Category Archives: Marriage Equality

Marriage is Enormously Beneficial No Matter How You Come to It

It’s Possible: Gays and Lesbians Can Have Happy Marriages by Doug Mainwaring

Striking down man-woman marriage laws on the basis of constitutional discrimination would thus send a message to the same-sex attracted that there is only one choice for them, that man-woman marriage is unattainable, that they are acting against their nature for desiring it, and that pursuing it will be dangerous for them, their spouses, and their children.

But the opposite is true. The man-woman definition of marriage is not an insult; it is an ensign, beckoning to anyone—regardless of sexual orientation—that the union of a man and a woman is of unique significance in light of its procreative power and complementary capacity.

The man-woman definition of marriage—conjugal, complementary marriage—is an ensign not because it is just a good idea, or the best among many. It is a bright ensign because it is the truth, undeniably displayed in nature and in each of our physical beings. We are made male and female, as complements to each other. And when male and female come together, they unite as one flesh. When two males or two females attempt to join together sexually, they remain two males or two females. To base marriage solely on romantic or sexual interests requires averting our minds from easily discernible truth.

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Equality is a Quality of God’s Design for Marriage

If God-designed marriage’s nucleus is the unique one flesh relationship, then God designed marriage to be a relationship of equals. Here is my proof-text:

 …Each man should have sexual relations with his own wife, and each woman with her own husband.

The husband should fulfill his marital duty to his wife, and likewise the wife to her husband.

The wife does not have authority over her own body but yields it to her husband.

In the same way, the husband does not have authority over his own body but yields it to his wife.

Do not deprive each other except perhaps by mutual consent and for a time, so that you may devote yourselves to prayer. Then come together again so that Satan will not tempt you because of your lack of self-control.  I Cor 7: 2-5:

Here we see total equality and parity. Both people are equally accountable to render to the other (nothing less than) his/her body, and it is to be done freely and consensually. Both benefit equally.

(I like these two definitions of parity: 1. the quality or state of being equal or equivalent. 2. the symmetry of behavior in an interaction of a physical entity (as a subatomic particle) with that of its mirror image…)

And please notice: here the roles are exactly the same.

What else do we see?  Clear suggestions of ownership. Like this:

Place me like a seal over your heart, like a seal on your arm;

for love is as strong as death, its jealousy unyielding as the grave.

It burns like blazing fire, like a mighty flame.

Many waters cannot quench love; rivers cannot sweep it away.

If one were to give all the wealth of one’s house for love,

it would be utterly scorned. 

Song of Solomon 8: 6-7

Yes please, that kind of ownership. My seal on your heart is a sign that your heart is mine, and only I may break that seal to open. My seal on your arm is a sign to the world that you belong to me. And your seal on my heart means my heart is yours, and only you may break that seal to open. Your seal on my arm is a sign to the world that I belong to you.

This ownership is irrevocable. This love is absolute. It is not a love which is measured in quantity, as in how much do you love? Do you love enough? It is a love that either is or is not. It is as absolute as death and the grave, as inevitable, as unyielding, as eternal.

We also see words like authority and duty. But the authority is mutual; don’t we owe one another something real in such a relationship?

What does our culture’s wisdom tell us?  That even here, especially here in traditional or Biblical marriage, is a negotiation of an intrinsically unequal relationship. Man: patriarch/oppressor, woman: victim/subservient. We must resign ourselves to an inevitable power struggle. And that God invented patriarchy and subservience!

Nonsense. The Corinthians passage was written to first-century A.D. believers in Jesus Christ, long after the fall of man. As such, it confirms God’s original intent for marriage and tells us that we may still possess that graceful, perfect union that He made for us.  In the midst of a fallen and broken world we can live in real equality and true harmony.

What do we make, then, of these passages?

…and you will desire to control your husband, but he will rule over you.
 Genesis 3:16

The husband is the head of the wife. Ephesians 5:23

From Ephesians 5:

Submit to one another out of reverence for Christ.

Wives, submit yourselves to your own husbands as you do to the Lord.  For the husband is the head of the wife as Christ is the head of the church, his body, of which he is the Savior.  Now as the church submits to Christ, so also wives should submit to their husbands in everything.

 Husbands, love your wives, just as Christ loved the church and gave himself up for her  to make her holy, cleansing her by the washing with water through the word,  and to present her to himself as a radiant church, without stain or wrinkle or any other blemish, but holy and blameless.  In this same way, husbands ought to love their wives as their own bodies. He who loves his wife loves himself.  After all, no one ever hated their own body, but they feed and care for their body, just as Christ does the church—  for we are members of his body.  “For this reason a man will leave his father and mother and be united to his wife, and the two will become one flesh.”

