If I may be so bold as to make a suggestion: Same-sex unions are not the cause of the death of the institution of marriage.
Two days ago, the Supreme Court of the United States of America issued a ruling that divided opinion the world over, stating that no state within the Union had grounds to deny partners of the same sex their desire to be legally recognised in marriage. So emotive is the subject, that President Robert Mugabe of Zimbabwe is said to have dared President Barack Obama to marry him.
I’ll zero in on one argument: That this ruling marks the death of marriage. I disagree.
To claim that this ruling has effectively killed marriage oversimplifies what marriage is, and what it represents.
I live in a city where at least half the city is tuned into one particular show every morning. The primary premise of the conversations on Maina and King’ang’i in The Morning on Classic105 is marriage. Specifically, failing marriages. You will hear women calling in about their cheating men; men calling in about their cheating women; spouses calling in about how they suspect their partner is cheating on them; sons and daughters calling in about how they saw their parents cheat on each other; wives talking about how useless their husbands are because of their drinking; men talking about how they look forward to time in the bar because they know they’ll get home to a nagging and complaining wife; women boasting about how they go about cheating on their husbands; men bragging about how they have a ‘ka-side-dish’ that treat them like kings… You get the idea. Listening to the show on a daily basis will leave you wondering what the point of marriage is, and whether the grand white wedding is worth anything once the cake has been cut.
Yet the one thing that is common to all these cases are the words “I” and “me”:
“Me I want her to do this…”
“Me I don’t understand why he can’t see my point of view…”
“If it were me, I would never allow him to do such a thing…”
“Kwanza me, this woman needs to know that I am the man of the house…”
It’s all about selfish intent. It’s all about “me I”.
It would appear that marriage is a matter of what “I” can get out of it, and if “I” cannot get anything out of it, then it is not for “me”.
I recall my own wedding to my beloved Queen. Among the bits of scripture that were quoted is that timeless one from 1st Corinthians 13.
Marriage is about love. Love is about giving. Love is about giving even when you have nothing left to give – giving of every fibre of your very being. That is love.
Understanding this allows us to see that marriage is not about what “I” can get out of it, but rather, what I can give to my partner. Marriage, being the embodiment of love, should be the epitome of patience, kindness, humility, forgiveness, protection, trust, hope, faith and endurance.
Yet that is hardly the case in many marriages. Marriages today are about “me”.
That there is what causes the death of marriages. In a world that celebrates “I” and the individualism surrounding it, that very thing is what deals marriages around the world their death blow.
The fascinating irony in this is an observation I’ve made: That in all this, same-sex couples are the ones that seem to have embraced this very idea of love in its ideal form.
I scoured through the net for images surrounding the same-sex marriage debate, and came across two names that seem to represent many same-sex couples’ stories I have come across: Jim Obergefell and John Arthur.
I’ll give you the short version: John was a dying man. Jim was the man that loved him. Jim put everything he had on the line, simply so that the state of Ohio could recognise his union to John as legal. It was the one thing he wanted for the two of them. He sued the state, and pursued the case all the way to the highest court in their land. It’s because of Jim that we’re having this chat right now.
Not once did Jim give up. He trusted. He hoped. He persevered. To the very end.
Would YOU do that for your marriage? Would YOU put everything you have on the line for the one you chose to love?
So perhaps we’re not angry at the SCOTUS for their ruling on same-sex marriages.
Perhaps we’re not angry at same-sex couples for what they have chosen to embrace.
Perhaps, just perhaps, we’re angry at ourselves for failing to embrace marriage in what it is meant to represent: A deep love, like that Christ has for the church.
Perhaps we’re angry at the fact that we continue to fail to love as Christ loves the church – both within our marriages, and in society.
And this anger is perfectly fine – anger is a fundamental human emotion. We are, after all, made in God’s likeness, and He too gets angry.
BUT: “In your anger, do not sin.”
Allow me to be clear: I believe in marriage in what I perceive to be the Biblical sense of it – being a bond between man and woman. Of that, I am not ashamed.
But in that very Biblical frame, that does not mean that I will be unkind to another human being. No. Neither will I be impatient, rude nor sinister in my words and actions.
In all, I have been called to love. And I will be love.
No, the death of marriage is not because of homosexuality.
Marriages continue to be killed by us because we choose not to be love.