Mae West once said, "Marriage is a great institution – but who wants to live in an institution?" Proclaiming the institution of marriage was under threat, Leon Jameson Suseran told the editor of 'Stabroek News' in 2007, "World Marriage Day 2007 was celebrated on Sunday, February 11, 2007. It is an annual celebration, more so by the Church, to remember the vocation and Sacrament of Marriage … The Catholic Church is one of the few churches that believe marriage is a Sacrament, meaning that it was instituted by Christ, and special graces accompany it. 

"Marriage is described as a vocation. God calls everyone, some to the priesthood and religious life, and most to marriage … Today (back in 2007) many marriages are on the brink or falling apart … The institution is indeed falling apart. And it is because these marriages have little or no place for God, who Himself instituted it. The Church is very concerned about the institution of marriage, as it is concerned about other institutions like the family … More and more divorces are taking place (which the Church strictly forbids) … It is fair to say that the future of this institution is very uncertain." 

It had been said, "Marriage isn't a happy ending – it is only a happy beginning. Marriage is a trial, anywhere, under the best of circumstances." Norman Vincent Peale reminded readers in 1971, "Marriage, perhaps more than any other human relationship, requires compromise. It is a partnership in which individual selfishness has to be surrendered for mutual gain. Marriage has no place for compulsive, uncontrolled self-centeredness on the part of either husband or wife. 

"The heart of a good marriage is the 'we' feeling; everything really depends on it. If 2 people love each other in such a way that they think themselves as 'we' instead of 'I' or 'you', then they have the power to solve almost any marital problem that comes along. They are united as a team and nothing can come between them, not money problems, sex problems, or in-law problems, for they know how to solve their problems together as mature, reasonable people. 

"The 'we' couple grows along together, as the circumstances of life bring viewpoints and interests. One partner never lags behind while the other marches ahead. And marriage is not a contest of wills, but an equal partnership in which each must share and share alike, the rewards as well as the sorrows. Perhaps of all social institutions, marriage is in the greatest state of flux and is also the most complex. But it is at the same time the greatest challenge and also the most rewarding." 

In 1980, George Segal and Natalie Wood played an upper-class middle-aged couple in the motion picture, 'The Last Married Couple In America.' Critic Alan Walentis observed, "'The Last Married Couple In America' has an interesting premise – the decay of marriage as an institution and the effect on contemporary suburbia." Vincent Canby of the 'New York Times' added, "Gilbert Cate's 'The Last Married Couple In America' written by John Herman Shaner, belongs to that genre of popular comedy that examines faddish contemporary behavior to discover that traditional ways are still the best. Comedies of this sort are more often reassuring than funny." 

Gilbert told Wayne Warga of the 'Los Angeles Times' in 1979, "Marriage is the issue of the 1970s and, now, the '80s and by that I include Michele Triola Marvin and Lee Marvin (who were unmarried partners). What constitutes a relationship? What are its bounds? When does it begin and how long does it go on before it's over? What this film does is explore, in a comedic way, marriage in the 1970s." 

John Shaner mentioned, "The script is in some parts quite autobiographical. My wife and I separated once as the couple in this film do. We also had a party in our living room, turned our house over to an actor friend and his wife for the party. We knew that he was a porno actor and that his wife worked as a prostitute. But we didn't know the people coming would be mostly prostitutes. 

"Also, there is a scene in which the husband and wife are propositioned by another couple. That actually happened to us … I think this is a time of sexual reconstruction. Just like Reconstruction followed the Civil War, this is the aftermath of the sexual revolution." George Segal believed, "One of the points this film makes is that some marriages need a little heat to succeed – certainly the marriage in this movie does. It's a sexually charged film as well, and very much pro-marriage." 

The July 1981 Royal Wedding of Prince Charles and Diana was watched by some 28.4 million viewers in Great Britain. Around the world, some 750 million people in 50 countries saw Diana married the Prince of Wales, some 55 million alone in the U.S. and in Australia some 75% of the households with TV sets were counted watching the wedding. In his sermon, the Archbishop of Canterbury, Dr. Robert Runcie, declared, "Here is the stuff of which fairy tales are made: the Prince and Princess on their wedding day. But fairy tales usually end at this point with the simple phrase 'They lived happily ever after'.

"This may be because fairy stories regard marriage as an anticlimax after the romance of courtship. This is not the Christian view. Our faith sees the wedding day not as the place of arrival but the place where the adventure really begins … On a wedding day it is made clear that God does not intend us to be puppets but chooses to work through us, and especially through our marriages, to create the future of his world. 

