As previously discussed in light of the increasingly successful movement to recognize same-sex unions as marriage, defenders of tradition find themselves on shaky ground while trying to preserve marriage as defined in scripture, because scripture has long been abandoned as the basis for marriage. Birth control, the legalization of abortion, the degradation of gender roles — all have removed many of the practical incentives for a lifelong commitment to monogamy. Absent those practical supports, all that is left to bolster traditional marriage is scripture. And who takes that seriously anymore?
Well, we ought to. Advocates of tradition have little else to fall back upon, and perhaps that reveals God’s purpose in the marriage debate. After all the dueling studies and legal arguments, marriage continues to slip away both in definition and participation, leaving us with nothing but the authority of God to rest upon as our first and final argument. Like a rich man made poor, we can no longer rely upon ourselves and must turn to Him for salvation.
Certainly, we could make the case for marriage as an ideal. We could ask men to consider how they would want their mothers, sisters, and daughters to be treated and then convince them to model that behavior with their partners. But that style of argument rarely compels action. After all, ideals are inherently unachievable and therefore prove of little practical benefit.
A scriptural view offers something more. By regarding marriage the way Christ regards it, as a model of his reconciliation with the church, we begin to see it not as an ideal but as a picture of the peace we know in Him. Transcending the Golden Rule, we no longer just do unto our wives as we would have other men do to our mothers, sisters, and daughters. We do unto them as Christ has done with us, modeling his love and forgiveness to bring Him honor and glory. Such a view of marriage has certainly fallen out of fashion, yet continues to convey a beauty which transient civil unions never can.