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Across Europe, more and more couples are shunning marriage in favour of “registered partnerships”. This has been particularly notable in France, where the number of people applying for these partnerships each year is closing in on the marriage figure. So why is this legislation proving so popular?

In short, because it provides the benefits of a traditional marriage while eliminating the drawbacks.

What are the benefits? It's summed up by a French lady who recently entered into such a partnership.
“We just wanted to pay less taxes.” At least she's honest.

And what drawbacks does this arrangement manage to eliminate? In a word, commitment. Rather depressingly, advocates are quick to talk up is the ease with which these partnerships can be dissolved. Another key feature is the emphasis on “honesty and openness” at the expense of sexual fidelity.

Surely there's a problem here? This outlook is extraordinarily self centred – it's all about what “I”, rather than “we” can get out of it. “I want to enjoy tax breaks and a financial improvement But I don't want to be tied down - if my partner begins to bore me or loses their looks then at least I can disappear into the sunset.”

Not only is it self centred, it's also short sighted. Traditional marriages based on mutual commitment and sacrifice are surely far more satisfying and enjoyable, nevermind offering a far more suitable environment for raising a family, and greater assurance about the future.

Marriage is a gift from God, who delights in giving his creation good gifts – it's there for the good of mankind to bring happiness and delight, and to form the basis of stable family life. More than that, it also acts as an illustration – it shows us God's unfailing commitment to his people. He won't abandon us because he grows tired of us or because he finds a newer, better model. It shows us what God means when he describes himself as faithful.

Sadly, we're all to quick to abandon God's designs and do things our way. We dismiss the Bible as outdated and irrelevant. We think that in the 21
st century, we know better than primitive people from a by-gone era. But we're only hurting ourselves. By ignoring God we ignore his wise counsel and the great gifts he has created for our good.