The passage containing “For the husband is the head of the wife” begins with “Submit to one another out of reverence for Christ.” The first appears to be an expression of inequality and submission, but the topic sentence is an expectation of equal submission, mutual deference, mutual humility. There is no contradiction, only context.

Then in Genesis 3, we see God the Father explaining to Adam and Eve that their choice to sin will result in a chronic power struggle as each one contends for his own interest instead of living for the other. This was not a command; it was a prediction.

God’s predictions: men will raise crops successfully but they will have to sweat and strive for the increase. Women will bear babies in joy, but first will come pain and anguish. The spiritual death you have chosen must manifest in physical death, else humans’ destructiveness to one another will be endless.

I’ve invented for you a mutually loving, mysteriously interdependent, incomparably intimate relationship, but instead you will choose to strive, alone, against one another.

Women will selfishly try to control their husbands, and men will selfishly assert their power over their wives. Each will contend against the other for his and her own desires at the other’s expense, instead of living in the sublime harmony He planned for them.

We always, always do exactly what God predicted. It’s like he knows.

More testaments in the Word of God suggest that mutuality and equity are His ideal.  Many of these passages are directed to all in the community of believers. Wouldn’t they necessarily apply to those within that community who have committed to marriage?

Above all, love each other deeply, because love covers over a multitude of sins. I Peter 4:8

Be devoted to one another in love. Honor one another above yourselves. Romans 12:10

This is My commandment, that you love one another as I loved you.  Greater love has no one than this, that he lay down his life for his friends.  John 15: 12-13

Let no debt remain outstanding, except the continuing debt to love one another, for whoever loves others has fulfilled the law. Romans 12:8

Here also we see mutuality and equality.

Do we buy into our culture’s misinterpretation? In the evangelical church, we often substitute media-marketed counsel for true personal guidance and we find no end of this sort of stuff: Look at the dopey man; he just doesn’t “get” it. He’s just like clueless Adam, am I right? Men-just don’t be like him. Husbands, taking out the trash counts as foreplay!

And women, the most important thing you can do for your husband is show him respect by forcing yourself to have sex with him when you don’t feel like it!

These “Christian” marriage seminars, courses and books repeat the shallow lie that marriage is a constant struggle for compromise between two people who can never understand each other. They offer only a band-aid, a self-help guide for navigation through the unequal status quo, an eternal negotiation between doomed competitors– rather than two creatures of the same flesh, one created out of the other, who find their fulfillment in belonging together.

Grace upon grace! Even though the world is fallen, even though we are fallen, we still have access to that ideal that God designed.

 

 

Extinguishing Everything

Rendering the Sexed Body Legally Invisible: How Transgender Law Hurts Women

Nothing surprises me more than today’s feminists allowing males to appropriate woman-hood via transgenderism.

Who suffers most when we erase male and female? Those who want us to stop acknowledging the distinction between the genders have not played out in their minds the world that they would create.

One obvious recipient of change is marriage.

So God created mankind in his own image,

in the image of God he created them;

male and female he created them. Genesis 1

Jesus replied. “But at the beginning of creation God ‘made them male and female. ’For this reason a man will leave his father and mother and be united to his wife,and the two will become one flesh.’ So they are no longer two, but one flesh. Therefore what God has joined together, let no one separate.” Mark 10

“In His image” meant male and female, two beings different yet part of one another; in His image meant in a very particular kind of relationship wherein two complementary and very distinct beings are intimate and interdependent.

If we erase the concept of two distinct yet necessary sexes, we lose a premise which allows us to conceptualize the marriage relationship. When we erase marriage as it was designed and intended, we erase marriage. But that’s not all we erase.

The unique sexual union which is the big bang for a marriage relationship creates family, church, community, society, government, nation, world.

Remove that unique relationship, and you remove the nucleus around which everything spins. Remove the foundation, the structure collapses into a chaotic mess. And chaotic messes are no place for love, justice, equality, rights, peace, stability or the building of a society. When we lose that most fundamental thing, we disintegrate and descend into chaos.

For starters: reality-denial. Insanity. Total subjectivity. Disconnectedness, loss of community, relentless self-absorption. Instead of oneness, we get alone-ness.

I said it here: Manifesto: The Primal Creation

Can there be a substitute for male or for female? Can there be an equivalent to the complementary union in marriage? A parent which is nether a mother nor a father?  A substitute for the true family?

