Night Owl Mk. II

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Boldfaced statements are parts of the original essay (or a subsequent reply) to which the respondent has directed his comments.

Italicized/emphasized comments prefaced by (R) are those of the respondent and are presented unedited.

My replies appear under the respondent's comments in blue text and are prefaced by my initials (MB).

(R) Greetings...straight to the point if you don't mind.
(MB) Go for it! Let's hear what you have to say...

(R) In my opinion, in order for a marriage to be "sanctified" according to religious doctrine, both parties must be of that faith and with full knowledge of the requirements, enter into this "sanctified union" with mutual consent and eyes wide open. Any other scenario, again in my opinion, would negate the "sanctified" aspect of the union.
(MB) That should go without saying. If one wants the benefits of any doctrinal system, one needs to be in compliance with its requirements. Things start to get a bit difficult, however, when love gets in the way of doctrine. Which one takes precedence?

(R) This is one of my soap boxes. The separation of church and state is being blatantly denied here. Marriage is not a state function in the sense that Christian doctrine perceives marriage. You will never hear a Justice of the Peace make the statement "What god has joined together let not man put asunder" or any similar silliness. He (or she) will simply state that so-and-so is now entered into marriage according to the laws of the great state whatever.
(MB) The state has an interest in promoting marriage even if there were no religious ramifications or conflicts, since our society tends to strongly approve of the classic family unit. Since our government is a secular one, it sets requirements for marriage that don't depend on religion. The Justice of the Peace could say anything he pleased while performing a marriage. The words wouldn't matter so long as all the paperwork is filled out and all the procedures are followed.

(R) My wife and I married ourselves. We obtained a marriage license and had some friends come to our favorite park. We exchanged vows, her sister read some poetry, and we announced ourselves married. No preacher, no J.P., just the two people who wanted to commit to a formal relationship doing so according to their consciences.
(MB) Have you ever run into any problems because of that? In most states, they don't really give a hoot about the ceremony itself, but still require that the paperwork be signed by somebody who is licensed or authorized to perform marriages in that state. Usually, that's a member of the clergy, but it could be a magistrate or even a notary public. I like the way you did it, but am curious about whether or not there have been any associated problems.

(R) Neither of our vows contained any declaration of monogamy, and yet, after six years of marriage, we remain "faithful." Why? Because we find all our sexual needs taken care of by the other. We find most of our emotional needs taken care of by the other. We are in love and will remain so, but not through divine intervention or out of fear of divine repercussion nor because society feels we should.
(MB) If only that's the way it was for everybody! My hat is off to you and your wife.

(R) For what it's worth,
(MB) Your example sounds like it's worth a lot!

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