Is it too easy to get married?

So yesterday I’m reading “God is not great” by Chris Hitchens when I get to his assertion that the support of the Catholic churches ban on divorce in the Irish constitution was a move to maintain the church’s power in Ireland and that “an Irish woman married to a wife beating incestuous drunk should never expect anything better.”  Now I can’t speak for what the motivation of the Catholic Church is, but the quote misses the point.

Why is this woman marrying a wife beating lush to begin with?  Is it because she didn’t bother to pay attention to how he acted when they were dating.  Perhaps she falls into the “everything will be different once he….” Marries, has kids, gets a better job, whatever.    Did she grasp at what seemed like an escape from a desperate home life with no money, a man that will “save” her?  Who knows what the reason; the question is why are we working harder to help people abdicate responsibility for their own lives?

Getting married is easier than driving a car.

Here in California to drive a car requires months of class room and student driver time behind the wheel, than a written and a driving test.  But that’s not all, once you have a license to legally drive in the state you must also prove financial responsibility either thru insurance or proof of funds available in case you have an accident.

Want to get married?  Blood test and sign a document and pay the fee.  That’s it, that’s all- no classes necessary, no showing you’re capable of making a marriage work, no proof of financial responsibility. 

Are you kidding me?

Why are we not pushing people to make better decisions instead of working harder to eliminate the consequences? Mr. Hitchens can rant about the big bad Catholic Church “forcing” people to stay in bad even horrible marriages but ignores that religion does, and those that don’t should, expect families to stay together but that’s already half way thru the process.  Instead let’s go back to the beginning.

Long before the possibility of marriage comes into the picture Christianity lays out a very detailed list of requirements before even considering marriage.  From the admonishment not to marry someone that does not believe the same things, to how husbands and wives are to treat each other, detailed guidelines are laid out.

So why isn’t the church, and parents doing their job?  A handful of classes at the local sanctuary are not enough.  Church leaders need to be putting a hard line on the requirements.  Financial, moral, and emotional stability should be minimal requirements.  Christians should be pushing for tougher requirements to getting married.  But we don’t because it’s love.  We see no problem with 1,000 page documents spelling out what a bank must do (yes we are talking about people’s financial well being), but isn’t the toll on the individual, the family and the community much higher when marriages fail versus Bear Stearns?

We should be less worried about making getting out of a marriage easier, and focus on making getting into a Marriage harder.