In today’s brave new world, marriage means a legal union of two people, gender orientation irrelevant, based on the subjective feelings of the pair. Adopted children can be given over to the stewardship of two persons, gender orientation irrelevant; the need and the right of a child to an ideal consisting of a mother and a father is negated. Transgender bathrooms mandated throughout the land from on high. Urgent social effort to make gender orientation a continuum rather than one which acknowledges reality. And again from on high, the creation ex nilio of gender orientation special rights.

Now we read  here of some of the repercussions when we make male and female a state of mind disconnected from bodies.

Lo and behold! The result for women is that we disappear. We are erased.

The progressive-secular paradigm is cannibalizing itself, and what a surprise: it’s the women who get eaten first.

Gender

Reducing Relationship

Re-posting this from two years ago.

I have a husband who won’t let me get near the dishes lately. There are always a lot of dishes here, a lot, always. His reasons are clearly excuses.

In 31 years, we have not had Fight One over who works harder, whether he should help with the housework, or whose job it is to iron his clothes, mow the lawn or put the kids to bed. But it’s certainly not because we’re above such things.

We don’t do 50/50 here.

Did other people speak wedding vows which assigned domestic duties, and which spouse was going to be the primary breadwinner?  Because  to hear some people complain about the sorry thing called marriage, you would think that in their vows, they promised to model Ozzie and Harriet in their suburban 1950’s home. And they don’t want to, so away with marriage, that obsolete patriarchal engine of oppression.

We didn’t sign a contract outlining household duties or role requirements when we got married. We didn’t confuse our wedding vows with societal expectations or TV sitcoms.

What did we vow?

“Will you have this woman/man to be your wife/husband, to live together in holy marriage? Will you love her/him, comfort her/him, honor, and keep her/him in sickness and in health, and forsaking all others, be faithful to her/him as long as you both shall live?”

“In the name of God, I, ______, take you, ______, to be my wife/husband, to have and to hold from this day forward, for better, for worse, for richer, for poorer, in sickness and in health, to love and to cherish, until we are parted by death. This is my solemn vow.”

What we vowed may have been a slight variation on these words, I don’t remember. We knew what we were promising.

Notice that we both vowed the same things. There wasn’t the Housewife Version and the King of the Castle Version.

You’ll also notice that these vows are not limiting, but rather open-ended, except as to duration–until death. We were promising to love, to comfort, to be faithful.  We were not promising the nuts and bolts, the how we would achieve these abstract states of existence. We were promising to live the rest of our lives committed to and committing to one relationship.

A relationship has the potential to grow and expand, and to build toward almost infinite intimacy. To live under a contract would reduce our love to a pre-ordained set of boundaries.

On another front…

During my tenure as a parent, I’ve been advised by persons who are over The Age of Eighteen, that I ought not to tell adults what to do. All the advice-granters in the world would tell me to say: OK, you’re an adult now, so I’m not allowed to tell you what to do. In return, I give up caring whether you get yourself up for church, school or work. It’s your business and I’m not going to help you anymore. You’re not my responsibility.

There is certainly truth in there. My role as a Mom changes as my child matures and I do have to increasingly step back and let him make decisions, and let him live with the way those decisions play out. I’m fine with Mr. Experience  teaching her the responsibilities of adulthood. And I’m not above feeling a tiny bit of pleasure when an “I told you so” would be a legally appropriate thing to say.

But relationships are not contracts. A contract spells out what I am, and am not, responsible for. Beyond the requirements of a contract one does not go. A contract limits my actions.

When we had a young teenager who was self-willed and apparently in danger of going off the rails, the going advice was to put the relationship under contract.  This is what’s expected of you, Teenager.  And if you commit these crimes, here is a handy list of the corresponding consequences. Now you know what to expect. 

It was an invitation not to be resisted. And because our children are creative people, it was unresisted very creatively. There was no instance in which he/she committed Offense X and therefore was liable for Consequence X.  It was never that simple.

Because they don’t just want to do X and get away with it; the goal is to confound your attempts to be the authority in the first place. They want to mess with you. It’s all about the relationship, and the rebellious child knows that better than you do.

Contracts and legal agreements reduce a relationship to that which is spelled out therein. Do we really want our family relationships lived via contractual agreement?

Relationships are not contractually binding; relationships supersede contracts. My behavior toward those I love aren’t limited by the letter of the law. Or so says The Author of Relationships:

Romans 12:10 “Be devoted to one another in love. Honor one another above yourselves.”

John 15:12-13 “My command is this: Love each other as I have loved you. Greater love has no one than this: to lay down one’s life for one’s friends.”

Romans 12:8 “Let no debt remain outstanding, except the continuing debt to love one another, for whoever loves others has fulfilled the law.”

“We love him, because he first loved us.”  1 John 4:19

“Above all, love each other deeply, because love covers over a multitude of sins.”   I Peter 4:8.

