Tuesday, February 24, 2015

Redefining marriage

Oh, no, he's going to write about same-sex marriage again! No. I'm going farther back this time, to consider the redefining of marriage that paved the way for this more recent development.

A redefinition of marriage took place long before "same-sex marriage". This redefinition cast off years of religious belief and social praxis in favor of the modern and untested.* In the old tried and tested "definition" of the institution of marriage the feelings are secondary to a permanently established covenant. It provides a safe relationship for husband, wife, and for the needs of children. The modern and untested version reorients toward the feelings, desires and "romance" of adults. This does not insure a safe haven for children (or adults), but rather is sand that shifts with the changing desires of the adults. According to Ryan Anderson, "The revisionist view is...about an intense emotional union that any two adults can form regardless of their sexual complementarity, and children are seen as an optional add-on if the couple chooses to have children."

Marriage has been redefined because love has been redefined. It is some strange Hollywood feeling, we know not what. It is a warm feeling down in the gullet, and, to speak plainly, a warm feeling down in the groin. This is not to say that infatuation, passion, physical attraction and physical desire have no part in one's love interest, but rather than these qualities are fleeting, fading, and fluctuating -- not vital and persistent. Love will hold the hand of a spouse with emaciated body and tenantless mind and walk all the way to the end of the road with that one. Passion will droop and physical desire may wane or even be directed toward another. True love is bigger and better -- and not enslaved by emotional captors. It is commitment and caring, sacrifice and sharing that lives above and beyond the fluctuating feelings of human hesitation and chronic caprice. If you say that you "just don't love your spouse any more" and there will be plenty of fair-weather friends, advice columnists and divorce attorneys to second that emotion. For all their majority, their guidance is founded in failure -- the blind leading the blind.

Not only is marriage "redefined," it is also being "reworded." In The Social Costs of Abandoning the Meaning of Marriage Ryan T. Anderson tells us about "The New Language of Marriage." Here are a few bits:
“Monogamish.” —relationships where partners would allow sexual infidelity provided they were honest about it.
“Throuple.” —similar to “couple” but with three people. The word appeared in a 2012 article in New York Magazine that described a specific “throuple” this way: Their throuplehood is more or less a permanent domestic arrangement. The three men work together, raise dogs together, sleep together, miss one another, collect art together, travel together, bring each other glasses of water, and, in general, exemplify a modern, adult relationship.
“Wedlease.” —Two people commit themselves to marriage for a period of years -- one year, five years, 10 years, whatever term suits them. The marital lease could be renewed at the end of the term however many times a couple likes...The messiness of divorce is avoided and the end can be as simple as vacating a rental unit.
Marriage brings the two halves of humanity -- male and female -- into one whole. "They shall be one flesh" -- one in sexual union and one in the children they produce. Jesus explained it this way:

The Gospel of Mark, Chapter 10
6 But from the beginning of the creation God made them male and female.
7 For this cause shall a man leave his father and mother, and cleave to his wife;
8 And they twain shall be one flesh: so then they are no more twain, but one flesh.
9 What therefore God hath joined together, let not man put asunder.

Biblically, marriage is a lifetime covenant established by God. He made male and female, designed and exhorted them to procreate, and commanded them to leave father and mother for this new commitment. [Divorce between two Christians should be as scarce as hen's teeth. Christians have the Spirit of God within them, the Word of God to guide them, and the church of God to support them.] From Jesus's positive instruction we find the definition of marriage. It is based on God's creation order. It is a primary mutual relationship that is a union of body and soul -- heterosexual, exclusive and permanent. We redefine it to the detriment of our families, churches and society. 

* In my opinion, the degree of testing we have seen is that it breaks down the permanent bond of marriage for the fleeting and transient romance of temporary feelings of "love".

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