Anti-marriage campaigners often say that marriage should not be supported over other relationships, as a marriage certificate is ‘just a piece of paper’. Well, so is a will or an employment contract or a birth certificate. Some pieces of paper have serious legal consequences. But if ever we need evidence of how marriage can change and challenge people look no further than Rory McIlroy. The piece of paper that focused his mind was the wedding invitation.
Golfer McIlroy has broken off his engagement to tennis player Caroline Wozniacki just days after sending out wedding invitations. The major winner and former world number one confirmed the relationship had ended after he realised he was not ready for marriage. He said: “The wedding invitations issued at the weekend made me realise that I wasn’t ready for all that marriage entails.”
How sobering and mature from the 25 year old. Instead of drifting along in cohabitation staring down at those marriage invitations focused his mind and heart. And in his mind and heart he knew, he was not ready for the huge and solemn commitment that marriage entails. He did the decent thing, and ended the relationship.
It has been said before that evidence shows that the more expensive the wedding the happier the couple. I had my misgivings about this but is seems this McIlory non-marriage really confirms this. The McIlroy-Wozniacki wedding was to be a hugely grand and expensive occasion. Just as going through with it confirms that you are in it for real, being faced with such an occasion will surely bring any doubts to the fore.
When faced with a serious occasion at some expense one cannot just muddle along hoping against hope the doubts will fade. That is the thing about marriage. Not only does it bring together two people, if you take it seriously, it will bring to an end more quickly weaker relationships that would not stand the course.
It is not that I take any joy the break up of a young couple. But I do think it is telling that a young man even of fame and fortune has maintained some respect for what marriage entails – commitment, faithfulness, selflessness, service and fatherhood. If he did not think he was up for it at the tender age of 25, then he is right to say so. His own parents are twenty-five years married so it is fair to say he knows what marriage entails.
Ironically, by McIlroy not going through the glamour celebrity wedding but instead acknowledging what marriage entails and recognising that he was not yet ready for it, is a mature pro-marriage step.
One day perhaps both these young people will know of the great joy of marriage – just not to each other.