Poetry and musings of a zany Mormon girl who is very proud of her Erda roots.
So my commenting got off to a slow start... BUT! I have something really cool to share on the subject. Jeff and I attended a fascinating lecture at BYU this week by the three authors of the book What is Marriage? Man and Woman: A Defense (and once we get a copy, we'll lend it to you). Anyways, here's a quote from a recent article by one of the authors (http://www.thepublicdiscourse.com/2013/02/7942/): "Marriage is a human good with its own structure, like knowledge or friendship. The present debate is not a debate about whom to let marry, but about what marriage (the human good that the law has reasons to track) really is. Two answers compete for legal enshrinement.The first, driving the push for same-sex marriage, is that a certain emotional intimacy makes a marriage. But as our book shows, this answer can’t coherently distinguish marriage from companionship, an obviously broader category. So it gets marriage (the human good) wrong.The second view of marriage begins from basics. Any voluntary form of community involves common action; it unites people toward common ends in the context of commitment. And in these respects, what sets marital community apart is its comprehensiveness: in (1) how it unites people, (2) what it unites them with respect to, and (3) how extensive a commitment it demands."If you want a thought-provoking and powerful view into what marriage is, these guys contrast what they call "conjugal marriage" (traditional marriage) with a "new vision of marriage" that has lead to the debate about same-sex marriage. They have a lot of posts up on the linked website that explain their ideas as well. I'd love to talk about it sometime.
As for my own personal view (which is probably similar to the above): Marriage is a permanent union of a man and a woman based on love, respect, and commitment. That union is emotional, spiritual, and physical. It's fruits are companionship, support, growth, and familial continuation (children). Strong marriages are the foundation of a strong society because they are place in which future generations are (should be) taught, reared, protected, nurtured, etc. When marriage falls apart, so does family, and so does society. I believe as Elder Clayton said that "marriage is a gift from God to us" and a union which God ordains and wishes for His children. While I find great joy in my marriage to Jeff, I do not think that the primary role of marriage is self-fulfillment (or happiness); instead, I believe that it is sanctification through sacrifice, selflessness, and child-rearing.