what is marriage?

I aimed for a heavier topic in this Our Daily Journey devotional. I haven’t submitted it yet, so if you see something, say something.

French president François Hollande was caught cheating on his long time mistress with a younger actress. Worse than the scandal itself was the reaction of the French public. Novelist Jean-Marie Rouart explained, “The whole problem with this Hollande scandal is that he is not married. Had he been married, this affair would never have been revealed. In France, having a mistress is not considered cheating.”

Hollande’s dalliance demonstrates the world’s confusion about sex and marriage. The traditional view of marriage held that sexual union is necessary to consummate a marriage and should be saved for that end. Jesus referred to this when he cited Moses’ instruction that a man should leave his parents and become one with his wife (Genesis 2:7).

This conjugal view of marriage is rapidly being replaced by a revisionist notion that claims marriage is merely a heightened form of emotional intimacy. Sexual union is not required, for two people of the same gender may marry each other. Since sexual union is no longer a vital element of marriage, it might easily be enjoyed elsewhere, as Hollande (and several U.S. Presidents) proved. Marriage has become nothing more than a romantic attachment, which is why so many people mistake butterflies for love and leave their spouse to pursue a fleeting feeling.

We have not yet reaped the whole harvest from these seeds of confusion, but we have already damaged marriage and friendship. We no longer know what marriage is, so we are less able to achieve it. How can we aim at a target we can’t see? And since marriage is merely a passionate commitment to one’s closest friend, friends must be careful lest their friendship be mistaken for something more. Only the conjugal view of marriage can liberate us to have passionate, intimate friendships with people of the same gender. The love between David and Jonathan would seem normal in a world that understands what marriage is.

2 Comments

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  1. Good stuff, Mike, and kudos for tackling the heavy topic. But I think you’ll run into a problem when you talk about sexual union. For a lot of people, “sexual union” means any two people doing any sexually pleasing act together. Without being more specific about what you mean by union—the act in which two people cooperate toward a shared biological end—you’ll likely have readers who think people of the same gender *can* have a sexual union instead of just a shared sexual experience.

  2. Good point, Josh. Thanks. It’s hard to write about this without being graphic.

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