Real Marriage


In a previous post, I talked about the logical foundation of marriage, why it is the most reasonable solution to the problem of how to protect the rights of children with minimal invasion.

In this post, I want to talk about what marriage should be, and why.

Traditionally, marriage was the only place where expression of sexual activity was encouraged. It was expected that a couple would produce children, and not a few.

While societies tolerated violations of this basic principle, the norm throughout history was to have laws expressly forbidding sexual relations outside of marriage. The punishment varied according to time and the people, but usually it was death.

I look up to the original Mosaic Law, that God gave Moses via revelation, as the ultimate guide to what God’s law looks like. In it, God punishes adultery with death, both man and woman. Remember that adultery is having relations as a married man with a married woman who is not your wife.

Other sexual infractions would include fornication, which is having relations with someone who is not married. The punishment for that is that you either die or marry the person — what we call a “shotgun marriage” today. If you can’t satisfy your wife, and she wants a divorce, then you are killed when she divorces you.

These seem especially harsh in today’s world, and rightly so (death is a severe punishment), but honestly, it wasn’t so long ago that our laws read similarly. It wasn’t until the 70s that “no-fault divorce” became common. Up until that point, it would take acts of the state legislature or more to get a divorce.

I can’t help but think how our society would be different if we went back the traditional view of marriage.

  • The only single mothers would be widows. Widows get special treatment by the extended family and community.
  • Every mother and child would have claim on the income of a man. Thus, there would be no need for a social safety net. Men are expected to be able to provide, and those that can’t aren’t ready for marriage.
  • Every man would have a sexual claim on a woman, and every woman on a man. If they don’t like their sexual partner, their choices are to wait until they die or to build them up. IE, if your wife is fat and ugly, and you don’t like sleeping with fat and ugly, then it’s up to you to make your wife skinny and beautiful. Compare this to today, when if your wife gets fat and ugly, you can just walk away and find a skinny and beautiful wife to replace her with, throwing her away like yesterday’s newspaper.
  • A strong network, enforced by violent law, would develop. No longer would a marriage be a temporary union of two people and two families, but an unseverable, eternal binding. When two houses marry, they cannot ever be divided.
  • I believe men would become much more loyal to their family and their wife and children. They don’t get to walk away anymore, and if they want a better life, it would have to be through making his wife and children better. The same for the wife: She cannot improve her station in life without improving her husband and her children. But the children as well would be invested in their parents. If they are to have any inheritance, it is through helping to build the family business. This is the sort of loyalty we sorely lack today.

How would we go about changing the law?

First, we need to call out the horrible situation people who don’t live by such a law find themselves in. I think we already have plenty of scientific evidence that stable marriages are the source of mental stability, financial security, and more. Being born in a stable married couple means you get all the advantages in life, while being born to a single parent means you are doomed. Compare the two at every chance you get, and let people see what an important difference there is.

Second, we need to teach people to live by the higher law of marriage. Don’t marry out of love — marry out of commitment, to yourself, your spouse, your children. We need to help people who find themselves wondering whether they should move on find a better way to fix their marriage. The internet should be flooded with messages telling people how to find sexual satisfaction with their married spouse, how to build a long-term relationship, how to handle all the ins and outs and daily struggles of marriage and make it work.

As people begin to devote their lives to their marriages, we can change the laws to make marriage contracts binding. Change divorce laws, eliminating “no-fault” divorce. Make divorces require a special dispensation from the legislature or the governor. You’re going to hear sad stories about how women feel trapped in their dead marriage. Turn those stories on their heads: “Isn’t it your fault the marriage died?” If the husband is abusive, then punish abuse — but don’t sever the marriage. Hold him accountable in rendering his duty to his wife and children, even if he has to live behind bars because he is violent. Make women realize their “golden ticket” is in staying married, not alimony. Make men realize they have a lot to lose if they leave the marriage.

Once we have eliminated divorce, we can turn our attention to the deviants who engage in sexual activity outside of marriage. If the are able to do it without anyone knowing — how can we catch them and punish them? That’s not the purpose of such a law, and there’s no need for hiring an army of secret police to spy on people’s bedrooms. No, we should be focused on those who openly mock their marriage covenant, and hold them accountable, not just for breaking that covenant, but infringing on the rights of the spouse and children, and assaulting the moral sense of the community. Had they kept it secret enough that neither spouse nor children nor society could discover it — what harm have they really done?

The purpose of the death penalty is not to create mountains of corpses. No, it is to impress upon the minds of the marriage partners the depth of their covenant. It is to allow the other spouse the freedom to seek the death of their partner should they violate that covenant (and imagine how bad a spouse must be to have death wished upon them!) or the general institution of marriage (for when society feels like an individual has gone too far.) There is no lighter penalty because people should not seek it except for the most exceptional cases with the most obvious of evidences. We do not want to consume the court’s time with allegations that so-and-so spent too long looking at someone, or they speak to each other too intimately, or they seem to have had a few moments alone in a secluded space. I do not expect that many people will be killed for the crime of adultery, just like we hardly solve all the murders nor do we punish the murderers very often. It is only for when the crime is so horrible that either the spouse cannot tolerate it or society feels it is being insulted that we would even consider it.

A few years ago, I wondered to myself if we would ever reach a point where even talking about having strongly enforced marriage laws would be a possibility. It seems we are at that point. The whole homosexual marriage issue has compelled conservatives to question marriage as an institution, to understand what it is really about. It has caused men to question what it means to be a man, and women to question what it means to be a woman. Rather than moved us away from our past, our traditions, our heritage, and our religion, it has brought us closer.

