Monogamy may not be natural, but it is esssential


“Monogamy isn’t all it’s cracked up to be. Or at least it’s not a “natural” way for people to behave in society, according to Scarlett Johansson….She says that while marriage is beautiful in concept, it’s not something she believes is a ‘natural’ state for people, given the tremendous difficulties people face committing to it”, as reported by Theresa Avila.

Maybe it used to be a natural state when women had little means to sustain themselves financially or men could only be sure a child was his.

Maybe it used to be natural when the dominant religion, most likely Christian, Judaism, or Islam, declared that was the way life was to be lived.

Today, however, monogamy is quickly becoming a declining choice alongside polyamory (open relationship), polygamy, and friends with benefits. Monogamy receives a boost from time to time when sexually transmitted diseases pose a threat to life; such as aids, Herpes, and Hepatitis C.  Otherwise, medical science mitigates the need. There has to be more behind the urge to commit than just that, and there is.

People are more than physical beings and the step beyond monogamy, marriage, minimizes the hurt which inevitably comes to all people and maximizes their joy, pleasure, and fulfillment.

Marriage, along with monogamy is on the societal ropes.  Most dictionaries do not include any reference to marriage being a lifelong monogamous commitment or to the fact it was not initiated by humans or any religious institution, but rather by God.  The 1828 edition of Webster’s Dictionary demonstrates what was once the common understanding.

“MAR’RIAGEnoun. The act of uniting a man and woman for life…. marriage is a contract both civil and religious, by which the parties engage to live together in mutual affection and fidelity, till death shall separate them. marriage was instituted by God himself for the purpose of preventing the promiscuous intercourse of the sexes, for promoting domestic felicity, and for securing the maintenance and education of children.”

Marriage bypasses a lot of pain such as regret.  As a 33-year-old psychiatrist said from personal experience, “I never imagined I’d pay so dearly and for so long. Sex without commitment is very risky for the heart.”

Marriage keeps the lid on depression and suicide. Thomas Lickona writing in “Physicians for Life” quotes Kieran Sawyer: “The more the relationship seems like real love, the more the young person is likely to invest, and the deeper the pain and hurt if the relationship breaks up.” Sometimes the rupture leads to deep depression that may lead, in turn, to suicide.

In the past 25 years, teen suicide has tripled. This is the same period during which the rate of teen sexual activity has sharply increased. “Although there are certainly many causes, it is reasonable to suspect that the pain from such break-ups is a factor for some young people”, said Lickona.

Finally, temporary sexual relationships can lower the self-respect of both the user and the used. Lickona observes that casual sex can lower self-esteem, which leads a person into further casual sex, which leads to further loss of self-esteem in an oppressive cycle, which is hard to break.

People are not things. When we treat them as if they were, we not only hurt them; we lose respect for ourselves.

Lickona concludes that “Sex is most joyful and fulfilling – most emotionally and physically safe – when it occurs within a loving, total, and binding life-long commitment, historically called marriage.

Sexual union is then part of something bigger – the union of two persons’ lives.”

On the positive side, governments support marriage, the strongest expression of monogamy, because it best perpetuates and stabilizes society.

Strong marriage laws encourage men and women to procreate and then stay together to mother and father their children. That benefits children and all of society because children raised in biological two-parent homes tend to do better and cause society much less trouble than children raised in other situations.

Tax breaks for married couples is an incentive that benefits the family and reduces the cost to society associated with the breakdown of the traditional family.

Marriage will increase your pay. A Virginia Commonwealth University study found that married men earn 22 percent more than their similarly experienced but single colleagues.

Marriage will help you beat cancer. In a Norwegian study, divorced and never-married male cancer patients had 11 and 16 percent higher mortality rates, respectively, than married men.

Marriage will help you live longer. A UCLA study found that people in generally excellent health were 88 percent more likely to die over the 8-year study period if they were single.

God will guide with His counsel the Psalmist said. His counsel overcomes human folly and guides through all the pitfalls of life because He loves us with an everlasting love (Jeremiah 31:3).

It is natural for men and women to shun God’s directions and plans.  We want to do what we want to do. It is essential, however, to follow God’s sexual guidance if we want life to the full and heartache to be minimized.

His plan is one man and one woman for a lifetime; no adultery, fornication, casual sex before or during marriage with anyone other than the one you share life with, not just a bed.  It may not be natural, but it is essential.

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