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Why Get Married?

Why Get Married?

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“Chupah” by chassidic artist Zalman Kleinman
“Chupah” by chassidic artist Zalman Kleinman

Question:

In today’s world, is marriage still relevant? Unlike a hundred years ago, a couple today can live together without getting married. What are they missing? (This is not a theoretical question for me . . . )

Answer:

Marriage is more relevant today than ever before in history. Marriage used to be a given. Now it is a choice. All the old arguments for marriage have fallen away, and we are left with only one true reason to get married. We can finally get married for the right reason.

What were once good reasons to get married are largely irrelevant today. Here are four classic reasons to get married:

So we can live together. As you pointed out in your question, this reason no longer applies to the many couples who live happily together without getting married.

So we can have children. Again, it is possible to have children and be wonderful parents without getting married.

To make a solid commitment. That’s a charming one. We are getting married to make it harder to walk away from each other. How romantic.

To make our relationship official. You could achieve that by placing an announcement in the newspaper saying, “We are now official.” You don’t need a caterer to serve gazpacho soup in a ballroom just to make it official.

So what are we left with? If not to live together, to start a family, to make a commitment or to make it official, why get married?

There’s only one reason.

Marriage makes a relationship divine. Getting married means that something bigger than both of you is bringing you together. A wedding achieves something that simply can’t happen otherwise: G‑d is introduced into the relationship.

Until they are married, a couple’s commitment to each other is a human commitment, with all the limitations of being human. We can’t see the future, we can’t know what may change and what may eventuate, and we make mistakes. The chupah elevates the commitment beyond human limitations. The blessings made under the chupah invoke G‑d’s name upon the couple, and bring G‑d into the union as a partner. You are married not just because you chose to be, but because G‑d has said so.

Without a chupah, you can have love, commitment and family—but it isn’t holy. Only by standing under a chupah and marrying according to tradition does your union become sacred. Only after the wedding is your love blessed with the divine imprint of eternity.

Aron Moss is rabbi of the Nefesh Community in Sydney, Australia, and is a frequent contributor to Chabad.org.
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Discussion (70)
September 8, 2014
Say I do not believe in God and do not buy that act of marriage makes the relationship sacred. Are you saying that I getting married is redundant if all I am looking for is a "human" ( in the most dedicated romantic sense possible)?

I also have issues with "To make a solid commitment" paragraph. Romantic or not, the act of getting married ( and full realization that getting out of this arrangement is hard) will force one to think twice about getting in the relationship. Through the history, the act of marriage has been a cold blooded ( seeking financial stability, protection, etc etc) decision rather than based on pure love. Only in the recent history both men and women are so independent as to be able to make marriage decision purely on feelings of love.
YEVGENIY FURMAN
Springfield Township
March 29, 2014
Married and can tell you there's no point
I have been married for 12 years, mostly happily. We were in love and married for religious and societal pressures reasons. And I can tell you from years of personal experience, study and contemplation that no one needs marriage to be happy. If anything, commitment breeds complacency and destroys romance. We are now divorcing to live together as an unmarried couple in love. All the while I spent wondering what's so special about marriage, brought me to the conclusion that there's absolutely nothing about this outdated patriarchal institution of coverture that I wish to support. Can't wait to get it out of my life.
Oksana Dashwood
December 11, 2013
Holy Union
Before I read the last paragraph, I would have told you that I would never marry, again. I always thought of marriage for the purpose of raising children and mine are fully grown.
Anonymous
Boise, ID
December 10, 2013
Marriage is a gift from God. He arranged the first marriage in the
garden of Eden and said: That is why a man will leave his father and his mother and he will stick to his wife, and they will become one flesh. When you live together without being married, you do not have God's blessing.
Babydoll
portsmouth, va
August 6, 2012
Why Get Married?
In today's society where the majority of my daughter's friends are living together, and some of them are still together and others have moved on to another partner, I almost believe that this has become a normal part of life. Even though my parents were married for 48 years before my mom passed away and my husband and I are still married after 28 years, deep down in my soul, I still feel strongly that there must be a higher spiritual being bringing two people close to one another, giving meaning to their lives and their children's lives. So, as much as I see and read about people living together, no one could possibly be at peace or feel a sense of higher spiritual value unless they are married in the eyes of the Lord. Everything prior to marriage is based solely on human factors (weaknesses/strengths/etc. We should be looking at a person's soul. We should be able to make Love to a person and not to a body. Being married is definitely worth it! In the eyes of a Holy Being, it is!
B. R. Dungca
Barrigada,, Guam
chabadoregon.com
July 3, 2012
Marraige, Jewish and Hashem
I think choosing the right female for "marraige" is a very difficult thing to do, although a person could probably discipline themselves to love maybe anyone. Personally. now, I believe that if I decide that Hashem wants me to be with this person, that I also love them and that they love me, whether it's finalized by the chuppah and ketubah, once I am intimate with them, that is the marriage and sacred in my view. Never to be treated lightly or irreverently. There is no document or other person that can actually "marry you", it's all in the kavannah or deep intention of the two people involved (with Hashem over all their actions). The rest is icing on the cake.
Shlomo
GTO, Mexico
July 3, 2012
I love this
I love bringing the Divine into a relationship. How precious to know, a Three-fold-cord cannot be broken.
Gloria Urban
Toledo, OH/USA
July 2, 2012
Thank you
very nicely put - so true so simple - which is exactly why all the "intellectuals" hate it
izzy
nmb
July 1, 2012
Did you read the article?
Simply marriage is divine, holy. Argue if you must, but it does not change what marriage is.
Amy
Greensboro, NC
jewishraleigh.org
July 1, 2012
very geshmak!
I realy enjoyed your article, thank you!
Anonymous
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