I don’t see it as a crazy probability that in the future men and women alike will demand real marriage. I don’t see it as strange that we would punish sexual behavior outside of marriage. I don’t see it as far-fetched that we wold return to our traditional values anymore. We were told that we did these things in the past because we were ill-informed and naive, or just bigoted and full of hate. But as we examine the truth, we find our ancestors knew more than they told us, or rather, knew more than we were willing to believe.

10 Responses to “Real Marriage”

  1. Jeffrey Liakos Says:

    The Dictionary’s definition of marriage is the only valid one. This legal definition claptrap is absurd. What business is it of society if 2 people, regardless of sexual orientation, want to call themselves married? “Real marriage” is a subjective term.

    • Jonathan Gardner Says:

      Dictionary authors can’t change the law.

      Only legislatures can change the law.

      What business is it? It’s a whole lot of business, because marriage is a government institution designed to protect the rights of children with minimal invasion. If we care about children, then we care about marriage. If you don’t care about children, then I can see why you wouldn’t care about marriage either. As for me, I am familiar with the heartache and pain children experience when they don’t know who their natural parents are or when their parents separate, as well as the joy and comfort of knowing that your parents love you and love each other despite the challenges of life. I am also familiar with the research that says that married couples are wealthier and their children are happier and more successful.

      So if you care about any of those things, you care about marriage.

  2. Jeffrey Liakos Says:

    Jonathan Gardner, you obviously give what you write much thought. However, biology is a subject that you do not seem to understand.

  3. Jeffrey Liakos Says:

    All this talk of “real marriage” is subjective. Any couple who calls themselves married, regardless of sexual orientation, is not harming another couple’s marriage.

    • Jonathan Gardner Says:

      If only that were true!

      My kids are growing up in a society where they are taught lies about what marriage is and what it is for. They are fed this crap that it’s about how you feel about the other person, and when you really, really like being around someone, you should just get married.

      Marriage is much, much more than that. I’m sick of having people’s perverted and wrong ideas about marriage forced on me and my children. What you do absolutely affects me, or why would I care if you commit murder or sell addictive drugs or rob someone else? We are all connected in a society, and no man is an island.

  4. Jeffrey Liakos Says:

    Jonathan Gardner, what goes on within the confines of people’s homes is none of society’s business. Not your business, not my business, not anybody’s business who is not involved. If you have people who marry and decide to wait until they are at a time when they can really spend time with their children without the stress associated with work, would that be problematic in your opinion? What if you have a couple who lives in a society that commands polygamous marriage and the couple is disinclined toward that lifestyle? Why should a wife be forced by societal decree to have more than one husband or a husband have more than one wife if that is unappealing to them? Unless I am wrong with this statistic, I thing only 1/5th of the world’s population is gay. You don’t care about equal rights. All you want is to enforce your views upon other people against their will. Yes, I have morals, however, I don’t throw my values and views in people’s faces whose beliefs are different.

    • Jonathan Gardner Says:

      So if I murder someone in the privacy of my home…

      What if I conduct business inside my home — no taxes or regulations?

      Can I keep slaves, as long as he never leaves the house?

      Morality dictates that society takes positive action against certain types of behavior.

  5. Jason Gardner Says:

    That’s a weird argument to make. If I’m making a nuclear weapon to blow up New York or running a sex slavery ring… Are you saying that is none of the government’s business?

    What if I’m running a counterfeiting ring? Or spreading a communicable disease? Government should just stay out, huh?

    Is Jeffery saying we can have a society where everybody just does whatever they want? Everybody just do whatever and it’ll all workout? Nobody has any duty to the society? Society is just a free for all where everybody can make up the rules and nobody has any responsibility?

    I challenge him to name one functional organization (country, company, etc) where the members of the organization do not have a duty to behave in a certain way. Everybody must, to a certain extent, sacrifice their wishes and individuality to the larger organization for the good of the organization. Everybody must do things that are unpleasant for the larger system to work.

    Duh. Do you really think that a society of any kind will function when everybody just does whatever comes to mind?

    A society that allows everybody to do whatever is not a society, it is chaos. Mad Max comes to mind.

    This is something conservatives and libertarians don’t get either. Yes the free market works in certain cases, when backed up by people that are duty bound to the larger good. When you get sociopath like the Sackler brothers, who obviously feel no duty to the larger good, then things go sideways.

    We all have duties to the larger society. There is no escaping that. We must humble our goals and desires to the goals of the greater good. Sometimes those duties include dying (our uncle in Vietnam) and sometimes our duty is simply to not push degeneracy on other citizens.

    Seems like Jeffery is getting off easy. Nobody is asking him to die for his country, or become an amputee or face hostile fire. We are just asking him simply to not push degenerate behavior and degrade necessary institutions.

    Show some appreciation man.

    • Jonathan Gardner Says:

      Many conservatives (crypto-libertarians, really) don’t get it. They believe that freedom, for its own sake, is a good, and that anything that infringes on freedom, therefore, is bad. Freedom, like money, and like everything else, is a means to an end, and the only end in sight, no matter what your philosophy, is rearing children.

      Then there are those of us who are preaching the gospel of Christ, inviting people to fill the chapels, and commit 100% to their family above all else. There’s not a lot of us, and we don’t get airtime on mainstream TV, but it’s curious, I think, that people like Pewdiepie are getting married, having kids, and focusing on their family. Perhaps there is hope that we’re raising a generation of kids and parents who understand why morality is so important.

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