02 November 2011

kim kardashian and the death of marriage

Much hay is being made over the apparent end of the 72-day marriage of reality star Kim Kardashian to NBA journeyman Kris Humphries.  Their engagement was the peak of the season finale of "Keeping Up With The Kardashians," while her filing for divorce is the latest and greatest in Hollywood gossip.

One meme circulating the social networks is that this abrupt divorce somehow demonstrates that the "sanctity of marriage" or the "institution of marriage" is bankrupt.  But it doesn't do that at all.  Sure, it shows us that Hollywood romance is many times a joke, but that's not a black eye for traditional marriage.  It's just another sign that Hollywood is full of self-absorbed fools.

Traditional marriage is done within the context of a pastoral and congregational relationship.  When clergy require this before performing a wedding, we do it because we want the marriage to succeed.  Any couple that asks me to marry them will go through several sessions of premarital counseling, as well as an in-depth look at the marriage service.  A special focus is given to the traditional vows, why we still use them, and what they mean.  Oh, and you need to be part of this church as well, because the wedding is just the beginning, and we want to be a community that encourages and supports you in your marriage.

Marriages like that of Kim Kardashian's often fail because, as the saying goes, "after every wedding comes a marriage."  Cliché, yes, but clichés are clichés because they're right!  Traditional marriage is full of daily challenges and rewards.  Though everyone wants the glamour of the wedding and the rewards of wedded life, not nearly enough commit to the daily toil it takes to make marriage work.  A broken Hollywood marriage that was seemingly on shaky ground from the beginning doesn't make traditional marriage a failed institution, anymore than a hastily-prepared McDonald's Quarter Pounder slights the fine dining tradition of Ruth's Chris Steak House.

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