Oh the New York Times. It's where I turn from time to time for articles about the culture today. There is always some new description of love, some personal memoir of the culture of use, some depiction of society's confusion.
There it was today -- in the fashion and style section, no less -- a report on the Huffington Post's new divorce site. With a motto -- "Marriage comes and goes, but divorce is forever," one knows that this is not exactly a Catholic vision of the Sacrament of marriage.
The Times describes the site in its opening sentence:
"You don't have to be divorced to be sucked in by the new HuffPost Divorce
Section on The Huffington Post; you just have to have thought about getting
one. Which basically includes every married person on the planet."
The site scrolls down for what seems like forever, each downward motion of the mouse revealing more divorce stories, divorce advice, divorce comfort foods, divorced parenting tips, divorced dating ideas, divorce's effects on children (some say it's good, some say it's bad). Then there's the article on what to do with sentimental post-jewelry. And on and on it goes.
I guess it shouldn't be so shocking, when all we see in our culture is divorce. It has become so commonplace that it's almost expected. In today's culture a divorce page would only be seen as a logical complement to a wedding page, since the two are seen as inevitable counterparts.
Such will be our path unless we see that marriage is something than greater than ourselves. We don't create marriage. We don't even create our own marriage. Marriage, instead is a form, an institution, that we are given the gift of participating in and sharing. In a sacramental marriage, a husband and wife are given the gift of loving each other with the very love of Christ for the Church. This is a love that is total and forever. It can't be dismissed, cancelled, redefined or retracted.
In a valid marriage, therefore, there can be no such thing as an ending. The statement, "Marriage comes and goes, but divorce is forever" shouldn't make people smile with thoughts of its wittiness, but instead would cringe at its inaccuracy and rejection of the gift of what marriage truly is.