Thursday, October 10, 2013

Is Monogamy Ridiculous?

I happened upon a video on the internet recently where a male sex columnist (who is particularly chauvinistic and cynical, in my opinion) goes on a several-minute rant about how monogamy is ridiculous. I sometimes wonder if people don't post these types of videos merely to rile viewers up and create buzz. His video response seriously reeks of a man who is either bitter because he has had his own heart broken by a woman who was - shall we say, less than monogamous - or he is just really THAT chauvinistic, and has no respect for the sanctity of marriage. 

Either way, I was so livid with his bold declarations after only a few seconds of hearing his ridiculous tirade that I felt inclined to just shut off the video and go about my day, trying to shake off the feeling of disdain that had suddenly consumed me. But then I felt an overwhelming desire to speak out and share my opinion on the situation. 

Originally, when I felt inspired to write this post, I had no intention of sharing the video. I found it to be outrageous and borderline blasphemous, and I did not want to draw any extra attention to its heinous message. But then I considered (for a whole second, maybe) posting it to this blog for the mere purpose of giving my readers a point of reference for this blog post. After going back and watching the video several times, however, I have decided NOT to post it, simply for the fact that Mr. Sex Columnist uses vulgar and offensive language - and I decided it's not worth exposing you all to that filth. Instead, I will reference excerpts from his video, and hope that that will satisfy your curiosity.

First off, Mr. Sex Columnist boldly declares that "60 years ago is when we decided that men had to be monogamous too." Really? Who is this "we" that he is so brazenly referring to? And where is he getting his facts? It is true that throughout the history of man, there are innumerable accounts of men of power having concubines and such - and for a great part of world history, it was acceptable in society for a man to be promiscuous, while women were held to a much higher standard. However, does that mean that this view is correct? Or that the expectation that men and women be equally monogamous only originated 60 years ago when "marriage became less of a property transaction, and became a union of two equals"? I mean, seriously...since when was society's definition of "acceptable" ever a reliable definition of what was right or wrong according to the laws of God?

He went on to say that "monogamy is ridiculous, and people aren't any good at it. We're not wired for it. We didn't evolve to be - it's not natural." From the time that Adam and Eve walked the earth, men and women have equally been held to the expectation that monogamy is the standard in marriage, unless the Lord declares otherwise. Anything less is in direct defiance of God's law - no matter what society deems acceptable or "natural". Jacob 2:27 (which took place about 544-421 B.C.) says:

Wherefore, my brethren, hear me, and hearken to the word of the Lord: For there shall not any man among you have save it be one wife; and concubines he shall have none;

In a talk titled "Reverence and Morality," which President Gordan B. Hinckley gave in April 1987, when he was First Counselor of the First Presidency, he stated:
"Prophets of God have repeatedly taught through the ages that practices of homosexual relations, fornication, and adultery are grievous sins. Sexual relations outside the bonds of marriage are forbidden by the Lord. We reaffirm those teachings. Mankind has been given agency to choose between right and wrong. 
Said the prophet Lehi to Jacob:“Wherefore, men are free according to the flesh; and all things are given them which are expedient unto man. And they are free to choose liberty and eternal life, through the great Mediator of all men, or to choose captivity and death, according to the captivity and power of the devil; for he seeketh that all men might be miserable like unto himself” (2 Ne. 2:27). 
 I absolutely love that passage. It reminds me of the scripture found in Mosiah 3:19, which reads:

For the natural man is an enemy to God, and has been from the fall of Adam, and will be, forever and ever, unless he yields to the enticings of the Holy Spirit, and putteth off the natural man and becometh a saint through the atonement of Christ the Lord, and becometh as a child, submissive, meek, humble, patient, full of love, willing to submit to all things which the Lord seeth fit to inflict upon him, even as a child doth submit to his father.

