We all deserve happiness but we do not all deserve marriage, unless of course we are talking about children. Yes, I said it. The only people who deserve marriage are children and that is because marriage is society’s most basic unit for the defense and care of the child. When marriage is child-centered, governments step in only when moms and dads have put their personal issues before the best interests of society’s most vulnerable persons. When marriage is child-centered professionals are forced to look at what helps those children to flourish and what holds back their moral, psychological and social growth.
But if marriage becomes adult-centered; if the point of marriage becomes primarily one about the adults and their level of comfort, contentment and prosperity then governments and professionals are forced to look at marriage very differently. The question becomes, is there any legitimate reason why these individuals should not be able to seek what makes them happy? Marriage is after all adult-centered, and so if we need to rework or redesign family relationships let it be done. If we need to redefine marriage as something between two individuals (and not sexes) or three individuals let it be done. And this makes sense of course, because adults have deep seeded and profound needs. And when these needs are not met and the relational changes needed are not encouraged publicly then adults can become emotionally scarred, or worse, feel guilty. As it was put to me so bluntly many years ago, in the adult-centered view of marriage, ‘heaven and earth must move to safeguard the happiness and emotional fragility of the adult, but don’t worry about the children; the kids will adjust.’
Yes, if marriage was really child-centered and about protecting the most vulnerable persons in our society then we would never be caught saying something as heartless as, ‘it does not matter who loves a child as long as someone does.’ Children have a right to the love of their own mother and father, and when this is absent it is a tragedy. And even though there are countless aunts and uncles, grandmas and grandpas, and single parents who are almost heroic in their sacrifices to let this or that child know that they are loved, to intentionally remove the love of a mother and father from a child’s life is cold indeed.
Everyone deserves happiness, that is a fact; but not at the expense of another human being; not at the expense of one of the most basic rights of our children.