When I was a child, I used to sit and think a lot. While other kids ran around
doing things, I would sit and think. Sometimes I would imagine, sometimes I
would ponder, and sometimes I would follow a stream of consciousness. One particular
scenario I often thought about was what would happen if I were stranded on
an uncharted desert island with no hope of rescue, and what if the only other
person on the island were a woman. Would we try to carve out a comfortable
life? Would we focus all our efforts on leaving the island? Would we build
a house in the trees and train monkeys to be butlers?
As I got older, the questions grew in number, of course. How would we get
food if we had no weapons? How would we get water if there were no natural
streams? Would the woman even like me? One question that bothered me more than
any other, though, was this: Could we marry if there were no one to marry us
and no license to make it legal? And if not, would it still be a sin for us
to have sex?
I thought of this when I read the following interview (excerpted) by the Associated
Press with Johnny Depp (via FamilyScholars.org):
AP: You’ve been in a relationship for many years now, so what’s the secret?
Depp: Trust, have fun, respect for one and other. Respect
for one another’s privacy. Respect for what the other person does in their
a whole lot of love. Vanessa was like a bolt of lightning.
AP: So she knocked
Depp: Well yeah, because there were no pretensions. She has her
success on her own terms and when we met it wasn’t like she was anything
cool, funny girl. I’d never experienced anything like that before. She
gave me these two beautiful kids.
AP: Is marriage an option? What does
it mean to you?
Depp: Marriage can be whatever you define it as. For example,
I don’t feel like I need a piece of paper that says I own her and she owns
a piece of paper doesn’t mean anything in the eyes of God or in the
eyes of people. The thing is, if you are together and you love each other
and are good to each
other, make babies and all that, for all intents and purposes you
I should say that at some point in my teens I came to the conclusion that
if no other human being were around, God could serve as a witness between two
people who pledge their lives to one another. (And lest anyone think me altogether
holy, I should also confess that at some point in my teens, my desert island
Furthermore, if two people make such a vow, they are married in the eyes
of God and may
and wife the way he intended. In that respect, I would agree with Mr. Depp,
that a piece of paper in and of itself doesn’t actually "mean anything." The
fact that so many people have that paper and choose to ignore it further undermines
its objective value.
I think the value lies not so much in the paper as it does in the vows, and
here’s where Scissorhands and I part company. If marriage "can be whatever
you define it as," then it has no meaning at all. Sure, married people can
be together and love each other and make babies, etc., but I think that without
mutual ownership, there’s no actual marriage because marriage means giving
yourself completely to someone else.
Weddings and legal recognition are important to society because they reinforce
the validity and value of marriage. Vows and the keeping of them are important
to couples, individuals, and God, because that’s where the true meaning and
benefit of marriage lie.
[Jesus] answered, "Have you not read that he who created them from
the beginning made them male and female, and said, ‘Therefore a man shall
leave his father and his mother and hold fast to his wife, and they shall
become one flesh’? So they are no longer two but one flesh. What therefore
God has joined together, let not man separate." Matthew 19:4–6