(Image credit: Brandon Clark/ABImages)
If I’m looking for marriage advice, Hollywood would be near the bottom of the list (not even sure it would make the list at all). After all, the shelf life of any relationship in Tinseltown—let alone matrimony—is roughly the same as the length that your iPhone is relevant. The meet-up, hook-up, break-up culture is a perpetual tragedy that news sites love to feed on.
So, where do I look for marriage advice and inspiration? Places like this:
May your fountain be blessed, and may you rejoice in the wife of your youth. A loving doe, a graceful deer—may her breasts satisfy you always, may you ever be captivated by her love. (Proverbs 5:18–19)
Sure, these words offer no grand epic of romance, no pithy Hollywood couple name, but they’re real. They’re grounded in the type of love that sees beauty in the same face every single day. And, amazingly, not every famous, Oscar-winning actor ignores such words as these.
Enter Matthew McConaughey, who did something to accept his golden statue that few people do now days: He thanked God. And that trajectory of faith spilled over into his 2012 marriage to model Camila Alves. Unlike many of his fellow actors, he approached marriage as something more than a disposable commodity. According to an article on Charisma News:
“He told GQ Magazine that he and Ms. Alves talked about marriage ‘spiritually,’ and ‘did a lot of reading and talked to a lot of people that had been divorced, a lot of people that had been happily married. [They] talked to [their] pastor. In the end, [their] understanding was, “Let's go make a covenant, with you, me and God….” ’ ”
“ ‘I wanted to really want to,’ the actor said. “You know, I didn't want it to be just a destination; the fun is that we're on the adventure together.’ ”
And that’s exactly what marriage is—not a tax write-off or a convenience or a mutual emotional response. It’s a solemn, incredible, sanctifying (holy-making) covenant (that is, a binding promise). Though our culture continues to cheapen the value of matrimony, McConaughey seems to realize that this isn’t some light matter. God gets involved.
So important are the marriage vows and the weight behind them, in fact, that Russell Moore, president of the Ethics & Religious Liberty Commission, won’t marry a couple who writes their own vows. Here’s why:
“And so, when we are gathering together for a wedding, we have a gathering of witnesses. That’s why in the traditional Anglican wedding ceremony we gather ‘in the sight of God and these witnesses to join this man and this woman in holy matrimony.’ The people there aren’t just guests at the party. They are people who are witnessing the vows that are being made with the implicit message there—we are representing the body of Christ to hold you accountable to these vows, to help you through these vows, to support you as you seek to keep these vows….”
“A couple starting out a wedding frankly don’t know the vows that they need to make without the rest of the body of Christ, with those who’ve gone before them. A twenty-five-year-old couple, they are not thinking about Alzheimer’s disease. They are not thinking about what happens when we find out that our small child is dying with cancer. They don’t think about what happens if one of us commits adultery and we have to work through the aftermath of that. The rest of the body of Christ is speaking of the fact that the vows you are making to one another aren’t simply when things are in conditions as they are right now, and it’s not simply when things are in conditions that you can imagine right now, but it’s in sickness and in health; for richer, for poorer; till death do us part. Those are the sorts of vows that ought to be made.”
What about you? What are your thoughts on the value of marriage in today’s culture in general or in Hollywood? What can we do to bring back the weight of the wedding vows?