This past weekend Matt and I celebrated our 18th wedding anniversary. We were planning on a night away together in a nearby town. Except it happened to be the same weekend as my son’s MMA campout. And next weekend Matt is driving our oldest and some youth to the location for their mission trip. So we settled for a dinner out and hope to get that overnight trip in a couple of weeks.
This is normal life stuff. It doesn’t make me question monogamy or wish I had some other guy to whisk me away. I want to spend time with the man I married 18 years ago. Thankfully, I get to wake up next to him every morning.
I mention all this because I got an email from a reader this weekend, wondering if I would respond to an article an old friend of hers wrote titled Monogamy is NOT for Amateurs. It’s the first of a series. This article is a bit eye opening for a Christian to read. And I find myself now writing on a topic that I didn’t think I would ever need to defend.
I guess an 18-year wedding anniversary is as good a time as any to reflect on monogamy. With the latest Supreme Court redefinition of marriage, it’s easy to see how monogamy can simply be reduced to one decision among several other so-called equal options between consenting adults.
This article displays monogamy as a relationship option that is not suited for most. Kelly Marceau first introduces the “Sexy-Consciously Awake Women Relationship Series” (yes, that is the real name of it) that will “explore all the different elements of relationship” sharing her own preferences:
While most women in the world are looking for THE ONE or dream of meeting that man they can share an infinite love story with, I am like a woman at a French Bakery who wants a little taste of everything. I don’t just like cupcakes, I like carmel eclairs, chocolate mousse cups, and macaroons too. So, why would I choose just one of anything when I can have a little taste of them all?
She then opens her first article of the series with this line:
ONE THING, I have never understood about MONOGAMY is the notion that one person could be everything for you.
And with that first line it is clear that Marceau does not have a good understanding of love, relationships, and monogamy (or when to use capitol letters). My husband and I would certainly have had 18 miserable years if we looked at monogamy this way. Love is not consumeristic. I do not look to my husband to satisfy me, and thankfully that word was not in our wedding vows. I too would be as insatiable as the author if that were the case.
I agree with Marceau when she says, “It’s seems like a really tall order to think that one person could be your everything,” if we are talking about earthly husbands. But I look to the only One who satisfies, Jesus Christ, and I can then love and serve my husband and receive his love and service in return.
The author continues to show her consumerist understanding of love as she talks about the need for variety to grow. I agree that different types of people help me to grow. But do I need to be in a sexual relationship with someone to grow with them? And connecting that with her opening paragraph, am I to think of human beings in the same way I look at a sumptuous dessert? If someone has appealing qualities, is it a proper response to want to devour them for myself? How does that qualify as a relationship?
She argues that we do not know who we will be in the future, so we can’t possibly expect to be with the same person even ten years down the road. Here is what separates a Christian. I do know what I will be in the future. As unbelievable as it seems, I am being transformed into the likeness of my heavenly groom, Jesus Christ. He never changes and he who promised is faithful.
So this is the part where I would emphasize the importance of marrying within the faith. It is extremely difficult for the Christian married to an unbeliever. God uses marriage for his glory and our sanctification. We are told not to be partners with anyone who would try to deceive us with empty words. Husbands are to love their wives “just as Christ loved the church and gave himself up for her to make her holy, cleansing her by the washing with water through the word” (Eph. 5:25-26). The Christian understanding of monogamy has a shared goal of holiness. It is to picture Christ’s love for his church.
Marceau does try to get a little deeper, defining monogamy as “a collaborative effort where together you elevate the two combined energies.” I have no idea what this means. She explains further that it this is about taking responsibility for what you want, and that we need to put ourselves out there to get what we want. Again, we are back to a consumerist view. But I do think she getting to something important here. What we want is love. For Marceau, this is something that takes moving beyond our personal limitations, requiring devotion and commitment.
I will agree there.
We do want love. We desperately need love. But no earthly relationship will satisfy the kind of love that we need. We need a love that makes us new. We need a love that brings us into the Father’s presence. We need a love that rescues and redeems. And we find this in Jesus.
I agree with Marceau that “MONOGAMY IS NO JOKE.” I may even join her in using all caps. It’s an honor. It is our godly context for sexually intimate relationship and family while we await something even greater on the new heavens and new earth. Because God is faithful, I can be faithful. But this author has got it all wrong when she says, “love, in monogamy, is a selfish pursuit.” That is a one-sided relationship and there is nothing intimate about it. My husband does not need the burden of trying to satisfy me. Because of that he can truly love me in Christ as we serve our Lord together.
I don’t need variety in men to hook up with. I need holiness. That’s where I find love, and that is the source from which I can give love. And so it is sad that this author is writing authoritatively on sexiness, consciousness, and wakefulness in relationships, when she doesn’t have eyes to see the love that she truly needs.
*Originally published June 30, 2015.