Moral Commitment to Marriage

Moral commitment to one’s partner involves having a strongly held belief in the institution of marriage itself. Generally this includes a religious or spiritual component. But, it also may entail a more utilitarian element. In other words, those who have a moral commitment to marriage believe that it is the best possible option for social and relational existence – whether the rationale derives from religious doctrine, social ethics, or both.

People who have a sense of moral commitment also typically place a strong emphasis on marriage as a contract or covenant. A focal point of the union is the promise or pledge. They believe that righteousness and/or integrity dictate that marriage vows be honored and never violated.

Indeed, those with a moral commitment to marriage view their wedding vows as sacred and binding. They take to heart the promises to love, comfort, hold, keep, honor, cherish, and forsake all others. They genuinely obligate themselves to this state until death in any and all circumstances including: for better or worse, richer or poorer, and in sickness or health.

Biblical Christianity holds that marriage is a holy ordinance of God. It is an exclusive, life long relationship between one man and one woman for the purpose of companionship, mutual assistance, sexual expression, family development, and social stabilization. It is portrayed as not merely the ideal for humankind, but also as the expectation for believers. Likewise, Scripture teaches that divorce is not an acceptable option except in the tragic cases of sexual infidelity or desertion by one’s partner. What God has joined together, man should not separate.

Although not the only form of commitment to marriage, moral commitment has the effect of providing a great sense of stability and permanency to the union. In times of difficulty when feelings falter, intimacy wanes, passion cools, or other trials befall the relationship, the couple with a moral commitment to marriage possesses a deeper devotion upon which they can stand. It provides a basis of mutual fidelity and security during challenging periods of the relationship – which only last a season until other positive elements can be renewed and refreshed.

Unfortunately, in our culture moral commitment is not valued to the extent that it once was. Many people view their wedding vows, at best, as a traditional expression of affection or, at worst, as a legal formality. Many no longer view divorce as inherently wrong or immoral. Tragically, an increasing number do not even view marriage as a viable or necessary establishment any longer.

It is not difficult to see why practicing committed Christian couples who hold conservative biblical values divorce at rates about 35% lower than their secular counterparts. [See related article.]  They also report significantly higher rates of marital satisfaction and devotion. Their moral commitment and sacred view of marriage provides an anchor of stability and security while others are swallowed up in the relentless sea of moral relativism.

In this series...
Moral Commitment
Pragmatic Commitment
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