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Good Enough For Now

Last week I bookmarked an article I found on FoxNews. The article, entitled “”Til Death Do Us Part’ Is Dying Out” says that “‘Til death do us part” is going the way of “to honor and obey.” That is to say, of course, that it is going the way of the dinosaur. It’s dying out. It’s disappearing. Buh-bye.

“Vows like ‘For as long as we continue to love each other,’ ‘For as long as our love shall last’ and ‘Until our time together is over’ are increasingly replacing the traditional to-the-grave vow — a switch that some call realistic and others call a recipe for failure.” In other words, husbands are now pledging themselves to their wives she gets fat or until she puts her foot down about that new car. Women are promising to love their husbands until he loses his job or until, well, until something better comes along.

Years ago I bought an album by that phenomenally talented singer and songwriter, Weird Al Yankovic. My favorite, which my parents also loved, was called “Good Enough For Now.” It seems that satire has become reality.

Oh, I couldn’t live a single day without you
Actually, on second thought, well, I suppose I could
Anyway, what I’m trying to say is, honey, you’re the greatest
Well, at any rate, I guess you’re…pretty good

Now, it seems to me I’m relatively lucky
I know I probably couldn’t ask for too much more
I honestly can say you’re an above-average lady
You’re almost just what I’ve been looking for

You’re sort of everything I’ve ever wanted
You’re not perfect, but I love you anyhow
You’re the woman that I’ve always dreamed of
Well, not really…but you’re good enough for now

You’re pretty close to what I’ve always hoped for
That’s why my love for you is fairly strong
And I swear I’m never gonna leave you, darlin’
At least ’til something better comes along

‘Cause you’re sort of everything I’ve ever wanted
You’re not perfect, but I love you anyhow
You’re the woman that I’ve always dreamed of
Well, not really…but you’re good enough for now
No, not really…but you’re good enough for now.

I know some people who see their marriage in those terms. They are married because, well, because it’s the thing to do. People fall in love and get married. It’s the Canadian way. But just as it is an accepted fact that people fall in love and get married, so too people fall out of love and get divorced. Again, it’s the Canadian way. You just stay married until something better comes along, whether that better thing is being single or finding love in the arms of another.

“”We’re hearing that a lot — ‘as long as our love shall last.’ I personally think it’s quite a statement on today’s times — people know the odds of divorce,” said New Jersey wedding expert Sharon Naylor, author of “Your Special Wedding Vows,” who adds that the rephrasing is also part of a more general trend toward personalizing vows.

“Naylor said killing the “death vow” doesn’t mean that people don’t take their marriage promises seriously. Quite the contrary.

“People understand that anything can happen in life, and you don’t make a promise you can’t keep. When people get divorced, they mourn the fact that they said ”til death do us part’ — you didn’t keep your word in church (if they had a church wedding). Some people are in therapy because they promised ’til death do us part’ — it is the sticking point in the healing of a broken marriage. The wording can give you a stigma of personal failure.””

This raises an interesting point. Is it better that these people do not make a vow they really do not feel they need to keep? Is it better that they do not bother standing before family and friends and pledging to love each other until death parts them, when in reality they know that it would take far less?

But this is missing the point. It’s nothing but a red herring.

It seems to me that marriage is not up for negotiation. Marriage is not a human institution, but a Divine one. It is not an institution that was created by humans, for humans. Marriage was created by God and only He has the right to define and, if He desires, to redefine it. When God says we can do less than pledge ourselves to each other for a lifetime, we can go ahead and do it. But something tells me that isn’t going to happen. God created marriage as a means of bringing together one woman and one man forever. ‘Til death do them part. Only the gravest of sins can seperate this bond, and weight gain is not one of them. Neither is the appearance of something better.

Aileen and I pledged before our family, before our friends, before our church and before God that we would remain together until we are separated by death. Even in our toughest times we have given no thought to forsaking that vow, for it is a vow we both intend to keep. And with God’s help, we will. And how has this benefited us? Quite simply, it has forced us to work through our difficulties, for we know that we are going to wake up next to each other every morning for the rest of our lives. We have no choice but to make this marriage work. Had we only pledged that we would love each other only until something better comes along, who knows if we would even be together anymore.

The damage done to individuals, families and society by those who feel marriage is a negotiable, malleable institution, is unestimable. Surely there is no greater evidence of the absence of Christian values in our society than the marriage meltdown. Viewing marriage as a temporary refuge, one that exists only until something better comes along, will cause greater and deeper damage. Healthy families are the building-block of a healthy society. How can we hold out any hope for our society when our families are in disarray?

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