Yesterday, the Huffington Post ran an editorial by Lisa Haisha with the title “Is It Time to Change Our Views of Adultery and Marriage?”
With that title, you can figure out her answer.
Haisha begins by saying that “society’s view” of marriage–a man and woman married for life–has not always been the accepted norm. Many societies have (and do) expect and promote multiple partner marriages.
She then writes:
Clearly the concept of marriage has changed greatly over the years. And with today’s rate of divorce between 40 and 50 percent, coupled with the prevalence of adultery in many marriages, perhaps it’s time for the concept of marriage to continue to evolve. According to Associated Press, Journal of Marital and Family Therapy, 41 percent of spouses admit to infidelity, either physical or emotional. This leads me to ask, “Are we really supposed to be with just one person our whole life? And if not, must we get re-married five times? Are there alternative ways to perceive and participate in a marriage that will guarantee its success?”
As you might expect, Haisha then goes to the growth of life expectancy as her major argument. When people used to marry at 20 years of age or so (she fails to mention that many used to get married as teenagers), they were only expected to live another 10-15 years. So, it was not difficult, she argues, to think that marriage could last “’til death do us part.”
Now, though, we live much longer (and she fails to point out that many are waiting longer to get married, too), so those same 20-year-old newlyweds now would be expected to stay together for 50 or 60 years.
Her point is not to promote adultery, and we should be thankful she points that out. However, she does state about adultery, “Because it is so taboo, when you consider the historical context of marriage, isn’t being shocked by adultery a bit of an overreaction?”
If you think that isn’t strange enough, you haven’t seen anything yet. Haisha writes,
Maybe the tenets of a successful marriage should not be whether the couple stays monogamous for decades, but rather whether the couple openly communicates about what their unique marriage will look like, what will be deemed acceptable and what will not, and then honoring that joint decision.
Did you catch that? You should define what you think a “good” or “successful” marriage should be, and then live to that level of success. If that’s means Let’s try to stick it out for 10 years then move on, then I guess you just shoot for 10 years. If that means It’s okay to have an affair so long as we are open about it, then just communicate that to your spouse and your marriage will be much happier.
Haisha does state that she works with many couples who are divorcing (or who have divorced) and that adultery is very often cited. She states that the reason the adultery occurred is because there was a breakdown in communication in the marriage. As she closes her editorial, she writes that couples should be strong in communication to avoid adultery. We would certainly agree with that.
However, she has already weakened her argument with the use of making marriage “fit” within the confines of modern culture. Since society’s view and expectations of marriage have changed/are changing, so should each individual marriage. Her argument is basically, if you want to try to stay married for a lifetime, communicate that, but if you don’t, just cast that vision ahead of time, too.
As a Christian, these types of articles fly in the face of God’s standard for marriage. While it is easy to state that some Biblical people (Abraham, David, etc.) had more than one wife, the Bible (1) never says this part of their life was acceptable to the Lord, and (2) always shows that this led to difficulty.
Further, when the New Testament was given, there is nothing that can be remotely used to sanction anything other than one man with one woman for a lifetime. Marriage is sacred and God-honoring. When we sever the bonds of marriage, we are making it more difficult to display the never-ending faithfulness of God.
So, to answer the Haisha’s question, “Is it time to change our views of adultery and marriage?” The answer is “yes,” if you agree with Haisha. The answer is “no” and “never” if you are standing with the Almighty and His powerful Word.
Source: “Is It Time to Change Our Views of Adultery and Marriage?” [Huffington Post]
Photo credit: “Wedding Rings” on freeimages.com
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