365 Days of Fun in Marriage

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Marriage Definition


Tip # 4 

Marriage as an Institution 

First things first. Where did the term “marriage institution” come from? What comes to mind when you think of an institution? Joy? Fun? Happiness? Love? Sure. Those are the first things that come to mind. Right?

The term “institution of marriage” looks like it should only be applied to people who’ve been married a long boring time, who rarely have meaningful conversations, who sit and stare at TV–or stare at TV in separate rooms, who never smile and laugh together, who never walk hand in hand, who seek outside companionships because as spouses they certainly aren’t best friends. Is that your definition of marriage?

How long after the wedding do you start calling it an institution? 

Maybe that’s why there are so many divorces. Maybe that’s why too many long-term marriages feel like each partner is in a straight jacket.

Doesn’t the word “institution” usually connote negative feelings? Not that definitions are listed in order of use, but look at the 3rd definition of institution:    


from Clipart.com

3. a public or private place for the care or confinement of inmates, esp. mental patients or other disabled or handicapped persons. 

Now the 4th definition:

4.  Sociology . a well-established and structured pattern of behavior or of relationships that is accepted as a fundamental part of a culture, as marriage: the institution of the family.

Oh, Wow. How Exciting. That would make anyone want to run to the altar immediately.

Our subconscious does usually think of “prisoners” in institutions first, then somewhere down the road, we’re reminded, “Oh, yeah, we’re also talking about “marriage.”

No, I’ll not call our marriage an institution. Webster can call his marriage an institution. I’ll write my own definition of marriage:

a relationship between a man and a woman who’ve bonded together as one but still separate so that joy and love are the highest priority between them. 

That’s my definition and I’m sticking to it. Oh, and we’ve been married 39 years.


~ Glenda (gj)  www.wordwardrobe.com  or www.glendaschoonmaker.com

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