To have and to hold,
From this day forward.
Whether health is good or bad,
Whether we are financially strong or struggling,
I will not leave you.
I will give all of myself to you,
And to you only.
I will love and cherish you,
For the next two years.
Most of us can’t imagine vows like that, but in some places, we might not have to imagine hearing a man say something like that minus the “JeannaLynn.” Two years might actually be a time frame for a marriage. A number of news sources carried items recently about the proposal in Mexico City to offer a two year marriage contract. Journalist Courtney Subramanian reported for Time’s Newsfeed:
Leftist lawmakers in the city’s assembly are proposing a new amendment that eliminates the eternal bliss component from a marriage contract, providing couples with an easier exit strategy than divorce.
The new legislation, designed to avoid the hassle of the divorce process, would allow for temporary marriage contracts and give couples the freedom to opt out of a lifetime commitment. The reformed civil code would outline issues including custody of children and shared property, but only requires a couple to sign for a minimum of two years.”
We really wish Mexico City legislators had never made this proposal, but they are only reflecting what is happening all around them anyway. We were talking with some friends about this and they indicated that marriages with legally limited time frames already exist in some countries. We’re not sure about that, but the idea was also proposed in Germany in 2007.
The sad truth is, making this kind of law doesn’t change anything. Who needs a new law about marriages ending after two years if a couple isn’t happy with how things are? That’s our culture. That’s what is happening. When first heard and read about the Mexico City proposal, we thought, “But it’s validating the lack of commitment;” but then we are shocked into reality. Divorce happens so much even in Christian homes; it’s already validated. Divorce is actually expected by many among us.
Have you experienced the pain of divorce? Have you been divorced yourself? Are you the child of divorced parents? Do you have divorced siblings? Have some of your best friends split up? Co-workers? Close neighbors? Friends from church? Most of us have. We’ve been sad about it! It’s time to get mad! It’s time to develop some righteous indignation! And our anger needs to drive us to a godly sorrow that elicits change. Not a change in legislators, but a change in our own lives.
Some suggested changes depending on your life setting:
- If you are not married yet, but expect to be some day, educate yourself. If you don’t know whom you will marry, check out FMU!
- If you do know:Get Pre-marriage coaching/counseling. We mean significant, multi-week guidance. We recommend no less than 12 hours! You can’t get too much!
- There is some excellent pre-marriage curriculum out there. Check out Before I Do.
- Read Plan Your Marriage Before You Plan Your Wedding
- If your spouse has been begging you to get some help for your relationship, quit putting him/her off. Get the help, even if you’ve begged before and your spouse didn’t cooperate.
- If you are married but miserable quit being satisfied with “getting by.” Develop a holy, proactive marriage!
- If you have a good marriage, stay proactive to make it better.
- If you have a good marriage let your light shine. Never, ever say to us: “We’ve have a good marriage, we don’t need to be at that seminar.” We can’t tell you how frustrated that makes us because we can’t tell you how many couples need your good example, your encouragement and your light!
- Mentor another couple! Learn how with 12 Conversations.
- If you are divorced and re-married, commit again that this marriage will be your last.
- If you are a church leader, personally encourage every marriage building ministry you can. If you don’t promote it, the sheep you lead won’t participate.
- Never tire of doing what is right (2 Thess. 3:13)