Perhaps the greatest contribution to the social life of man made by Christianity is — marriage. Christianity brought marriage into the world: marriage as we know it. Christianity established the little economy of the family within the greater rule of the State. Christianity made marriage in some respects inviolate, not to be violated by the State. It is marriage, perhaps, which has given man the best of his freedom, given him his little kingdom of his own within the big kingdom of the State, given him his foothold of independence on which to stand and resist the unjust State. Man and wife, a king and queen with one or two subjects, and a few square yards of territory of their own: this, really, is marriage. It is a true freedom because it is a true fulfillment, for man, woman, and children.

Do we want to break marriage? If we do break it, it means we all fall to a far greater extent under the direct sway of the State. Do we want to fall under the direct sway of the State, any State? For my part, I don’t.[1]

The Divorce, Dissolution and Separation Act (2020) came into force recently, see HERE. This legislation was passed by what purports to be a Conservative Government.

Whilst one may have sympathy with those who experience unhappiness in their marriage, this legislation warranted a serious debate. Such debate appears to have been lacking, especially over the philosophical issues concerning the nature of marriage. All arguments seem to have been made within the current individualistic and hedonistic paradigm.

It was seen as self-evident that marriage is designed merely to maximise the happiness of those involved. However, it was originally regarded as an oath of fealty between a man and a woman, designed to regulate sexual behaviour, ensure the reproductive health of society and maintain social stability.

It was argued that a party to a marriage was ‘forced’ (see HERE) to allege that the other was at fault in order to obtain a divorce; plainly this was not the case, they simply had to accept that they had no legal grounds for a divorce, which was at odds with their desires, or fabricate allegations.

Admittedly, the previous period of separation that was required, could always be regarded as arbitrary; once the premise of no-fault divorce was accepted, these reforms were probably inevitable.

Lawrence’s metaphor quoted above is apt and to continue the metaphor, depending on the extent to which the general public support these measures, the King and Queen have either abdicated or been usurped, perhaps without much thought.

In answer to the the question in the title, it is plainly a radically different proposition to the original.

[1] DH Lawrence ‘Apropos of Lady Chatterley’s Lover’ 1931

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