Sunday, February 18, 2007

Social Commentary from "While You Were Sleeping"

OK. So I'm sitting here watching "While You Were Sleeping" with my wife. Basically, we need to get upstairs and clean our bedroom to make room for the bassinet for our new arrival coming in May, and we're just procrastinating. Anyway, there's a scene with Lucy (Sandra Bullock's character) working in the toll booth for the elevated train in Chicago. Her co-worker first hears that she is engaged and asks her whether she is pregnant. Lucy replies that "you have to have sex to be pregnant." Her friend replies, "I thought you were engaged." At this point Lucy becomes quite uncomfortable. The joke is that it should be obvious to everyone watching the movie that if she was engaged, she should be having sex. Lucy hesitantly says, "Well...we're waiting," to which her friend responds, in a somewhat belittling and surprised tone, "Waiting?"

The whole point of this joke is that nobody should reasonably expect that two consenting and engaged adults would wait for marriage to have sex. This is such a preposterous proposition that it is supposed to be funny. Now don't get me wrong, on the whole I really do think this is a cute movie. But I think it is a commentary on the degeneration of the value of marriage that society as a whole now thinks of waiting for marriage as a joke.

Obviously it is factually descriptive. Most people nowadays don't wait. But what exactly does marriage mean to people today? What is special about marriage anymore? Sex is not reserved for a spouse anymore. By the time most people get married, they have already had at least one if not more sexual partners. So is it the commitment? More than 50% of marriages end in divorce. In fact, many people will advise their friends to just get out of a marriage when the going gets tough. People aren't willing to work at it anymore because they see divorce as an easier option instead of a last resort. If it gets tough, its easier just to give up.

All in all, marriage is just another stage in a relationship nowadays. Its just a thing to "do", like giving you girlfriend your class ring in High School. And it is viewed as just as easy to undo as well. The value that used to be inherent in marriage has deteriorated to virtually nothing.

Remember that marriage is supposed to by the most special relationship in your life next to your relationship with God. There should be things that you share with your marriage partner that you have never shared with anyone else, and you never will. And when you take those vows, its not just a promise to your partner, it is also a promise to God. That is not a promise you are supposed to break. With very few exceptions (I do grant that there are exceptions) you are not supposed to be able to walk away from a marriage. Is it morally right to lie? When faced with that general statement, most people would say "no." But when you divorce someone, you have essentially turned your marriage vows into a lie. But for some reason we think that lie is OK.

Just some food for thought for any of you that are thinking about these issues. If you are considering marriage, make sure you understand what you are promising when you say "I do." And if you are thinking about getting out of a marriage, see your pastor, priest, or counselor first. God bless.

No comments: