On the subject of marriage, that union so integral to the functioning of greater society, Reactionaries have had much to say. We have leveled criticisms without end at the current state of marriage, both in the areas where its limitations have been broken in the name of a degenerate autonomy, and where its latest rules have abolished familial patriarchy. This is all well and good, but we should also put forth what we stand for. Though it may be implicit in what we decry, the kind of systems concerning marriage which we are fighting for should be underlined. Proposals on this issue of policy must emerge.
With this in mind, I present a treatise on Reactionary marriage policy. It is open to revision and critique, which I fully welcome from my loyal readers and passers-through.
#1 – Re-Sacralization
Marriage is in practice a civic institution in that its implications are most pronounced as they pertain to society and the position of man and wife within that society. This said, when we have torn down the wall between church and state, civic institutions are no longer analogous to state institutions. The state should have almost nothing to do with the process. While the implications of marriage are of vital importance to the stable functioning of the state, marriage itself is not an oath to the sovereign monarch nor any other similar figure of state authority, but rather to spiritual authority, God. It is by God that the bonding vows of marriage are locked in place. God has laid out the moral components of marriage, to which the husband and wife are duty-bound to obey under spiritual penalty from God, which is a punishment of a higher order than the theojudicial penalty which may be exacted by the ecclesiastic authorities (more on this later). When husband and wife take their vows, even though these are pledged to their spouse, it is not the spouse who secures this bond and remains vigilant over its entailments, but God. The reason why divorce is so serious is precisely because such vows are not on the order of broken promises to people. They are broken oaths before God.
All marriages therefore should be overseen and officiated by ranking priestly authorities, preferably local to wherever the couple are living and within the holy confines of a church. It is important that both husband and wife are familiar with the priest who will ritualize and make binding their commitment. During the ceremony, the only facet of state involvement should come into play, this being witness by a representative of the local political authority (i.e – ideally the lord of the manor if this is taking place in a ‘manorial’ environment). While family members are present for among other reasons, to witness against the marriage should they know of some reason why the couple should not be wed, the lord may witness against the marriage if their is a reason that only the state would be aware of. A good practice of such lords would be to have a financial blessing of the marriage, similar to the Romanian boyar practice of awarding two oxen and a plow to the couple on their wedding day.
Ultimately, nothing can work to demystify the marriage process, especially in the minds of the young. Its spiritual component must be very much alive. Couples must take their vows with utmost severity and knowledge of what they entail, at the same time seeing the union as something essentially linked to their spiritual lives. Two wills are to become one. Children are expected. Both are to fulfill their virile natures. Most importantly, both are to obey God.
2 – Marital Age
For the longest time this aspect of marriage has turned over and over in my head. It astounded me when I realized that the issue of marital age has a direct link to the pandemic of youth promiscuity. Human beings in the organic state are not meant to be getting married nearly as late as we do today (in the United States, it is twenty-seven for women, twenty-nine for men). Our inescapable biology has males in particular desperate to rut long before this. Unsaturated by the destabilizing outliers of ‘sexual education’ and pornography, this will manifests cohesively at around fifteen, perhaps slightly before. For girls, their sexual maturity rises earlier, closer to thirteen. Everyone of sound mind is of course appalled when they hear of adults having sexual relations with those in such age groups, but when the conduct is between two people who both fall within this age bracket, the concern dies to a murmur. This is natural and an expression of ancient marital practices still ingrained within our cultural memory. During the time of our Lord Christ, the average marriage took place before the male had reached the age of 20, and this did not seem problematic to Him, indeed it has been the common factor of monogamous marriage within society across cultures. Somebody single well into their twenties was something of an anomaly.
Obviously this relates directly to economic structure. Once a marriage has occurred, it is expected that the husband is ready to at least begin the labor appropriate to his station. For a boy entering the priesthood, this will be some equivalent of seminary. For agricultural workers, it will be in the fields. For warriors, military training and so forth. Marriage practices are in the long-run symbiotic with an economic structure. They produce healthy new citizens to perform functions, and in return the economic structure must cater to their arrangement. All areas of economic life, and this works best within a rigid guild system, should be geared towards helping young married men maintain and grow homes. For the most part, women should not be included in the work force, though early on there may be some flexibility here as needed, and if so there would be economic options available, likely in fine textile or service-related work.
We must now question where the relationship begins between boys and girls looking forward to marriage. The Reactionary does not favor public schools, and certainly not ones which educate both boys and girls together. Guild pre-education is certainly an option, but again would provide no communication opportunity between the sexes. This is why local family ties are so essential. Marriages should be passively arranged at young ages between families, careful to avoid closing genetic gaps. This would potentially become less of a problem higher on the caste ladder (contra history), as familial connections could cover greater geographic distances to make up for a smaller pool of eligible candidates for marriage. This is not a call for arranged marriages in the most uncompromising of senses, but for a societal understanding that two families can drive their children towards marriage as an expectation without necessarily mandating it. At such young ages, these marriages are then very likely to be successes, if we go by the surprisingly low rate of broken marriages emerging from such arrangements even today.
3 – Legal Changes
Since marriage is officiated by the priestly authority, it makes sense that violations of laws surrounding marriage are handled by the ecclesiastic judiciary, not any kind of state enforcement arm, should one exist for civic matters in any capacity. It should be made very clear that all three of these proposals for marriage only work in conjunction with one another, as well as other minor and major factors that we could spend hours going into. Laws only function insofar as they are formulated with correct penalties, conceived in accordance with Tradition, and are supported by social structures and norms.
Adultery should be rendered illegal, regardless of sex. This may seem controversial to some Reactionaries who believe such laws should only apply, or at least only be enforced, against women, but I resist this convenient notion. Adultery not only represents a sin, but a disregard for oath which is a sign of inferiority in a man, the contemptible burden of weak impulse control despite given word. Once a marriage contract has been entered into, both participants are locked into the union sexually. There is no turning back. What unmarried people do is a debate for another time. In contradiction to most Orthodox law (and I have noticed it is defended with mutters and turned heads), divorce should cease to be an institution. This eliminates a boatload of lawyering and settlement law which disproportionately screws men.
Marital rape does not exist. As Vox Day has eloquently put it, once a man and a woman have become one flesh, rape becomes impossible, the consent has already been given. You cannot rape your own flesh. Romantically, sex by force is degenerate and bad practice, but to make it illegal between husband and wife, whichever way the offense runs, is near impossible to justify. We would rely on building good character in people to prevent such things.
As patriarch of the proto-family, the husband is deferred to in all interactions with authorities unless inappropriate. He represents the interests of his wife just as he represents the interests of his children. Effectively, he becomes the ambassador of the family, though depending on the social situation, this role may be passed to his own father. Reaction is not locked into the concept of the ‘nuclear family’. Extended familial loyalty structures have a much more positive history, and are useful economically. I would add to the list of marriage-related felonies, abandonment defined as the willful failure to perform marital duties due to flight. Husbands and wives cannot simply ‘run away’, especially if children are involved. Furthermore, for a marriage to take place, the fathers of both participants must consent. This may be negotiable on the male’s part dependent on his age.
I love marriage. As an institution, forget the Kevin Costner’s recycled piss-water version we have today which is really just a shackle for men (the ball and chain has become not only literal, but an anchor which can drown you!) which forces them into compliance with feminist dogma. Think about the beauty of man and woman, joined for life with the goal of bringing forth and nurturing a legacy. For the woman, it is her virile need. For the man, it is his only avenue to leave a lasting mark on this world. Lineage is vital to any living thing. Even Richard Dawkins has attested to its importance, and he believes in nothing transcendent. But what a rich institution God has given us, to sanctify the union of these poles, masculine and feminine, to weave an arrangement by which we can succeed in putting our own needle through the seemingly endless slices of time.
It is often said that children are our future, Joking aside about how redundant the statement is, an effective child and thus a positive future can only emerge from the environment provided by most traditional marriage practices. The state will not provide it. Single parents will not provide it. Same sex ‘couples’ will not provide it. Ukrainian dogs will not provide it.
With these aforementioned thoughts in mind, it is high time that people spoke the truth about marriage beyond the pabulum of current political intrigue, the new ways the elite are finding to bury the institution for good. While many will dismiss our ideas as backward, irredentist, extreme, or misogynistic, the Reactionary should always remain firm in his convictions which bend towards the flourishing and success of society, however uncomfortable those truths may seem today. Marriage is not about the whims and wishes of adults, it is about forging an environment in which children can be adequately provided for in both material and immaterial sustenance, and the innate sex differences are designed to work in a dynamic with social institutions to achieve these ends.
If we are positing radically anti-Modern changes in how we view economics, the role of government, moral systems, etc. then it would seem incorrect not to propose a radically anti-Modern view of that first step into family life, marriage.
(For a personal and female take on the marital experience, see this article from Ashton Blackwell on Social Matter)