Is Monogamy on Life Support?
- 2006 7 Mar
Our 'expert' on the subject of monogamy is a gentleman named Jacques Attalli. Here is his opening salvo...
"Monogamy, which is really no more than a useful social convention, will not survive. It has rarely been honored in practice; soon, it will vanish even as an ideal."
Okay it has officially happened. I have now become that grumpy old man that I used to ridicule. Mr.Attalli had my blood boiling after his first 29 words. Not bad. First of all, marriage is much more than a "useful social convention." Marriage is the God ordained structure for family and societal health. And in my primitive circles monogamy is not rarely practiced. There are couples all over the world that have the maturity and the emotional health to remain in a monogamous and loving relationship.
"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. Therefore what God has joined together, let man not separate." Mark 10:6-9 (NIV)
I believe there is a spiritual dimension involved in the sexual union that makes it more than an episode on Animal Planet.
Mr.Attalli would disagree.
"Just as most societies now accept successive love relationships (they do?), soon we will acknowledge the legality and acceptability of simultaneous love."
Somebody help me here. What in the wide, wide world of sports are successive love relationships? Perhaps another word to describe a man involved in "successive love relationships" would be, oh let's see, jerk. And the day that we acknowledge "simultaneous love" as the standard is the day that we have lost the battle. I will celebrate (and that is the right word) my 30th wedding anniversary next July. It has not always been easy. We had some really rough times. But I am so grateful that we persevered. Something happens when a couple grows toward each other. When both parties give up the selfish expectation that the other person is responsible for their happiness then the biblical concept can begin to happen. My wife and I are experiencing that mystical journey of the two becoming one and I am more in love with her today than I was 30 years ago. There is a richness and depth to our relationship that could never be found in "simultaneous love."
Attalli has anticipated the battle with dinosaurs like me.
"The demise of monogamy will not come without a struggle (right!). All the churches will seek to forbid it, especially for women. (How about letting the women speak for themselves Jacque? Perhaps they would have a different take on your simultaneous love idea. I know that my bride would beg to differ).
Attalli sees that ultimately the "battle" will be won.
"For a while, they (those backward church people) will hold the line. But individual freedom (aka selfishness), once again, will triumph. The revolution will begin in Europe (surprise), America will follow (sadly likely), and the rest of the world will eventually come around."
Here is the truly heartbreaking part of Mr.Attalli's vision.
"Relationships with children will be radically different, (No kidding. Son, meet my friend Poopsie. She is my current successive love relationship) financial relationships will be disrupted and how and where we live will change. To be sure, it will take decades for the change to be complete, and yet, if we look around, it is already here. Beneath our hypocrisies in movies, novels, and music the shape of our future is visible."
If Hollywood and the music industry defines our future we have truly hit cultural rock bottom and with a sickening thud. Do any of these elite thinkers ever visit a real community in a far away place like Iowa? I believe the results of a culture defined by movies, novels, and music would be devastating. (Told you I have achieved grumpy old man status). May we call a spade a spade? A large percentage of our narcissistic culture is no longer willing to sacrifice in marriage or as parents. The trail of wounded men, women, and children left behind by philosophies like Mr.Attalli's is epidemic. And yes, the Christian church has not consistently modeled God's ideal. But circumventing the truth does not change the truth. We are wired for a relationship with God and for intimate relationship with our mates. Tsunamis of testosterone does not change that truth. As King Solomon noted there is nothing new under the sun. In the book of Judges the people rejected the standards of God.
In those days there was no king in Israel; everyone did what was right in his own eyes. Judges 21:25 (NASB77)
Doing what is right in your own eyes does not make it right. I love my wife. I intend to remain monogamous until death do us part. Monogamy is not on life support. But I cannot say the same about the values of our culture.
Dave Burchett is an Emmy Award winning television sports director, author, and Christian speaker. He is the author of When Bad Christians Happen to Good People and “Bring’em Back Alive – A Healing Plan for those Wounded by the Church.” Dave is available to bring his unique perspective to your conference, meeting, or broadcast. Dave and Joni, his wife of twenty-nine years, have three grown sons. You can reply by linking through daveburchett.com.