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by Jeremy Dys

1393177_96023072For two millennia, it has stood at the apex of human relationships. Every culture has witnessed it and added their own cultural significance to how it is conducted. It has been celebrated and lampooned, but it has survived. It has received the blessing of both Church and State. In recent decades, it has staggered. Culturally “enlightening” ideas of radical feminism, the sexual revolution, and even ‘no-fault’ divorce has all but reduced this venerable institution to its knees. Most recently, one judge (with the backing of four others) allowed for its redefinition.

And yet, it stands. It bows to no man, winces from no blow, and walks with head held high as yet the ultimate union of a man and a woman. No matter what happens to it, I still believe in marriage.

I still believe in that union of one man and one woman that has seen my parents weather 46 years together. I believe in their marriage that steadied a wife to her husband when his heart failed and bound the husband to his wife when cancer dared invade their union.

I still believe in the marriage of a grandfather who mourns his wife who has preceded him in death these dozen years. I believe in a marriage that, when one is taken to heaven leaves one of the “Greatest Generation” in tears at her absence when he holds the great-grandson she never saw. I believe in marriage because he has shown that, “’til death us do part” is not a momentary phrase on the lips, but a conviction of the heart.

I still believe in the marriage of a near-perfect woman to this imperfect man. I believe in the good and the bad, the rich and the poor, and the sickness and health that has been shared by a helpmeet so dear. I believe that my marriage, though imperfect, is the best means by which we teach my four sons what makes a husband, what makes a man, what makes a wife, what makes a woman.

I still believe in marriage as told from Genesis 1 through Revelation 21. I take God at his word that He meant for a man and woman to leave father and mother and be bound to one another. I believe that this is good.

I believe in the marriage bed of Solomon’s Song and the celebration Christ witnessed at Cana as the Son of Man and Son of God. I believe in marriage as the human picture of a God that pursues his people and sacrifices himself as a kindly groom for the good of his most precious bride. I believe in the Marriage Supper of the Lamb and the foretaste of that grand banquet that my humble kitchen table – amidst its din and crumbs – now prefigures. I believe I will sit at that Grand Banquet. I believe marriage protects against infidelity and is the most honorable of all human relationships.

I still believe in marriage as the best hope for my children. I believe a husband like me ought to be bound lawfully (not just genetically) to the children he fathers. I believe I can wrestle my sons better than any man alive. I believe there is something taught to my sons amidst my wrestling and tickling and horseplay.

I believe that I wrestle them better than my wife, but no man – no matter how compassionate – could rival the tenderness by which she heals a scraped knee with a kiss or patiently prepares an over-tired toddler for much needed rest. I believe no man – no matter how well he might sing – can better hum a lullaby to my child than my wife. I believe that my role as husband teaches my sons to be men. I believe that my wife as a wife pictures in real life what they ought to expect in a woman. I believe that, in their mother – my wife – that my sons first learn to protect women, gently treat them, and tenderly provide for them.

I still believe marriage matters beyond the four walls of my home. I believe that it is the last best hope for a government that is overburdened. I believe marriage is the foundation stone for democracy and when marriage is flattened into redefinition by a human government, it is government – not marriage – that is most harmed.

I still believe marriage is government’s best method of connecting men to the children that they father, protecting women from abuse, and creating personal wealth. No government program could ever hope to attain the efficiency by which marriage cares for children, provides for individual happiness, and increases one’s happiness.

I still believe that marriage increases individual liberty and limits the size and scope of government. I believe marriage allows us to assume the paternity of children born to a marriage, rather than force government to determine the same by DNA and courtroom drama.

I still believe that government cannot redefine what it did not first define. I believe the power of the judicial pen is rendered laughably impotent in the face of the Eternal Judge of the Universe that holds those who govern unjustly in derision. Despite his best efforts, I still believe that it is possible to believe in marriage and hold against its imitations without the slightest feeling of animosity.

I still believe in marriage and that means I don’t have much hope for the idea of divorce. I believe ‘no-fault’ divorce has done more damage to the institution of marriage than any alleged bigot or homophobe could have ever conceived. I believe that ‘baby-boomers’ have shamefully served their self-interest and made meaningless the terms, “vow” and “covenant.” In the process, they have damned the generation below them to distrust marriage and invent ideas like, “starter marriage” and “trash the dress.” But, I do not believe that marriage is beyond recovery – for them or for us.

Vilify me, mock me, and force me to submit under penalty of law, you will not change what I believe. Insult me, mock my faith, and use the supposedly limited power of the government to shout me down, you will not shake my resolve to better the loving and lifelong union of one man and one woman. Cite polls, tell me loud enough, long enough, and often enough that redefinition is inevitable, or come up with more variations to human coupling (or tripling, quadrupling….) than Baskin Robbins, I am resolved to support that which makes my grandfather pine to embrace once more, that has sustained my parents these 46 years, and has changed my life over the last (almost) twelve years.

I still believe in marriage. Do you?

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Jeremy Dys is President and General Counsel of The Family Policy Counsel of West Virginia. In addition to his duties of providing strategic vision and leadership to the FPCWV, Dys is the chief lobbyist and spokesman. Dys is regularly featured in local, state, and national print, radio, and television outlets. He lives close to Charleston with his wife and growing family. He is a lead blogger at EngageFamilyMinute.com and host of Engaging the Issues.
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