Alright, Christians, let’s do it.
Let’s drop the word “Marriage” all together.
As I explained when I posted my most popular article on my old blog, our culture seems to be very confused about what marriage is supposed to mean.
Many people–along with the government–believe it’s about some flimsy, pleasurable feeling they call “love,” which couples can fall in and out of.
And, for some reason, thousands of people line up at courthouses across the country each year to sign pieces of paper asking the government to approve of those feelings. (Well, that is until the feelings change. In which case they will line up at the courthouse again, to make sure the government knows they don’t “love” each other anymore.)
It’s very strange, but that’s what many people think “marriage” is.
So, I started wondering… how do you even begin to correct the misunderstanding of literally millions of people from here to Europe?
Sure, there are modern-day philosophers like Ryan T. Anderson and Voddie Baucham and Matt Walsh who are trying their best–with all the patience they can muster–to explain that “gay marriage” makes about as much sense as “square circle,” but the culture just isn’t listening.
Too many confused, “compassionate” folks believe they know exactly what love and marriage are, and gay people need to participate, gosh darn it!
If a couple of adults want to have sex, then they ought to be awarded a government certificate for it!
And so those compassionate folks keep screaming EQUALITY EQUALITY EQUALITY louder than anyone else can point out, “Yeah…except your version of ‘marriage’ isn’t equal to the traditional Christian one at all.”
So why don’t those of us who “get it” simply change our own terminology?
Wouldn’t that be easier in the long run?
I’m serious. I’m going to stop referring to myself as “married” and call myself “United in Covenant” instead. The term “Covenant” would offer much more helpful information than the basically meaningless, tax-status word “marriage” does.
Why tell people “I’m Married,” as if they care about my various government contracts?
You might as well shake someone’s hand for the first time and say:
“Nice to meet you! I have three kids, and I just applied for a passport!
…So tell me about YOU! What sort of forms have YOU been filling out?”
Your identity has very little to do with the government business you’re handling. (I hate to break it to you, but nobody really wants your license plate number, either.)
BUT, if you’ve made a Covenant recently–well, that’s a bigger deal.
Covenants are more exclusive. Covenants are much harder. Covenants were designed by God to move us toward holiness, which means stripping away our selfishness and replacing it with grace… (That process is usually painful.)
Most importantly, Covenants have nothing–NOTHING–to do with the United States Supreme Court.
I bet Christians would start getting some attention if (when asked, “Are you married”) all of us said, “Well, we formed a Covenant in 2008.”
I bet a few people would ask you to explain a little further…
But we would need to make it part of our everyday dialog, in order to get any cultural traction.
What if we asked young, engaged couples for clarification when they started showing off their ring?
“Congratulations! So, are you engaged to be married? Or are you engaged for a Covenant ceremony?”
(On second thought, maybe we should hold the “congratulations” until after we get the answer. “Congratulations on the right to transfer property if you die!” Weird.)
But, we should encourage couples who are taking the leap into Covenant because it has huge physical, emotional, and spiritual consequences.
And it’s hard.
There is no simple “undo” from a Covenant–which means you’re bound for life. One flesh! And there will be days (weeks? months?) when one or both want to give up…
We need to celebrate with young couples entering into Covenant, because (as the two enjoy their One Flesh relationship) there’s the possibility they’ll create new life! And children are hard–but worth it.
Perhaps we’ve allowed “Marriage” to be transformed into a glorified dating relationship, but the Husband-Wife Covenant always has been the same. It’s much, much more than a contract involving property and savings accounts. In fact, it’s even more than whatever gay rights advocates want to call “love.”
Maybe the best way to show the difference is to stop using the vague, hijacked word “marriage” completely.
But I’m going to need other Christians to join me, for this to work. Are you willing to start referring to Christian unions as “Covenants?”
Do you believe there’s a difference between the papers we submit to the courthouses, and the vows a man/woman make before God? Will you be faithful to your spouse–always hoping and always persevering–until one of you dies, regardless of how the government defines your relationship?
Then tell the world about your Covenant!
Anybody can get “married.” (And, pretty soon, anyTHING will be eligible for marriage as well. Because Equality.)
But, if your relationship to your spouse is different from whatever they’re debating in Washington–then maybe it’s time to call it by a different name, too…
But a Holy Covenant is a different story…