On Marriage as Vocation
By Dave Leal
This Grove Booklet in the Ethical Studies series (No 100) sets out to respond to two trends. The first is the trend towards individual freedom in relationships which leads to more frequent cohabitation and divorce and the second is the idolatry of marriage which fails to see the need to demonstrate to people the real significance of marriage to them as well as to society.
It looks at what it terms the "internal goods" of marriage - the benefits it brings to a couple, the motivation for getting married. Marriage can be seen as a vocation, or a journey entered into voluntarily, which requires us to grow and change in response to life together. When a couple consent to marry, they are committing themselves to their relationship, whatever it may become and to an to an open-ended future.
Unless the value and viability of marriage is recognised by individuals and society, it will be rejected and replaced by alternatives such as cohabitation. Everyone has a vision of marriage, but what is important is whether that vision will sustain a couple through the challenges of life, or whether they will give up when things get too tough.
I found this book tremendously encouraging in its affirmation that there is something quite distinctive about marriage, with has more to do with commitment and fidelity, than compatibility, child-rearing or social status. It makes a valuable contribution to the understanding of marriage and has much to offer those who are trying to inspire couples with the possibilities and realities of married life. Price £2.50
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