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Quick Facts on Marriage

Sep 20, 2003

We live in an age where common sense has deserted us and old truths need to be restated. This paper looks at some home truths about marriage.

*  Almost every culture throughout human history has had a recognizable form of marriage.
*  Marriages existed even before states acknowledged or regulated them.
*  Marriage is both a public act and a social institution.
*  Marriage is not just a purely private or personal arrangement.
*  The institution of marriage has always had two main purposes:
-A public recognition and regulation of human sexuality between a man and a woman.
-A socially recognised means by which children are brought into the world and cared for.
*  Marriage has always been about a sexual relationship between one adult man and one adult woman.
*  Marriage discriminates: 7 years olds cannot marry; three men cannot marry; a brother and a sister cannot marry.
*  Marriage confers tremendous benefits to the rest of society, so societies have always conferred benefits upon married couples.
*  Married couples are subject to special favors because they bring to society special responsibilities.

Other types of relationships are just that: relationships.

*  Many others want the benefits of marriage without the corresponding duties and obligations.
*  Marriage is not just about love between people. Love can exist outside of a marriage: a brother can love a sister, a son can love a father, a girl can love a cat. But marriage is a special kind of love: a life-long commitment, publicly acknowledged, with the possibility of procreation.
*  Love does not keep a marriage together; it is marriage that keeps love together.
*  When we demean or trivialise the idea of marriage, it makes it harder for individual marriages to last the distance.
*  In some ways marriage is a fragile institution which needs constant social support and assistance. That is, while women tend to naturally bond with their offspring, men need more help bonding with their wife and their children. Marriage provides that help.

Homosexual Marriage

*  By equating any and all types of relationships with marriage, we effectively abolish both the idea and the meaning of marriage.
*  The same arguments used to justify same-sex marriages can be used to justify polygamy, incest, bestiality, group sex, and so on. Once the fundamental idea of marriage as one man and one woman is tossed out, any and all types of sexual activity become permissible.
*  Homosexuals comprise a very small portion of Australian society, and homosexuals who want to marry make up an even smaller number.
*  The real aim of campaigning for same-sex marriage is the symbolic approval and social recognition of the homosexual lifestyle.
*  Most homosexuals admit that their understanding of marriage differs from the normal heterosexual understanding, with the willingness to allow extra-marital sexual outlets.

[451 words]

19 Responses to Quick Facts on Marriage

  • Thanks Bill, A great help.
    Dawn McGregor

  • Bill, Thanks, I’m sharing this with a person who emailed to me “Why should marriage be between one man and one woman?”.
    You have clearly and simply explained and set out.
    May God bless you as you bless others *_*
    Judith Bond

  • Thanks Bill. You give me a few points I hadn’t included in my submission. I wonder if you can make more than one?
    Helen Leach

  • Thanks Helen

    You can probably send more info in (in your own words of course) and ask that it be considered as supplementary material to your original submission.

    Bill Muehlenberg, CultureWatch

  • Very good and succinct Bill.

    John Bennett

  • Oh look, a court case challenging the constitutionality of bigamy laws was filed in the US yesterday. What were you saying about the inevitable pushing for Polygamy, Bill?

    http://www.latimes.com/entertainment/news/la-et-quick-20110714,0,7988532.story

    Alison Keen

  • Bill,

    “Marriage has always been about a sexual relationship between one adult man and one adult woman.”

    Not offended if you don’t publish this and want to keep this between us. Send reply to email.

    Isaac was married to Rachel and Leah. Many biblical patriarchs had multiple wives w/o incurring the wrath of God.

    Maybe you have covered this before.

    Graeme Cumming

  • Thanks Graeme

    Just a few quick points. Of course not everything described in the Bible is prescribed. Description does not equal prescription. Also, monogamous marriage was God’s design from the beginning, as expressed early on in Genesis and re-affirmed by Jesus in the Gospels. And Deut 17:17 expressly warns against it. Finally, exceptions do not make the rule. But perhaps I will do an entire article on this soon.

    Bill Muehlenberg, CultureWatch

  • From a world and not just a Christian point of view, marriage of one man to multiple woman is permissible and is marriage of a girl (9+) to an older man. I find it difficult to argue that marriage is between one male and one female adult given that this is not always the case.

    I also think it is important that love is not the only justification for marriage. In our society we marry for love, but we do not let:
    ~ 2 people of the same sex marry, even if they love each other
    ~ 2 minors marry, even if they love each other execpt in exceptional circumstances
    ~ Someone who is married, marry another person, even if they love each other
    ~ An adult marry a minor, even if they love each other.

