Thereto I give thee my troth, I said on the twenty-sixth of July 2016 (well, the equivalent in modern parlance, I'm afraid) to my darling one, in a quaint village church that has been part of the Worcestershire countryside for hundreds of years. This vow that I made to my wife, in front of my family, friends and the local community, dedicates my whole being and not merely my actions to her and vice versa, was described, most aptly, by G.K. Chesterton as writing my oath upon the heavens. What a beautiful bit of prose.
At any rate, as a conservative, I value the autonomous institution of marriage. This peculiar affinity between the partners, the unbreakable and eternal nature of it, and the obligations it generates on me and my wife is a special bound. Indeed, this special bound; this rite of passage, is at the heart of any conservative vision and is paramount to a society based on ordered liberty. As I have alluded to at the start of the piece, I am a newlywed (thanks awfully. that is very kind of you to congratulate me) and I was asked about those three little words that mean so much; not ‘I love you’ rather ‘why get married’?
I was asked, “why would you desire to lose your freedom and tie yourself down?” This question, I can quite understand why it was asked, as making binding and public promises can be daunting to some people, and the false concept of freedom as the lack of attachment and commitment or in Rousseau’s words throwing off the chains of restraints is prevalent in the western culture and can bring forth such comments. Of course, this concept of freedom is quite false. Quite the contrary is true, institutions creates our freedoms and we have liberty, because of them.
Anyway, my dear readers, anyway. Here are some arguments to counter these falsehoods. First, if one is inclined towards material gain, here are some arguments for you. If one is married, one is more likely to be minted. 87 per cent of high earners (that is individuals earning over £43,000) are married. Chaps, marriage has a transformative effect on our behaviour and provides for improved emotional (your mental health) and financial well-being. Win-win, indeed! Consequently, us chaps work harder and more strategically, circa 400 hours more annually according to the US department of labour. Therefore, married men earn more money, around 20 per cent more, than their single peers. This is not a sero-sum game, no siree. Ladies, you can get in on the act too. Putnam, posited that economic prosperity depends on stable families and vice versa. This is reinforced by a recent study conducted at the University of Illinois in the USA. The study found that following a divorce the custodial parent, which is usually the mother, generally has less income than most two-parent families’ due to limitations on her economic opportunities. To boost your chances of being rich, get hitched, as the old adage goes, or have I just made that up?
This transformative effect also has an impact on social and religious aspects, such as men start to attend church more often, and it is always good to have some brownie points with God, of course! Not to mention that marriage is a gift from God and is a sacred union of the highest order and is a sacrament. A sacrament, you say? Indeed, I do. A sacrament is an act whose significance, while it may sometimes be understood in earthly terms, is so great that it must eventually direct us towards the transcendental. Thus, chaps and chapettes start to attend church more often after marriage.
Moreover, an article about or discussing marriage without at least fleetingly mentioning the family would be unfathomable, because marriage is the fundamental focus of a couple relationship, around which other relationships grow, namely the family unit. I believe marriage to be the adhesive that holds the family together; strong, sturdy and ready to battle the elements. There is no doubt in my mind that family breakdown has played a major role in the alienation of the young from their families, culture and their country. These two interlocking institutions of marriage and family carry customs. Oakeshott argued that institutions have knowledge embedded within them. These customs and knowledge help to alleviate the alienation and the desire to turn things upside down. Furthermore, the family has been shown to be the best institution to serve the human needs for love and companionship, for economic and social well-being, and for a stable and loving environment for the rearing of children. I shall take my leave on this note: Indeed, for our children and grandchildren sake it is time to put marriage front and centre of a conservative vision for creating a Britain fit for the future.