This is a question many are asking today: Why bother to get married when you can just as well live together as a married couple enjoying all the privileges and experiences of marriage without ever taking the trouble to make it official?
This view is perpetuated by many high profile celebrities, not the least of which is Oprah Winfrey and her long standing partner Stedman Graham. In an interview with the New York Post Oprah admitted that she had at times considered marriage but had decided against it. Her conclusion was that the union of marriage was just not for her, although she did have some questions of her own.
Would things be different?
One of the differences Oprah feels would have occurred should she and Stedman have married is that their relationship would have disintegrated and they would no longer be together. Apparently in her view the restrictions of a commitment would have caused one or both of them to break away in search of freedom again. Oprah also admitted that being married would inevitably involve certain implications.
Responsibilities and expectations
When you are married you immediately gain the title of husband and wife. This latter title of “wife” is apparently one of the talk show queen’s greatest anathemas. She does not see herself as a wife, and does not believe that she would be able to fulfil the responsibilities and expectations of a wife. For her and Stedman it does not seem to make sense to be married and they prefer to enjoy the kind of relationship where each is free to come and go as they please without being tied down in any way. Although this relationship may resemble a marriage, in many ways there are some vast and profound differences.
So what is different about marriage?
Marriage is not just a civil union but one which has served as the very foundation of civilization. It is a covenant between two people that is not only a physical union, but also an emotional, and spiritual one in which a deep satisfying love can be experienced when both spouses give and receive from one another. Marriage is the place where unselfish love and commitment can be demonstrated on a daily basis and when children are raised inside a healthy marriage they get a front row seat to see and experience the lasting benefits of a strong family. Ultimately marriage is designed to be a reflection of the unconditional faithful love that God has for His people when he promises that He will never leave or forsake them.