May 14, 2012

The Nature of Marriage

I find myself nonplussed by those who see marriage of any sort as primarily about self-fulfillment or self-realization. I see marriage primarily as the gift of one self to another, two selves to each other. It is in this mutual gift that each becomes more than he or she is alone; the self only realized in giving up the self to another, life found in losing it, or losing hold on it. It is in this that I find marriage reflects the love of Christ for the Church: it is gift, not grasping.

Tobias Stanislas Haller BSG
in response to the cavil that same-sex marriage is primarily about people being "fulfilled" or satisfied in their sexual needs, and the red herring that to be fair to bisexuals we have to countenance polygamy

7 comments:

Richard Edward Helmer said...

Not to mention the fruits given and received from the discipline that is part of leading a vowed life. The older I get the more I realize how these are some of the most enduring goods of marriage. It's a way we learn to grow up through relationship.

Goodness, what a bucketful of scarlet fish we've had since the President's words just the other day!

IT said...

Tobias, you have it exactly right Marriage IS making the gift to each other and discovering what we each are capable of giving. It's a profound union of which sexual expression is only small part.

The argument otherwise is part of the sexualization of "teh gay", as though we are driven by sex in a way distinct from our straight brothers and sisters. indeed, some of Them argue that we aren't actually gay unless we're having gay sex. It denigrates and degrades our relationships as mere couplings. It shows a really relentless and disturbing concern about who does what how.

And also , of course, shows a complete failure to understand what bisexuality is.

Sigh. I'm sitting here living the Big Gay Agenda working on my computer, waiting for my wife to come home so we can make dinner together, do the bills, plan what needs to be done in the garden, and all those other big gay domestic tasks like brushing the cat and vacuuming the carpet. Yeah, scary stuff this.

Deacon Charlie Perrin said...

It may just be a sign of how self-centered we've become as a society.

This is now the land of Ayn Rand and her disciples.

I recall the musical "Camelot" and the song sung by Mordred: "The Seven Deadly Virtues." The line I most remember deals with the virtue of humility: "It's not the earth the meek inherit; it's the dirt."

This seems to be the philosophy of many these days.

Erika Baker said...

Even if it WAS about self fulfilment - then surely it would be the same for straight people, so this can be no argument against same sex marriages.

And we really need to get our ideas of bisexuality right. It does NOT mean that people are forever in love with 2 people at the same time or desperate to have sex with 2 people at the same time.

It's simple: when a straight person falls in love, they fall in love with someone from the opposite sex. They are then very capable to "forsake all others" for that person.
When a gay person falls in love, they fall in love with someone from the same sex. They are then just as easily capable to "forsake all others".
And when a bisexual person falls in love, they can fall in love either with someone from the same sex or with someone from the opposite sex. And guess what - they are then perfectly capable to "forsake all others".

Jon said...

What you say works for marriage-as-image or marriage -as-rhetorical device. I'm not sure it's so helpful for being or staying married, however. The difficulty is that, in the deep parts of our hearts and souls, each of us stands alone with God and will continue to do so at least until after each of our final judgments. I would be much more comfortable talking about marriage as a school of the Lord's service, a school of love. Doing so both opens up space to recognize just how much hard work it takes to sustain a marriage and opens up a path back to the image of marriage as gift between spouses. Of course, sexual satisfaction is still not the point.

bob said...

It may be fruitless to point this out, but when Episcopalians try to invoke St John Chrysostom as a way to back gay marriage...Well, is it any wonder you don't have any talks with Orthodox any more? It's so hard to convince you that you insult any Christian with a horizon longer than about two weeks. Really. Grow up. When you get this desperate why bother "arguing" about the subject? You've decided to do it. You don't need to pretend there's a "traditional" way to argue it. There isn't. Wasn't. Won't be. There's just the Episcopalians doing what they want.
By all means, continue with quoting St John Chrysostom to make him mean whatever else you think up. How dishonest can you get?

Tobias Stanislas Haller said...

Bob, I think you meant to post this comment on the other post, the one that cites John C. That being said,
far be it from me to suggest that John Chrysostom would have supported same-sex marriage; nor is that what I am saying here. What I am saying is that John Chrysostom, in this passage from his sermon on Colossians, undermines one of the principal arguments against same-sex marriage, i.e., that it represents a separation of the unitive and procreative aspects of marriage. If you want to look for intellect7ual dishonesty, go to the people who continue to hammer away at assertions in spite of the evidence to the contrary, selectively ignoring what they don't want to hear.