a happy, successful partnership. It’s not even a guarantee of love. There are too many people who get married for the wrong reasons, and so many factors that can cause a marriage to be unhappy- infidelity, abuse, jealousy, resentment, disagreements about money or child rearing, lack of affection, dishonesty, miscommunication, etc. – that it seems to me instead of talking about the sanctity of marriage, we should be talking about the vulnerability of it.
I don’t know about you, but I don’t know of too many marriages that are completely ‘inviolable.’ Marriages are made up of imperfect people, and like life itself, marriages are fragile. It takes a tremendous amount of bolstering and nurturing by both partners to have any chance of a marriage both being happy and having longevity.
Instead of spreading nonsense about how allowing everyone equal access to marriage will result in the legal union of a man and his toaster, perhaps people should be sitting down with their own spouses and partners and focusing on what they are going to do to strengthen their own relationships. As far as I am concerned, the act of simply being married (whether or not the wedding takes place in a house of God) is not enough to make a union sacred. If it turns out your marriage is one of the 50% or more in this country lacking in “sanctity”, you can be certain it has nothing to do with whether or not Greg and Gary or Lisa and Lucy can legally tie the knot.