For example, once we get used to a one-year commitment (which we can abandon once the contract ends), it won’t be long until we are looking for even shorter commitment periods—perhaps more like an extended test drive than a rental contract to begin with.
Television is full of advertisements for car dealers that offer “extended test drives” so you can be sure you’re getting the right car. Under the terms of these short agreements, an automobile consumer could test drive three or four different cars during the same one-year period while a furniture customer is stuck with one green couch during the entire time.
Is this what marriage has become? Has it been reduced to a rental agreement or an extended test drive?
What happened to the words, “For better or for worse”?
Marriage itself has not changed—it is still the relationship where a man and a woman promise to be faithful to each other, and to love and sacrifice for each other…until death. And when both spouses remain committed to the relationship and weather the storms and the calmer seasons together, the institution works.
So marriage hasn’t failed—but our commitment to what marriage is often has. Marriage does not need fixing. Rather, we as individuals and as married couples need fixing. We must respect marriage and the challenge that marriage calls us to make: namely, to sacrifice, love, and commit to another person for life.
We don’t need extended test drives or unions that look like rental agreements—we need fidelity and commitment.