There are presently two competiting notions of what marriage is. One is the sappy Hollywood version. Marriage is about showing your love for one another, and telling each other you’ll be in love with each other always, forever. To see how successful this is, look at how successful Hollywood marriages are. The other view is that marriage is an institution built for life, for better or for worse, upon Christian love, the kind of love Paul describes in 1 Corinthians 13 in some pretty non-romantic terms. He says (in 1 Corinthians 13:4-7) that love is “patient,” that it “does not seek its own interests,” and that it “bears all things, believes all things, hopes all things, endures all things.” Those may sound like sweet things for someone to promise you, but think about the obligation of promising someone else love. It patiently endures all things, even the loss of romance (the foundation of Hollywood marriage), and “never fails” (1 Corinthians 13:8). It doesn’t feel entitled, which you’ll note immediately runs headlong into the “I deserve marriage!” mentality of not a few divorcees and gay marriage activists. There’s an utter lack of “butterflies in the stomach” on Paul’s list.
The Hollywood romantic view (which I’ve heard called “luv,” to distinguish it from authentic love) just doesn’t work. It’s responsible for the Culture of Divorce (since people fall out of luv when the going gets tough), for a selfish and irresponsible culture which prides itself on crazy things like its entitlement to abortion on demand. Gay marriage isn’t unique in this regard. The Hollywood view can offer no resistance to fornication, abortion, adultery, polygamy, and incest (as long as everyone’s in luv), and little resistance to child molestation, as long as the child is “in luv” with the adult (see: the widespread and surprisingly vocal Hollywood support for child rapist and director Roman Polanski).
We’ve been sold the message “Follow your heart.” It’s cutesy sounding, but let’s be realistic. A man with a pregnant, emotional wife at home, and a validating, affirming secretary at work shouldn’t follow his “heart.” He’s almost certainly going to feel more of an emotional rush flying the coop and abandoning the pregnant missus to raise their baby alone (or with whichever man comes along and sets her heart a-flutter). There’s a reason sane people don’t put things like “follow your heart” into marriage vows, and why they do put things like “for better or for worse, in sickness and in health, ’til death do us part.”