The union of husband and wife in heart, body, and mind is intended by God for their mutual joy; for the help and comfort given one another in prosperity and adversity; and, when it is God’s will, for the procreation of children and their nurture in the knowledge and love of the Lord. Therefore marriage is not to be entered into inadvisedly or lightly, but reverently, deliberately, and in accordance with the purposes for which it was instituted by God.
These words, which follow the well-known “Dearly beloved” in the marriage service found in the Book of Common Prayer, give a perfect summary of the solemnity and importance of marriage. Marriage is not merely a public commitment of love, or an arrangement for mutual financial benefit; rather, it is a sacrament, blessed by the church and witnessed by friends and family who are expected by God to hold the couple to their vows. This concept, “established by God in creation”, is something that seems to be slipping from our understanding, as groups of all sorts seek for recognition of their ‘marriage’.
The intent of marriage is for a man and a woman to become one, through avowal to each other and sealed by the Holy Spirit. Through marriage two people are stronger and better than they were before, as they help each other through life and provide stability for their family and community. It is a serious matter, to be well considered in prayer and discussion, and to be worked at and upheld. Yet it is also perfect joy, for two people to be joined under God’s blessing and to find delight and comfort in each other for the rest of their lives. A true marriage is something that can be counted on, that is strong and reliable and stable.
A civil union is not a marriage. The government cannot bestow blessing on a couple and wish them true happiness in a Godly life together. Only the church can do that, because marriage is and always has been a sacrament. However, marriage is also a fundamental building block of society. A man and a woman who have pledged themselves to each other, and who create a solid home in which they are happy and secure, cannot help but affect those around them in a positive way. Even a small degree of personal security gives one more ability to serve others, so that private harmony promotes public peace. A society based on such a firm foundation will only prosper.
And a society must be governed. For this reason, and because of the church’s fading influence, at this time it seems necessary for the government to consider its self-preservation, and define marriage as a union between one man and one woman, “honored among all people.” Our absolute need to maintain this successful tradition must be reinstated beyond a doubt lest our society crumble.