Category Archives: Marriage

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.

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

Let’s Try Kindness

Let’s try kindness. Let’s simply try simple kindness.

I see too much of short-tempers and touchiness. I see too many relationships which could be heaven on earth, but which fall far short.  I have to watch while one hurts the other one seeming not to feel any empathy for the pain.

One person gives the other person a world of hurt when they could be enjoying a mutually loving and caring relationship. Offered happiness and unconditional love, we choose our personal agendas. I wonder what could we be thinking?

People take for granted that they’re going to be treated well while taking for granted the human gift that’s been given to them.

It’s hard to watch people lower the bar on their own relationship, as though the offender will benefit in any way. If the bar is lowered, it’s going to be lowered for both of you. Do you mistake forbearance and patience for a lack of feelings? Do you actually think that your partner will take what you dish out, and persevere in holding up his side forever?  You must think an awful lot of him; in fact, you must think he’s not even human.

Because any human being is going to get enough of being treated selfishly one day. He will then have three choices: he can decide to diminish so much that he’ll let you pummel him into a doormat whom you won’t respect, or he will decide not to take your garbage anymore, and give it back to you. Or he’ll decide that someone else will actually respect him and treat him as though he’s loved.

You say it’s because you can’t respect him? That only says something about you.

If you can’t respect someone who consistently treats you with kindness, sympathy, patience and hopeful attention, in the face of irritation, selfishness of feelings, and dismissal, and does not return anger for anger…you just aren’t able to respect.

And you are missing the obvious:  God has given you an unbelievable gift which you ought to treasure, and you are ungrateful.

What if, instead of looking for irritation, putting our personal agendas before other people’s feelings, and imposing on the other person’s patience and love, we decide to be considerate? What if we are simply polite (even if we don’t actually feel happy about it)?

What if we seek not to hurt even though we must pay the price of swallowing our selfish moods? How about if instead of serving our own childish feelings, we decide to serve the people God has chosen to be our companions in life?

What would we lose?

How about if the law in our houses, from now on, is kindness? What if we adopt a standard that even some people who never set foot in a church are able to pull off? What if we decide to expect kindness and love?

Because simple kindness is a shelter against all the troubles of life, and no relationship can withstand consistent unkindness.

 

This is a revision of one of my very first posts, and the recipient of my very first “like”.

 

Same-Sex Marriage vs. the Real Thing

Doug Mainwaring, a marriage and children’s rights activist, tells the truth here about the battle for marriage.

Marriage is so much more than we think. Here are my own related thoughts: The First Creation

 

Same-Sex Marriage vs. the Real Thing: A Gay Man’s View of the Big Picture

 

 

 

Bored with What?!

Rerunning this from two years ago.

It seems my recent post The Waning of Desire: Thoughts on Modesty and Its Opposite  is in danger of being summed up by a familiar phrase:  “Modest is Hottest.”  My fault, I did put “modest” in the title.  My main aim was not to focus on the dangers of improper dress, although it was a piece of the story.

On the  “M is H” social campaign, I find the phrase irritating, the sloganeering insulting, and the reasoning confusing…To dress modestly is hottest?  Then are we aiming at being “hot”, sexually provocative, after all? But to do this by covering up is OK? It’s alright to want to turn on our observers as long as it looks like it’s unintentional? As long as we don’t technically break any dress code rules?

I don’t think that’s what they mean to say either. Must remember to think about popular slogans before we repeat them.

My real point was that a lot of people in our society have lost their connection to something primal and instinctual, so much a vital part of our glorious design, that it is intrinsic to being human and being alive. It is the natural drive to desire and seek sexual satisfaction.

It would be almost impossible in a given day to completely avoid not only explicit sexual images and situations, but even remotely suggestive sexual ideas. We are washed with waves of generic public sexuality almost everywhere. And our media culture no longer arranges its schedule so as to spare children from things they won’t understand. There can be little doubt that children are indeed the object toward which much sexually-infused content is aimed. Just trying to create an uncritical and trusting market.

But the result of all this constant sexual stimulation is not what was intended. There is evidence that some young people are bored with sex.

