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John Bressler - Make marriage much more than just a contract

John Bressler - Make marriage much more than just a contract

John Bressler - Make marriage much more than just a contract

John Bressler


    I was walking to my classroom the other day and, as I passed by another room, a young lady asked if I would step inside. She looked at one of the other students and said, "Ask him." His question, "When you get married and give someone a ring, isn't that a contract?' I started out with an engagement ring, which is given as a promise, and then to the wedding ring, which is a sign and symbol for the bride and groom as well as to the public that these folks are married and plan to be a faithful couple 'til death do us part.
    I was very careful to explain that regardless of the ceremony, our society expects the wedding to be conducted by a recognized and licensed individual and under no circumstances should the couple enter into any legal agreements until that marriage document has been properly filed at the courthouse. Now, that's a contract.
    Another question, "How old is the idea of marriage?"
    I particularly like Genesis 2:18, where this rather gangly clueless Adam is walking around all alone until God announces, "I will make a remarkable partner for him." Now, here is where the translation can be wonderful and extraordinary. Here is the way the last part of the sentence can be read, "Here is the one who completes him!" Eve is not a servant or a second-class citizen, but she is one with Adam. They are the first "soul mates."
    These ancestors were put together by God without rings and without a contract. Unfortunately, God did not give them a book of instructions, but He did allow considerable free will, which has given us more problems than you can shake a stick at.
    To digress just a tad, you ladies need to realize that God has given us men a limited attention span, yet an uncanny sense of direction, as well as an impeccable taste in fashion coupled with an out-of-door fragrance much like the woodland creatures we hunt and eat. There are so many many more qualities I could mention, but male humility and humbleness keeps my ego in check.
    Some students talked about how difficult it is to find someone that they could love, let alone share a lifetime together. We talked some about the ancient and tried-and-true custom of arranged marriages and shared the biblical story of how Mary was betrothed to Joseph. "Really! That seems so odd!"
    I tell them of the conversation between Tevye and Golde, husband and wife from the play "Fiddler on the Roof." Their marriage had been arranged 25 years ago by the Match Maker, a lady in the town who decided these two young people would be just right for one another. After 25 years, Tevye turns to Golde and asks, "Do you love me?"
    "Do I what?"
    "Do you love me?"
    "For 25 years I have washed your clothes, cooked your meals, cleaned your house, given you children, milked the cow. After 25 years, why now?"
    Aside, Golde says, "For 25 years, I've fought with him, starved with him, my bed is his. If that's not love, what is?"
    Turning to Tevye, "I suppose I do."
    "I suppose I do, too."
    Together they say, "After 25 years, it's nice to know."
    A marriage can be nothing more than a contract, binding but unfulfilling. But a marriage with love, sharing, working and cherishing … isn't it nice to know?
    Thank you, God, for one another.

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