Marriage: the agony and the ecstasy
I’d better confess that I am no expert, having only been actually married myself for three years. But what I do know from a life of observing and experiencing relationships is that it represents an idyll, even if complex to achieve and a struggle to sustain. The rewards of security, companionship, love, and more, accompany that complexity and struggle.
Many marriages end in divorce – currently some 34 per cent before the 20th wedding anniversary. This week’s debate, coming in the week of the final chapter of the very public and terrifying public spectacle of the smash up of Chris Huhne’s marriage to Vicky Pryce, describes the pitch to which matters can escalate. In some senses it informed aspects of the debate in Parliament.
MPs themselves live lives, like many of us in many professions, where the job takes a terrible toll on private lives. MPs can boast their own marital difficulties, and many who spoke have experienced them, even if they did not refer to them in their speeches.
But the serial abuse of marriage that divorce so frequently describes, speaks to the frailty of what so many have called “the sanctity of marriage”.
Hence the occasional whiff of hypocrisy that has drifted across the debate about affording equal marital rights to same sex couples. The claim by opponents has been that to allow such marital unions will detonate the “sanctity of marriage”. Given the record of heterosexuals in the matter, it is hard to imagine that same sex couples can do much to make things worse.
The final 400 to 175 vote in the Commons appears to have been a resounding victory for democracy. The opening of the opportunity for everyone – irrespective of sexuality to partake in the complexity, struggle, and rewards of marriage – would seem to represent one of the great milestones in our socio-economic development.
Unless one is an opponent, in which case damnation presumably awaits us all.
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