It seems to me that in all the ongoing discussion about marriage we are losing sight of the beauty, deeper meaning and purpose of this institution that has been the cornerstone of the family, our society and of Western civilization for the last 2,000 years.
My brief discussion will center on the Christian marriage, the main form of marriage in our country.
Christian marriage is not a contract but a covenant.
A contract is a binding agreement between two parties with terms and conditions to be fulfilled and is based in some degree of distrust and is usually temporary.
A covenant, on the other hand, is a newly created family bond between two parties who pledge an oath of fidelity and loyalty before God as a witness. If this oath is fulfilled, God will impart his blessings and protection; if it is broken, God withhold those blessings and protection. A covenant is based on trust between the couple and is a permanent and lifelong commitment.
John Paul II had a further insight about the beauty and meaning of marriage. Marriage, he said, gives a glance of the Holy Trinity, where the Father gives all he has to the Son, the Son gives all he has to the Father and the love that unites them is the Holy Spirit.
In the same way the husband gives himself to the wife and the wife does the same to the husband, and their fruitful love between each other are the children.
Marriage, he also said, is a sign of Christ’s self-giving love for us in laying down his life for us on the cross. In the same way the husband lays down his life for his wife in an act of self-giving love. The wife responds with freedom and love, and this love creates new life.
Anytime we discuss any new definition of marriage, we should try to have a clear understanding of this institution before we draw any comparisons.
Roberto Turnbull, M.D.