Relationships with human beings are infinitely more binding than legal agreements. We are accountable to love one another. To act on their behalf toward their good, even and especially when they aren’t able to appreciate the help, even and especially when we don’t think we have the strength to do it, even and especially when we feel like doing the opposite.

According to J.Budziszewski, “Love is a commitment of the will to the true good of the other person.”

I want to relate to people in my life according to love and grace, not according to a reductive contractual agreement.  At times, I must borrow heavily from an inexhaustible Source to fulfill my part.

I give the Adult a wake-up call because I know he has trouble hearing his alarm, on the morning after receiving the caution not to tell the Adult he should go to bed. Or go pick her up when she didn’t plan for the ride home. Overlook irritating and irritated talk.  Dive in to thankless tasks. Really act as though the person is truly loved, and you couldn’t live without her, because it’s true.

And isn’t the debate over complementarian (no, it’s not in my spellcheck vocabulary either) vs. egalitarian marriage really a hyper-focus on this very thing? They can’t get their eyes off of that simplistically reductive 50/50.

The change agents are so proud of their enlightened egalitarian marriages.  They’ve given us something new, something never seen before in the long millennia of human history: men and women, equal in marriage! Hey, congrats and thanks, guys!

I do hate to tell them that the Bible had this one a long time ago:

Submit to one another out of reverence for Christ. Ephesians 5:21.

And specifically on marriage:

Ephesians 5:33: “However, let each one of you love his wife as himself, and let the wife see that she respects her husband.”

I Peter 3:7:Likewise, husbands, live with your wives in an understanding way, showing honor to the woman as the weaker vessel, since they are heirs with you of the grace of life, so that your prayers may not be hindered.”

Each man should have his own wife and each woman her own husband. The husband should fulfill his marital duty to his wife, and likewise the wife to her husband. The wife’s body does not belong to her alone but also to her husband. In the same way, the husband’s body does not belong to him alone but also to his wife. Do not deprive each other except by mutual consent and for a time, so that you may devote yourselves to prayer. Then come together again so that Satan will not tempt you because of your lack of self-control.”  I Corinthians 7: 2-5

Settle what job is whose, for goodness sake, and move on.

Of course when you have just now thrown away: what women are, what men are, and what you are; and you confuse Ward and June Clever with millennia-old Scriptural teaching, it makes for a little tiny bit of confusion. If you’re going to set out to right societal wrongs, it would be best to get an understanding of the issue all the way down to its foundations.

My husband does the dishes lately without explanation.  He fends me off and tells me to go relax.  After working all day and then chauffeuring for awhile, then going to a meeting, after working on his own writing, before going to bed much too late and getting up much too early.

It’s not because he’s invented a brand new kind of marriage. It’s not because he’s heard on Christian radio that husbands doing housework get rewarded in the bedroom. He has nothing to prove and no secret agenda. He just understands what he promised.

 

Unbreakable Marriage

Messages from the Mythical

The state may call marriage what it will; that redefined marriage may become the law of the land; popular consensus may absorb a vaguer set of definitions of marriage; but I will never call something marriage that God does not.

God is the Person who created marriage, designed marriage with certain precise components and parameters, and gave us this loving gift for our joy and benefit. To our shame we sometimes forget that its ultimate purpose is for His glory and praise.

So we go into our future, two sorts of marriages diverging, two paths splitting and moving away in opposite directions. The one marriage is secular, human-engineered, temporal, with relative and changing definitions. Societally driven, government-enforced, and defensively hypersensitive to criticism.

The other is a gift from the Creator of the Universe, unchanging, supernatural, mysterious…and eternal. It is not fragile, and it will never disappear.

No redefinition, no legislation can touch real marriage…

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Unbreakable Marriage

The state may call marriage what it will; that redefined marriage may become the law of the land; popular consensus may absorb a vaguer set of definitions of marriage; but I will never call something marriage that God does not.

God is the Person who created marriage, designed marriage with certain precise components and parameters, and gave us this loving gift for our joy and benefit. To our shame we sometimes forget that its ultimate purpose is for His glory and praise.

So we go into our future, two sorts of marriages diverging, two paths splitting and moving away in opposite directions. The one marriage is secular, human-engineered, temporal, with relative and changing definitions. Societally driven, government-enforced, and defensively hypersensitive to criticism.

The other is a gift from the Creator of the Universe, unchanging, supernatural, mysterious…and eternal. It is not fragile, and it will never disappear.

No redefinition, no legislation can touch real marriage. It will always be what it is, even though no one at all should be left to embrace it.

wedding