Definition of Marriage

The other day my English students were trying to define irony. It’s a tricky one.

We hear a lot about marriage these days and the right of everyone to get married.

Is this ironic?

Because on the other hand, so many couples say they don’t see any value in marriage. It’s just a piece of paper, an outdated institution or a big party where you wear a white dress.

Marriage can mean very different things to different people. Sometimes I’m talking about marriage to a friend and I realise that we are speaking of two dissimilar concepts. It’s like eating a dish of fried rice and comparing it to risotto. Similar but not the same.

I’m been trying to work out how I would define marriage.

For me it’s a commitment, made in public, to love my husband for the rest of his life. As a Christian I also believe this commitment is made before God who will help me live up to this mighty big promise.

I will choose to love my husband in bad and good times. A marriage is not just about romance although I’ll work on keeping that there. Marriage is about friendship. Hopefully the greatest friendship you will ever have in your life.

Since having a baby I’ve realised how important our marriage is for children.
A happy, stable marriage is probably one of the best things I can give my child.

So marriage is about creating a family. Marriage is about creating a home.

Lastly I think marriage is about service. Being married helps me to give myself to others.

Not that a single person doesn’t have the chance to be selfless. However I’d argue that marriage (and kids) throw you in the deep end.

So that’s my definition of marriage.

What’s yours?


Saturday Movie: A Letter to Three Wives

A Letter to Three Wives (1949)

Your good friend has run away with your husband. What would you do?

This clever film centres around three wives who have been sent a letter by their friend. She tells them she has run off with one of their husbands. This friend, Addie Ross, neglects to say which husband.

We never see Addie, but from all the women say, we know she is beautiful and charming. Her friends dislike her immensely.

The three wives, off on a children’s’ picnic all day, are forced to reflect on their marriages, wondering if their husband could have left them.

How does it end? You’ll have to find out for yourself.

The stand out character in this film is Rita Phipps (played by Ann Sothern).  She is witty, down-to-earth, kind and has a terrible temper. Rita and her husband (Kirk Douglas) fight with great enthusiasm and somehow their relationship seems the most genuine and loving.

All the female characters are strong in this film. I love the scene where we see Linda Darnell’s first date with her husband. He is a very wealthy man and arrives outisde her home and beeps the horn. She coolly lets him wait  He beeps it again. Eventually he is forced to come inside and she makes him wait even more by finally going to get her handbag.

The 1940’s fashion is fabulous and so empowering. Perhaps I’m being nostalgic but these women, dressed in their gorgeous, perfectly fitted outfits seem so confident. Sometimes I think jeans and t shirts, while very comfortable, can make us so self-conscious and sloppy.

In A Letter to Three Wives  each wife must consider what could be driving their relationship apart and if there is enough happiness to keep them together. Outwardly they all blame Addie Ross for being the type of woman who would steal a husband however the movie delves into their memories. They suddenly face up to the conflicts and misunderstandings in their marriages and realise they have nothing to do with another woman.

The film seems to suggest that Addies malicious letter actually does them a favour.

This film can be bought for nearly nothing on Amazon or downloaded. As my younger, more techo savvy sister scoffingly says – “everyone downloads films these days. ”

Jeanne_Crain_in_A_Letter_to_Three_Wives_trailer Linda_Darnell_in_A_Letter_to_Three_Wives_trailer

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