We live in a world in which thousands of years of traditional, assumed gender roles are being turned upside down. Many questions about human sexuality and gender are being asked that have never been asked before, and new vocabulary is being developed by those who wish to redefine man-woman marriage and gender roles. New vocabulary? Why do we need new vocabulary? Well, because there are so many new ways to explore human sexuality, and relationships are no longer just between one man and one woman. There must be new terminology to describe and protect all kinds of relationships.
Yesterday I attended a wonderful symposium given by the Wheatley Institute at Brigham Young University. Ryan T. Anderson and Sherif Girgis, co-authors of the book, “What is Marriage?” were two of the speakers. These men are highly educated and on the forefront of the man-woman marriage debate. I was impressed by how matter-of-fact and positive they were. As Ryan Anderson was answering the question, “Why does marriage even matter?” he referred to three new words being used to accommodate modern sexual trends. He has written about these new words in an article from which I quote:
“”Throuple” is a three-person couple. New York Magazine reports about it. Here’s the question: if I were to sue and say that I demand marriage equality for my throuple, what principle would deny marriage equality to the throuple once you say that the male-female aspect of marriage is irrational and arbitrary? The way that we got to monogamy is that it’s one man and one woman who can unite in the type of action that can create new life and who can provide that new life with one mom and one dad. Once you say that the male-female aspect is irrational and arbitrary, you will have no principled reason to retain the number two.
Likewise, the term “wedlease” was introduced in the Washington Post in 2013. A wedlease is a play on the term wedlock. It’s for a temporary marriage. If marriage is primarily about adult romance, and romance can come, and it can go, why should the law presume it to be permanent? Why not issue expressly temporary marriage licenses?
And lastly, the term “monogamish.” Monogamish was introduced in the New York Times in 2011. The term suggests we should retain the number two, but that spouses should be free to have sexually open relationships. That it should be two people getting married, but they should be free to have sex outside of that marriage, provided there’s no coercion or deceit.”
Now, whatever you think about group marriage, whatever you think about temporary marriage, whatever you think about sexually open marriage, as far as adults living and loving how they choose, think about the social consequences if that’s the future direction in which marriage redefinition would go. For every additional sexual partner a man has and the shorter-lived those relationships are, the greater the chances that a man creates children with multiple women without commitment either to those women or to those kids.“
(Ryan T. Anderson, “Marriage Matters, and Redefining It Has Social Costs”, 2014)
There may be even more new words emerging to describe new sexuality, and political leaders are eager to be on “the right side of history” by supporting these new ways of living.
I urge each of us to continue to study, learn, and share this information with others who are on the fence about how redefining marriage will affect every one of us. The conference I attended yesterday was a great teaching moment for me as I listened to six speakers who shared with kindness, hope, and encouragement. We can do the same when we share this information with others. There is hope for the cause of marriage and family.