The Thruple

The online version of the Guardian ran an editorial recently posing the question “Why shouldn’t three people get married?” The article by Jean Hannah Edelstein was written in response to a recent story in Brazil of three people being married. The marriage, while illegal according to Brazilian law, has garnered much publicity on the topic, enough that the people are being referred to as a “thruple.” The author of the Guardian’s posting uses this development as an opportunity to examine the current nature and relevance of marriage and makes three very telling points.  Read the entire article here http://www.guardian.co.uk/commentisfree/2012/aug/30/three-people-get-married-thruple.

First, the author argues that many traditional marriages today are doomed for infidelity and divorce, “Speaking of absurd, shall we take a moment to consider traditional marriage? We do adore it: in the UK, just under half the population has chosen to pledge to love another person as long as they both shall live, or as long as they don’t get divorced. And yet as we shoehorn ourselves into two-by-two formation, we’re not that good at keeping our promises: as Helen Croydon has pointed out, breaking the boundaries of monogamy is far from unusual. Plenty of marriages have three people in them. They’re just not legal ones.” Here, the author argues the obvious weakness of marital commitment in law and culture today.

Second, “for much as we have a sweet collective imagining of what a happy union entails, the reality is that they all deviate from the fantasy norm, pretty much from the time that the certificate is signed, the chicken is noshed and the bouquet is chucked.”  Here, she argues that no marriage is a fairy tale. 

And third she argues “relaxing the expectation that one partner should fulfill all of one’s needs – good sex, complementary taste in television and shared preference for dogs over cats may just be too much to ask for – might mean that people who opt for a portfolio of other halves (or thirds) could outdo the rest of us in happiness.”  Here, the argument for individualism and self-interest prevail over marital commitment. 

Dr. Larry Crabb in his book The Marriage Builder: A Blueprint for Couples has outlined three goals of a healthy marriage that directly speak to the concerns raised in this article: Spirit Oneness, Soul Oneness, and Body Oneness. Each is a unique and significant level of marital strength and depth. 

Spirit Oneness addresses our need for relational intimacy, but rather than looking at it as personal fulfillment, seeing this oneness as oneness with Christ. This directly relates to the author’s second and third points about the inevitable shortcomings and fallacies of a marriage partner. But instead of focusing on how your partner can fulfill your needs, Dr. Crabb points to the perspective that only Christ can fulfill all our needs and desires. Finding our significance and security in Christ is the only way to fulfillment. 

Then Soul Oneness, which means “commit[ing] yourself to ministering to your spouse’s needs, knowing that however he may respond can never rob you of your worth as a person.” Soul Oneness means seeing marriage as an opportunity to minister to your partner. It requires a dying to self and my desires and instead looks to your partner’s needs. This type of putting the self-second to another’s desires is contrary to cultural norms. 

The last principle is Body Oneness. Sex is a gift from God meant to exist between a married couple and be a showcase of their oneness. But along with the oneness principle, sex within a marriage is not about an individual but instead is about union of the two people. It is when we put expectations on sex and look at how it can fulfill our individual needs and desires that we can stray outside the marriage.  

The principles of Spirit Oneness, Soul Oneness, and Body Oneness are key to the maintaining of strong marriages because these principles are based in the couple and not the individual. Family restoration begins when we protect the institute of marriage from being weakened by individualism, self-centeredness, and frivolity.

1 comment:

  1. TLC airs a reality television show called Sisterwives, which follows a Mormon fundamentalist family currently living in Las Vegas. The family features one husband, three wives, and a multitude (eighteen I think) of children. Even though the family claims to be happy, it is distraught with dysfunction. First, all three wives live in separate houses. Kody, the husband, rotates which house he stays in every night. Thus, the children are mainly raised by their mothers and only have their father in their home one night every week. A second dysfunction is the competition between wives. When Kody buys one wife an expensive present or takes or on a trip, jealously seeps from the other three wives. Because of the multiple wives, the family dynamic is drastically changed and the oneness found in Scripture is no longer achieved. Instead, the wives become envious of each other and children lose substantial time with their father.