"Marriage is first of all a new creation for the partners themselves. As husband and wife live out their vows, loving and cherishing one another, sharing life's splendors and miseries, achievements and setbacks, they will be transformed in the process. But any marriage which is turned in upon itself, in which the bride and groom simply gaze obsessively at one another, goes sour after a time.

"Marriage has both a private face and a public importance. If we solved all our economic problems and failed to build loving families, it would profit us nothing, because the family is the place where the future is created good and full of love – or deformed. All of us are given the power to make the future more in God's image and to be 'kings and queens' of love. This is our prayer for Charles and Diana. May the burdens we lay on them be matched by the love with which we support them in the years to come … Thanks be to God."

On reflection, golfer Mickey Wright told Oscar Fraley of 'The Tuscaloosa News' in 1964, "Marriage and golf don't go together. I think that in 10 years of playing on the tour I've gotten too much gypsy in my blood. No I don't think I could stand marriage. But you pays your money and you takes your choice (Mickey picked the Ladies PGA tour). I haven't regretted my decision to stick to golf, although they tell me I might in 10 years or so. I don't know for sure when I'll stow away the clubs … I only finished one year at Stanford but I may go back and take my degree in psychology. Really, I don't know what I’ll do but I don't think I could stand marriage." 

Back in 2008, David Nehen explained, "Marriage is not an immutable concept. Historically, the way marriage has been arranged, entered into, and viewed by government, religious bodies, society, and the entrants themselves has changed considerably. Marriage was, for much of European history, primarily a business agreement. The bride-to-be was chattel (property) of her father becoming chattel of the husband, not unlike buying a horse. That is where the tradition of asking the father for the bride's hand in marriage originated. 

"Frequently marriages were arranged by the families of the bride and groom. Dowries were expected. Marriage has changed since the middle ages. The bride-to-be is no longer considered the property of her father to be wedded out to the best suitor he can find. A dowry is no longer an enticement or requirement to marry. Many of the bases of our laws in the United States, including those on marriage, were imported from our European roots. 

"Marriage is an institution for which one would be hard pressed to historically identify a point of creation. It has a prolonged genesis, really an evolution, over millennia with contributions by various individuals, religious groups, political entities, and society at large. Along the way, marriage has been imbued with both responsibilities and rewards, including legal, financial, and social. In many states, marriage denotes the establishment of community property as well as community debt."

Of the wedding of the 20th century, Andrew Morton made the comment, "When Diana came into the Royal family they expected a little flurry of publicity for the first few months following the marriage and then she would fade into the background. And she would be No. 2, always the supporting act and that's how it was seen inside the Royal family. Well it didn't happen like that. The whole thing just mushroomed so that Diana very quickly became an international superstar and there's a degree of jealousy from Prince Charles about that because he's, as most members of the Royal family are, they are quite vain people. They like to be in the spotlight."

Hugo Vickers voiced, "But she (Diana) didn't really fit into the Establishment. I think the Establishment was always a little bit, say suspicious, but disparaging about her, so that, of course, increase as time went on because the Establishment will always stay where the power is and eventually the Prince of Wales is going to become King. He is the power figure so to some extent she was isolated."

In a debate involving lawyers, sociologists and others took place in November 1979, after Census Bureau figures revealed the largest divorce rate in national history, Professor Judith Younger of Cornell University's Law School told the press, "When you get so many people living in ways the law doesn't sanction it's time for some kind of reform. Basically, there is one model of marriage still extant in the United States. 

"You're supposed to get legally married and it is contemplated that, that marriage will produce children. The modern fact of American life is that people are not sticking to that model. What they're doing instead is living in increasing numbers, of unmarried heterosexual and homosexual pairs. And what's more, those who are bothering to get legally married are engaging in what I like to call serial polygamy (married to more than one wife or husband at the same time), instead of the old one marriage for life. 

"They are marrying and divorcing several mates in a lifetime. There is something wrong with a law which has lost so much credibility as that single model has. People are flouting it right and left, and there is this other aspect: if there is anything we seem to know it is that being a parent, bringing up children, is very, very difficult and not everybody is suited to it. So shouldn't there be some other sanctioned arrangement whereby you can make a living arrangement and not contemplate having children? 

"And shouldn't having children be a special kind of living arrangement, which I would make harder to enter and harder to leave and I would endow with more serious kinds of economic consequences that other living arrangements? If they want to have enforceable economic consequences, they have to move to selfish marriage or marriage for children. Selfish marriage means that you're marrying for the purpose of personal fulfillment and mutual self-expression, not to have children, not to found families."

Blog Archive