What Is Marriage: A Legal or Spiritual Event?
March 22, 2017
We’ve all heard that 50 percent of marriages in the U.S. end in divorce. And while that disheartening stat continues to get tossed around, the divorce rate isn’t really at 50 percent — and it isn’t rising either. In fact, a new piece in the New York Times’ data blog Upshot suggests that the divorce rate has actually been DROPPING for some time now. Looking at the numbers, the Times suggests the high divorce rate of the late 1970s and early 1980s may have just been a “historical anomaly,” rather than a trend.
- 70 percent of marriages that began in the 1990s reached their 15th anniversary.
- Couple who wed in the 2000s are divorcing at even lower rates.
- People are marrying later life, resulting in more mature marriages. (The median age for marriage in the 50s was 23 for men and 20 for women. The median age for marriage presently is 27 for men and 26 for women.)
- The feminist movement of the 70s, resulting in more women working has actually improved finances in marriages, which keeps more people together.
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Continued from Above:
In the small but powerful book: The Prophet, writer Kahlil Gibran says about marriage:
You were born together, and together you shall be forevermore.
You shall be together when the white wings of death scatter your days.
Ay, you shall be together even in the silent memory of God.
But let there be spaces in your togetherness,
And let the winds of the heavens dance between you.
Love one another, but make not a bond of love:
Let it rather be a moving sea between the shores of your souls.
Fill each other’s cup but drink not from one cup.
Give one another of your bread but eat not from the same loaf
Sing and dance together and be joyous, but let each one of you be alone,
Even as the strings of a lute are alone though they quiver with the same music.
Give your hearts, but not into each other’s keeping.
For only the hand of Life can contain your hearts.
And stand together yet not too near together:
For the pillars of the temple stand apart,
And the oak tree and the cypress grow not in each other’s shadow.
As we turn corners in American culture and new kinds of families and marriages are on the rise, we can all benefit from understanding the spiritual meaning of marriage. Does it take a document to create what only your soul and God can provide?
In some instances it does, especially if you want to raise a family and begin collecting “things” together. When you do this as an unmarried couple, the stakes of losing what you have if the marriage fails gets greater. But when terms are set before you begin families and businesses together, it is less likely both partner will have a more equitable dissolution, if it happens. Of course, none of us want that to happen, but as a double divorcé, I never wanted it, but it happened without my desire. So, a smart person should to be prepared for all outcomes.
Even the Christian bible says that:
For which of you, desiring to build a tower, does not first sit down and count the cost, whether he has enough to complete it? Otherwise, when he has laid a foundation and is not able to finish, all who see it begin to mock him, saying, ‘This man began to build and was not able to finish.’ Or what king, going out to encounter another king in war, will not sit down first and deliberate whether he is able with ten thousand to meet him who comes against him with twenty thousand? And if not, while the other is yet a great way off, he sends a delegation and asks for terms of peace.
Contrary to all Christian belief, the Buddhists regard marriage as a secular affair. It is not considered a sacrament and followers are expected to follow civil laws.
The Buddha says:(through the Dalai Lama)
Too many people in the West have given up on marriage. They don’t understand that it is about developing a mutual admiration of someone, a deep respect and trust and awareness of another human’s needs…The new easy-come, easy-go relationships give us more freedom — but less contentment.
While Buddhism neither encourages nor discourages marriage, it does offer some guidelines for it. While Buddhist practice varies considerably among its various schools, marriage is one of the few concepts specifically mentioned in the context of Śīla (Buddhist behavior discipline).
The fundamental code of Buddhist ethics, the Pancasila (or five precepts), contains an admonishment of sexual misconduct, though what constitutes such misconduct from a Buddhist perspective varies widely depending on the local culture.
The Digha Nikaya 31 (Sigalovada Sutta) describes the respect that one is expected to give to one’s spouse.
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