Defining Marriage

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Dec 012005
 
Authors: Jenna Lynn Ellis

The topic of marriage has been a hot-button issue in the last several years, as gay and lesbian organizations seek to dissolve the normative definition of marriage as "between one man and one woman." This kind of attack on the fundamental concept of marriage is alarming.

But what caused it? If we, as a society, are to the point of questioning the very notion of what makes the marriage relationship unique from all other relationships, then it isn't just the definition itself that is in trouble.

We see the marriage relationship dissolve through divorce, cheating, separation and unhappiness, even if the marriage bond itself remains intact. This observation lends evidence to the premise that we don't really understand what marriage truly is. And if we more accurately understood the marriage relationship, the origins and the reasons behind this unique relationship, perhaps we could better live out and maintain our marriages (and the dating relationships that are the precursors).

What is a relationship that is between one man and one woman for life?

The first and perfect relationship exists within the Trinity – the relationship between God the Father, God the Son and God the Holy Spirit. They are the triune God; neither just one deity, nor three, but exist as three-in-one simultaneously. They interact with each other as God.

The balance of unity and diversity in the Trinity gives a model for human social life because it implies that both individuality and relationship exist within the Godhead itself.

From this example of relationship, community and perfect harmony, we derive the primary purpose of the marriage relationship: to reflect in the human experience this perfect relationship. That "perfect" relationship is marriage.

Marriage is the most intimate relationship human beings can have with one another, and it is meant to be the most complete relationship of all, and reflect ours with God as well as God's with the Trinity. The act of sex is sacred and holy because it is mirroring this triune example – when two people literally become one.

So how did this beautiful reflection of the perfection and holiness of God and the joy of relationships get so distorted?

Within our postmodern world, relationships have become nothing more than a means to an end, and the act of sex is no longer a reflection of God's perfect nature in the minds of many, but simply pleasure, not joy.

Many philosophers throughout the ages have attempted to argue around the nature of the marriage relationship and bring it down from a holy state to the level of commonness.

Rousseau claimed that autonomous humans were the "natural" state of humanity, and therefore, all relationships are simply fulfilling individual temporary desires for illicit companionship. So then, to him it followed that if all relationships are unnatural, then marriage itself is unnatural, so why not be unnatural in any way we want to?

Marx believed that humanity is simply mechanical. The problem is with the way that we have created this arbitrary "society" and individualized personal property.

 

Thus, blending these two secular viewpoints, we get: A) that all relationships are unnatural, plus B) communism is the highest state of utopia, which equals C) that we should be communistic in not only our goods, but relative in our illicit, unnatural relationships to our fellow machines. This philosophy is mirrored in our culture's philosophy of relationships, specifically, the sexual revolution.

Our current society even uses the term "the attractive sex" in substitution for what we would normally call "the opposite sex." It is the new unisex relativistic term (like "humankind") to advocate for types of unnatural relationships. The term "attractive" itself suggests lust rather than joy and meaning in a relationship. Everything is superficial, because as machines, we are simply acting on impulses and responding to outside stimulus.

So why would we want to put restrictions on one specific type of relationship if, as Rousseau believed, all relationships are unnatural anyway?

But in truth, the marriage relationship is meant to be so much more than a "celebration of love." It's not a fun little jaunt into another's life that gets kicked off with a big party and can end any time the two involved decide they've had enough partying and go home.

Relationships are the very essence of what makes us human (which, by definition means made in the image of God). The Trinity (God, Jesus, and the Holy Spirit) is the original and perfect relationship.

Our relationship with God and with each other reflects that relationship. We aren't animals that have sex just because our bodies are telling us to and simply as a reproduction mechanism. It's not a subjective, fluid definition.

Those natural and beautiful relationships include marriage and family. We cannot allow ourselves any longer to buy into the secular lies about marriage and the concept and origin of these natural and God-ordained relationships. Being an advocate for marriage isn't as simple as saying "one man and one woman for life," but rather realizing that defining marriage only starts there. And we have to understand why.

Jenna Lynn Ellis is a junior technical journalism major. Her column runs every Friday in the Collegian.

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