    Kylie Anderson

  • Thanks Kylie

    But we are talking about the norm here, not obvious exceptions to the rule. Historians and anthropologists will admit to this general norm as well.

    Bill Muehlenberg, CultureWatch

  • Well said. If we had shown heterosexual marriage as it should be maybe there would be less problems. When a lad in Thailand asked me about the Christian view of divorce I was worried about hurting him as I knew his father was not living with his mother. But I could say that God’s original plan in Genesis was that they became one flesh.
    Sometimes its easier in a foreign culture and language than in ones own country to speak the truth.
    Katherine Fishley

  • Dear Bill

    Your ability to write is a God-breathed gift and your congregation is the world! God continue to Bless you richly!

    Kenya Lowther

  • Many thanks indeed Kenya.

    Bill Muehlenberg, CultureWatch

  • Keep marriage Gods way as One male man with One female wife for LIFE. Why do people miss out adding FOR LIFE? That is Gods way, so lets obey!

  • Bill, this could have been in the appendix of your new book Dangerous Relations.

  • The fact is that society is today – as many flourishing societies in the past, starting with the old Israel under the Judges, but even long before that before the Great Flood – abandoning the creative purpose of God in marriage. Marriage is not the only sector where this is happening, but this is now the topic under discussion here. It constitutes a direct rebellion against what Jesus said when He stated that”God made them male & female from the beginning of creation”. The God-ordained & godly relationship between a man & a woman in covenant under God is a precept wherein God teaches sinful humanity to live sacrificially in terms of His Word & creative purpose. Marriage is never easy, in spite of the lauds & romantic spin put on it. It is a process whereby God teaches the value of commitment – which is closely related to integrity & truth as basis for it. It demonstrates the tension field between Christ & His bride, the Church, as formulated in Eph 5. Christ gave His very life for a sinful bride – yet to present her spotless before the Father in heaven – by His sacrifice. To redefine this relationship into something which is outside God’s redemptive purposes as clearly stated in His Word to mankind, constitutes core rebellion in the face of God. It cannot stand, as rebellion against God has devastating consequences for the rebel, or the rebellious society. God’s judgement is inevitable, as He is the final authority & none will bypass Him in the end. When He (tragically, but in His infinite wisdom) gives such over to their lusts & unnatural relations (in terms of His creative purpose) it comes to a situation where the destruction of society is inevitable, as God as a Holy Judge will judge, no matter what man in his humanistic philosophy (called “vain philosophy” in the Scriptures) is convinced of, thinks or does (Rom 1). We have reached a point where it is difficult for the child of God to see a turnaround as the modern society as it stands, is the first with modern technology to aid man in his sin & for attractive, but deceptive ideas to enter his mind. YHWE commanded Israel to utterly destroy the nations of Canaan, as they were beyond redemption in pursuing their evil ways. They did not do it, and it became a snare to them, so they eventually went after the women & the gods of those nations, which led to the eventual judgement of God in a severe manner. We are there, now. We will not be spared the consequences, as more than 20 other civilizations before us have experienced & have gone under in self-caused chaos because of the self-destructive route they followed in rebellion against a holy God who Himself has come to be as one of us, excluding sin, in the man Jesus Christ. The fact that evil has entered the church & that the church in modern times has ever more & more compromised the Truth of Jesus Christ by affirming a.o. homosex in all its aspects, is an indication of how far we have fallen back to the base of fallen human nature, which is in eternal enmity against the authority of Christ Jesus as crucified & risen Lord King of Heaven. The church in large parts has become Canaan. The most horrible words in Scripture, i think, is waiting to be heard & are sure to come, as Jesus Himself said it in Matthew &:21-23.

  • There is only one form of marriage ~~~ it is a holy estate, defined by God Almighty, between a man and a woman.
    All other forms of sexual relationships are sinful and should be recognized as such. Remember, the wages of sin is death!!! ETERNAL DEATH!!!

  • Great little short list Bill.

    The thing I really appreciate is that all of these points are completely fair minded and even tempered. They simply illustrate the fact of the matter.

    Whatever motivation there is for allowing same sex marriage, their main argument and the one that is most rhetorically popular is that ‘people who love each other should be allowed to marry’. This is simply a disastrous attitude. How can anyone defend the claim that homosexuals should be allowed to marry, but polygamists should not, if the only basis for same sex marriage is love?

  • When two people of the same sex cohabit it is called an experiment, when a man and a women live together and marry it is called a contract, yes a marriage contract. So what part of marriage do some people not understand?

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