So, referencing back to the video, Mr. Sex Columnist went on to say "it puts a strain on our marriages and our long-term commitments to expect them to be effortlessly monogamous." No one is saying that monogamy is effortless. No one is saying that marriages don't have other challenges either. But to say that not expecting monogamy in marriage will cause less strain on the relationship is completely ridiculous. I am sorry, but when two people are in a long-term relationship and are committed to one another, there is no saying there won't be temptation. The sin is not in the temptation; however, it is in one's choice to give in to that temptation. And giving into that temptation is what puts strain on marriages. 

In President Hinckley's talk mentioned above, he continued by saying:

"I repeat, each of us has a choice between right and wrong. But with that choice there inevitably will follow consequences. Those who choose to violate the commandments of God put themselves at great spiritual and physical jeopardy. The Apostle Paul said, “The wages of sin is death” (Rom. 6:23). 
Jacob taught, “Remember, to be carnally-minded is death, and to be spiritually-minded is life eternal” (2 Ne. 9:39). 
Jesus gave a commandment to control our thoughts as well as our deeds. He said, “Whosoever looketh on a woman to lust after her hath committed adultery with her already in his heart” (Matt. 5:28)."  

 Finally, the sex columnist in the video says that "if you were with someone for 40 or 50 years and they only cheated on you a few times, they were GOOD at being monogamous." GOOD at being monogamous? Really? I am sorry, but "good at being monogamous" means you are, in fact, monogamous.  If you cheat on your spouse - even one time - then you are no longer in the running for "good at being monogamous." 

As someone who has witnessed numerous marriages fall apart from infidelity, ultimately ending in nothing but pain and the bitter sting of the consequences that follow (often manifesting continuously for several years), I can honestly say that to expect anything less than 100% monogamy in marriage is to be setting yourself up for failure. 

I am not saying that there is no room for forgiveness in these circumstances. I know we are all human, and people do make mistakes. And though I believe that pure monogamy is essential to a healthy, lasting relationship, I also believe in the power of the Atonement, and I know that if a person is truly sorrowful for the choices they have made, and they repent for what they have done, through the Atonement (and through extensive counseling) they may be able to work through that particular trial in their marriage. But there are no guarantees, so why take the risk?  

I have also personally witnessed many couples who have gone through this type of trial and were able to work together to come through it, salvaging their relationship through the power of the atonement and through counseling, as mentioned above. I am glad they were able to do so, but infidelity is something that definitely leaves its mark on a marriage, as it often takes years to overcome. I honestly think it is best to avoid infidelity at all cost.

This is where communication comes in. I think it is extremely important to have open communication in a marriage - or any relationship for that matter. One point that Mr. Sex Columnist touched on was that individuals' needs are often not being met in marriage, and therefore their only option is to seek outside their marriage for answers to these deficiencies. I am sorry, but this is when communication is most important in a marriage. If there is a need that is not being met (whether it be emotional or physical - as men and women often have different motives for cheating), one need turn inward to his/her marriage to discuss the issue with their partner, and to find a solution to the problem together. This approach would more likely have a positive, productive outcome, and can often result in the couple experiencing a strengthening in their relationship, bringing them even closer together.

I don't know - maybe that sounds naive, but I can honestly say that I have grown to love my husband more deeply and completely because of the trials we have overcome through communicating openly with each other, through overcoming the temptation to give in to the ways of the world, and through keeping our marriage covenants sacred. And maybe Mr. Sex Columnist would say, "Of course you would be that naive, you are a woman," but I know plenty of men (my husband included) who share my values regarding the sanctity of marriage, who also have a desire to love and respect their spouses through complete and utter fidelity. 

I believe that as children of our Heavenly father, striving to emulate the example of the Savior, we should endeavor to overcome the adversary and keep our marriage covenants sacred - and by doing so, we will be blessed to have the strength to overcome temptation, resulting in lasting, meaningful relationships for all eternity. 

In closing, I just want to express my eternal gratitude for my loving husband. He isn't perfect (nor am I), but he has integrity. He is honest and desires to be faithful, honoring his marriage covenants to me and to the Lord. I am thankful for our relationship and for the trials we have overcome together, and I look forward to an eternity with him - and only him. Now, as far as I am concerned, THAT - my friends - is "good at being monogamous!"  

April 28, 2007

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