I was just having this random thought today. Anything that can be considered a cultural thing is an invention of man. For example, whether you eat with your hands or with a knife and fork is cultural. How you speak to people older than you is cultural. Whether you shake hands or hug is cultural.
Marriage is not cultural. A lot of the trappings of marriage are cultural. The form which the ceremony takes, even the interactions of the husband and wife for the duration of their marriage might be largely dictated to by culture, but the concept of marriage itself is not a cultural human invention.
Cultures can even twist marriage. They can add things on to it that God didn’t invent, like polygamy or gay marriages. Those, too, are cultural things. But still marriage itself is not an invention of humans.
It’s amazing to think that every culture in the world consists pretty much entirely of things conceived of by humans, when you realise just how many different cultures there are and how complex they all are! But they all have a concept of marriage, and none of them invented the idea. Marriage is one of few things God gave us at the beginning of time, other than His love and the earth itself of course. Everything else, we have developed over the intervening millenia.
The reason I was thinking about this is cause I have some friends who think the church pushes marriage a bit hard. In churches, it’s often assumed everyone who is single will get married sooner or later, and because statistically most Christians do, it’s mostly a harmless assumption. But I can understand how it would come to be an annoyance to those who actually aren’t all that interested in pursuing the idea of getting married, in the near future or later.
But if marriage is not a cultural thing, then the expectation that it will occur one day is not just a cultural expectation. Marriage isn’t just a cultural thing Christians do. Having church services on a Sunday morning is a cultural thing churches do. And usually we expect everyone to be there, even though God never invented the idea. There’s nothing in the bible about Sunday services. But there is marriage in the bible, right in the beginning. So why is it we seem to sometimes find the expectation that we’ll get married more annoying than the expectation that we’ll be at church every week?
Marriage is something God gave us. Clearly it doesn’t happen to everyone, but it does seem to happen to most. To some God will give singleness, but in lieu of that, I don’t find it all that unreasonable to assume most Christians will get married. And that’s before I even start on the whole church being the bride of Christ thing, which isn’t irrelevant, but nor is it the point I’m trying to make. What do you think???