Over at the Political Theology blog there is a post on marriage that is worthy of your internet time. It's message is this:
Marriage functions, within capitalism, as an instrument that reproduces the conditions of production.
Now there's a sentence to suck the romance and excitement out of marriage if ever there was one. Mattox is not pessimistic regarding marriage qua marriage, however. The climax of his argument is this:
Marriage is not the problem, but when it becomes a replacement for the promise of salvation and the community of the Church, it threatens to destroy our souls.
One implication of this is that far from high divorce rates indicating a decline in the "value" or "sanctity" of marriage, they are actually an indication that our culture has too much faith in marriage. When one particular marriage doesn't deliver on the promise to save us from meaninglessness or loneliness, we have obviously married the wrong person and therefore must try again, otherwise we forfeit the possibility of salvation and risk dooming ourselves forever. Marriage is too valuable and too sacred for a bad one to be tolerated. But as Mattox says, all of this places a weight on marriage that it cannot bear.