Mawwiage is what bwings us togever

The Sermon on the Mount (Matthew, Chapter 5) has some interesting ideas about marriage. I’m also currently reading the Kama Sutra, the guide to love and marriage from India. It claims that people should get married at 16. I’m trying to imagine how that would go over in this country. I don’t think our 16-year-olds are mature enough. We coddle everyone and keep them from having to take any real responsibility as long as possible.

When I went to India, they thought it strange and sad that I was not married at 30. They still have many arranged marriages there, and most people are happy with the situation. Families are closely-knit, villages know one another, and everyone has a pretty good idea what a person’s character is like, and what other person in the village would make an ideal mate.

Of course, they get busy making babies right away. Child-bearing is an honor and a privilege to them. If a 16 or 17-year old gets pregnant in America, it’s considered shameful and low-classed. The baby is frequently given away to be raised by people who do not share the same personality as the parents and therefore do not know how to raise it properly. If the baby is even kept, that is. A pregnancy is often looked at as a cramp on a person’s style-there is money to be made, goals to be pursued, the self to be actualized.

The people of India believe in monogamy and faithfulness as well. Great steps are taken to insure such things; most Indian women will not talk to a man who is not a relative or their husband, and in rural areas, most women rarely venture outside the home. They cook, clean, raise the children and so forth, things that Western women often consider burdensome and oppressive.

Jesus’ teachings on the subject seem more in line with India than America. In Matthew, Chapter 5, verse 27, he preaches against adultery-pointing out that adultery begins in the heart, and with the eye. The connection between male lust and visual stimulation is without question, but Jesus takes it one step further. He says that when a man lusts after a woman, he has committed adultery with her in his heart. With her. As in, a mutual act. If lust=sex, then both parties are responsible. Otherwise, it would be rape, not adultery.

Now, this just seems unfair. A woman can’t help it if someone lusts after her.

Jesus goes on to say in verse 31 that cheating is the only grounds for divorce. What about domestic abuse? What if you don’t love the person anymore?

I would volunteer that relationships also qualify as “marriage” in this sense. People didn’t “date” in the ancient world. Most people were married. There is very little explanation in Scripture as to what marriage is. “A man shall leave his father and mother and cleave to his wife, and the two shall become one flesh.” (Mark 10:7) That’s it. If you don’t live at home anymore and are having sex with someone, you’re married, in the eyes of God. That gives you a whole new perspective, doesn’t it? Some people have been “married” hundreds of times.

To Christians, all sexual fulfillment outside of marriage is considered sin. The Pope recently stirred outrage when he said that even fulfilling lust with your spouse was a sin. I suppose he meant that a married couple having sex with one another should do so only out of love and not desire. Good luck trying to accomplish that bit of moral acrobatics. (Mmm, honey, that was a great meal. I’m going to show my appreciation by doing the Beijing Bicycle with you. But you better not enjoy it.”)

 

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