I was speaking with my Psychology Professor at college about the teaching on the Indissolubility of Marriage. Her initial reaction was to utterly reject it by saying that it was totally out of touch with reality, but I pressed her to consider it at leisure and give me some constructive feedback. She got back to me a week later and told me that she thought this was the most revolutionary thing she had heard and went on to give me a psychological explanation of why the indissolubility of marriage should be retained and even encouraged. In fact, she’s even going to tell her son who’s recently been engaged.
She reasoned that intimacy is directly proportional to trust, which is the result of commitment. In a Live-in Relationship, since the level of commitment is low, it will take a lot of effort to build the level of trust to a point where intimacy can really flourish. In a Married Relationship where the option to walk out is always looming like the Sword of Damocles, the level of intimacy won’t be able to reach the heights that it could when compared to a relationship where the spousal commitment to each other was total and lifelong with an indissoluble bond. After all, why would one take the trouble to invest in opening up all the areas of oneself to share them with another person who may not even be there tomorrow, and who could in fact use the information to blackmail them later… for intimacy only grows in vulnerability. She went on to explain a Theory in which Commitment and Intimacy were two legs of a Tripod upholding a balanced Marriage, the third being Passion. If any of these three legs were unstable, the marriage would suffer.
Having the option to opt out of the marriage can also weaken the marriage bond; as at the first sign of difficulty, rather than take the trouble to work on the marriage, either partner throws in the towel immediately. An indissoluble marriage requires one to close every exit route; so that each partner will try their level best to work on their marriage, and if it still goes through a rough patch, they will do all in their power to save their marriage. This is just like the captain of a ship; who since he is required to go down with his ship, can therefore be trusted to navigate vigilantly, and in case of an accident, to put his life on the line to save his ship from sinking. It can be contrasted with the attitude of the passengers who at the first sign of danger will abandon the ship for the life-boats.
Besides, how unromantic to be standing on one’s Wedding Day committing to be there for each other only through the good times, in plenty and in health… but not when you need each other the most in bad times, poverty and sickness. Finally, the Lord is absolutely unambiguous that in the New Covenant, ‘What God has joined together, man must not put asunder’.
However, weddings may – but marriages don’t just happen; they take working at. It includes a regular commitment to deal with issues, and repair and strengthen this most sacred bond, made once and forever before the altar of God. In cases where it really does become unworkable, the option is always there to live separately while leaving this bond undefiled. The greatest inspiration for me will always be my own parents who after 31 years of marriage are still together. It really is God’s grace… and I can see how difficult it still is at times; but I’ve learnt the greatest lessons in adjustment and giving one’s life for another from them.
May the good Lord grant the grace of Fidelity to all married couples, and to those contemplating marriage. To God be all the glory.