Short-term relationships are a relatively recent social phenomenon. Instead of the traditional “meet-like-love-going steady-engagement-marriage” sequence of events, many young people are trying a “meet-like-love (maybe)-cohabit-disagreement-move on” type of arrangement. For many, especially the females, this option hasn’t worked out well.
Many of these serial relationships have resulted in bitter, disillusioned people, single-parent families, some of which contain children with different fathers, economic hardship, severe stress, STDs and other illnesses, disapproval of parents and the elder members of society, broken hearts, discouragement, and often, for each person, a very unfavorable view of all members of the opposite sex.
The wiser choice, surely, is to opt for a long-term relationship, preferably one that is sealed with a legally-binding contract, a covenant recognized by God, the community and society at large. This traditional union is called “marriage”. It consists of a lifelong commitment by both parties to each other. It is superior to short-term relationships for the following reasons:
* It has stood the test of time. For thousands of years, marriage has been the basis for building stable family units within all civilized societies.
* It promotes peace and harmony. When both people are truly committed to preserving the relationship, ways will be found to settle disagreements. No one is likely to “fly off the handle” and walk out permanently over a minor matter.
* It enables a family to do long-term planning. Future vacations, employment opportunities, educational courses, even retirement planning can be done without wondering whether or not the partner will still be around when the time comes to put the plans into action.
* It is the best environment in which to raise children. Youngsters need their two committed, biological parents living under the same roof, in order to grow up secure and healthy in spirit, mind and body.
* A formal marriage is recognized and celebrated by all segments of society. When the young couple begins married life, they are congratulated, showered with gifts and good wishes and surrounded by love and support of family and friends.
* It promotes economic stability for both parents and children. For most families, it takes two incomes to achieve and maintain a middle-class standard of living. Married couples, who both contribute to the family income, who budget and plan expenditures together, will have a definite monetary advantage over cohabiting singles who each cautiously manage and safeguard their own money.
* Marriage promotes the mental, emotional and physical health of both partners. Long-term association enables spouses to understand each other well. Each learns what makes the other happy, sad, angry, upset, or content. Each one can adjust his or her behavior to promote peace and contentment in the home.
* Individual illnesses and chronic conditions will be compassionately faced together as the spouses undergo the inevitable aging process. Both partners can proceed more serenely on the journey through life secure in the knowledge that there will always be someone at their side who is truly concerned about their well-being.
All these reasons argue for the superiority of a long term relationship, preferably one sealed by a marriage contract, over short term, serial liaisons.
“The happy State of Matrimony is, undoubtedly, the surest and most lasting Foundation of Comfort and Love . . . the Cause of all good Order in the World, and what alone preserves it from the utmost Confusion . . .”
Benjamin Franklin, 1730 A.D.