I am reading Elizabeth Gilbert's new book Committed. It is a wonderful book about love, relationships( all types), divorce and marriage. I love Elizabth's description of the history of marriage.
Just to be clear-Christian leadership decided that marriage was a scared union only very recently. The early Christian fathers demonstrated a serious aversion to marriage, believing instead that the only truly sacred state of being was lifelong celibacy and fellowship (in imitation of Christ and the angels.) For the first thousand or so years of Christian history, the church did not concern itself with the business of marriage at all, because marriage was not seen as a sacrament (as opposed to baptism, say, which was always a sacrament); instead, marriage was considered a worldly and secular affair, that had everything to do with sex and property and taxes and women, and nothing to do with the higher concerns of divinity. That changed in the year 1215 AD, when the Catholic church officially took over the marriage business, as a means of exerting greater control over the unions and divorces of European royalty. And since then, Christian leadership has embraced marriage and preached marriage and now is even "defending" marriage. But all that Christian reverence toward marriage is very recent-certainly in contrast to, say, Judaism, where marriage has been considered a noble union for thousands of years (although even in ancient Hebrew society, the union was never considered inviolably sacred: there was always provision for divorce.) I am not saying that marriage shouldn't be seen as holy or sacred, but I object when those words are used as weapons against individuals within something that should be a private union, and that is almost invariably a complicated one. Elizabeth Gilbert