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Scarlett Johansson and the Meaning of Monogamy

  • Ryan Duncan blogspot for and Ryan Duncan, Entertainment and Culture editor
  • Updated Feb 16, 2017

Actress Scarlett Johansson is certainly no stranger to controversy, and her recent comments on marriage are bound to ruffle some feathers. According to People Magazine, the Avengers star and headliner for the upcoming Ghost in The Shell reboot took a moment during an interview to share her unconventional thoughts on love and relationships. In particular, Johansson (who quietly separated from her husband Roman Dauriac last summer) felt that human beings were never designed to be monogamous. She states,

“‘I think the idea of marriage is very romantic; it’s a beautiful idea, and the practice of it can be a very beautiful thing,’ she says. ‘I don’t think it’s natural to be a monogamous person. I might be skewered for that, but I think it’s work. It’s a lot of work.’”

“She continues: ‘And the fact that it is such work for so many people — for everyone — the fact of that proves that it is not a natural thing. It’s something I have a lot of respect for and have participated in, but I think it definitely goes against some instinct to look beyond.’”

Needless to say, these words caused quite a stir. Johansson became an instant topic of conversation on social media, as fans weighed in with their own opinions. For Christ followers, this news is certainly troubling. Christians have always seen monogamy as God’s true design for human flourishing, one which is sanctified through marriage and extoled by the very words of scripture,

“The LORD God fashioned into a woman the rib which He had taken from the man, and brought her to the man. The man said, ‘This is now bone of my bones, and flesh of my flesh; She shall be called Woman, Because she was taken out of Man.’ For this reason a man shall leave his father and his mother, and be joined to his wife; and they shall become one flesh.” – Genesis 2:22-24

“If anyone is above reproach, the husband of one wife, and his children are believers and not open to the charge of debauchery or insubordination.” - Titus 1:6

Though Johansson’s comments stand in stark contrast to Christian teachings, there is perhaps a kernel of truth to be found in her words. The Bible tells us that all humans are fallen, and as a result, we are slaves to the impulses of our sinful natures (Jeremiah 17:9). Yet, God has called his followers to radical lives which confound the world’s understanding. Instead of hating our enemies we are to love them (Matthew 5:44). Instead of seeking our own glory, we are to pursue humility (Micah 6:8), and instead of following our passions, we are to find love within the bounds of marriage (Ephesians 5:25).

In her own strange way, Johansson is right. Monogamy is unnatural. It is hard work to forge a true relationship, rather than taking the easy road of no-strings-attached romance. Marriage demands we put aside all selfish desire and vain conceit. To paraphrase Crosswalk editor Shawn McEvoy, “Monogamy is sacred because it’s upside-down to naturalism. Just like most things in Christ’s Kingdom.” Some may say the pursuit of faithful, god-honoring marriage is abnormal, but to a believer, that is the highest honor they can bestow.

*Published 2/15/2017

**(Image courtesy of Wikimedia Commons)