It is hard to believe possible. Some documentation needed?

The day after I posted, I read this article: Bearing New Images about iconic acclaimed anime filmmaker Hayao Miyazaki. He has been writing for years about the condition of popular culture in his beloved Japan. There are people under the age of 25 in my life, so I read it. Miyazaki has been sounding grave worries about Japanese culture and its effects on Japan’s society. And here is the notable piece:

“…on one point he is surely, but sadly, right: Japan is in peril. Indeed, it’s dying. In its 2013 survey of the sexual habits of Japanese, the Japan Family Planning Association (JFPA) discovered that a catastrophic number of Japanese teens and young adults, aged 16-24, have lost the desire for sex. A quarter of Japanese young men were “not interested in or despised sexual contact”; 45 percent of women reported the same.”

This is astonishing. These young people are bored not only with media-image sex, but are bored with real sex.

I believe we are seeing evidence of similar things right here. Young people flirt with one another by very graphically mimicking sexual situations. Dancing consists of a variety of pantomime sex acts. Near nudity is the only way to dress, and embarrassment over very personal contact has been lost.

To do so is still thought rebellious. Naughty, bad, cool, whatever. But it might just be a habit without a reason. It’s an act. The champagne cork doesn’t seem to pop. All that simulated stimulation leads nowhere. The normal human response doesn’t seem to follow.

Did you think it was possible to make young, healthy people uninterested in sex?  I did not.

I could be wrong. Maybe all that focus on sex is real. Maybe there’s lots of it going on. But maybe it’s just a self-assuring pose.

Our young people are saturated in the popular culture to a degree not seen before. We could turn the TV off and leave the living room. They carry all TV, all media, all of human information, in their hands in one slim device. They have media coming at them from everywhere, all the time.

Add anime culture. Surround them with hero tales, romances, ghost stories, horror, all fractured and rearranged via postmodernism. Then remove all real human beings and replace them with cartoons. Imagine the possibilities. Heroes and villains drawn to order.

Imagine being totally submerged in this popular culture, cosplaying all the time.You identify with anime characters. You are someone else, and that person is digital, two-dimensional and totally imaginary. Imagine how boring cultivating real relationships with real people must seem.

We might have a generation, at least, whose ideal of masculinity and femininity is truly imaginary. Are young men learning what to seek in a partner from the anatomically-impossible standards set by anime women? How many times have you heard a young woman pining wistfully for a man like the hero in her favorite Disney movie? Our kids are looking for cartoon people to build lives with.

They may be disappointed.

The same article goes on to explain why it matters:

“Not surprisingly, in 2012, fewer Japanese babies were born than in any other recorded year. The consequences are clear: JFPA director Dr. Kunio Kitamura warns that Japan will ‘perish into extinction.’”

Will large numbers of young people lack the motivation to build enduring connections with other people, to work hard to support others, to build, to produce, to cultivate? Will they inhabit little solitary islands of self-interest and constant entertainment, wistfully looking for meaning? If so, we all lose.

Not so long ago, it was not considered crass or utilitarian to expect that young people would naturally be driven to seek marriage partners at least partially because they wanted a sexual relationship. Social consensus still agreed that sex was most honorable inside marriage.

And as I pointed out, when we attain a reliable sexual relationship in marriage, we get much more than we thought we were getting.  The drive that motivates us to seek sex is also  the drive to find faithful connection and sublime oneness with another human being. And then we get so much more than we asked for.

Sexual desire is meant to compel us toward important things like finding permanent mates, reproducing, creating families. Families and children need financial support, so people pursue careers and create homes. They cultivate unique cultures in their homes. They build an interdependent society. They pass on a heritage.

Sex (in marriage) requires you to be the right person, work hard and sacrifice, and maintain a committed loyal relationship. I need hardly point out that the formula marriage= sex has been lost, gone out of fashion like spats. Sex is no longer treasured as something special which only happens in the context of a unique commitment.

And when it’s regarded as common, easily obtained, meaningless…who is going to work for that? And why should you be excited about it?

We’re losing marriage. Maybe sex is going next. Maybe there was a real connection between the two.