The Daily Mail recently reported the celebration of a three-person same-sex marriage in Thailand, illustrating another facet of the growing breakdown of traditional marriage. (See here, here, here, and here). Although Thailand does not legally recognize their marriage, the three men married "under Buddhist law in the symbolic ceremony." Family Law Professor Lynn Wardle has set forth the global legal landscape on marriage and its expansion at CNSNews.com (http://www.cnsnews.com/commentary/lynn-wardle/marital-throuples-next-leap-radical-redefinition-marriage).
When marriage is detached from its Creator, however, marital and family breakdown result. (See here). In his book The Marriage Builder: A Blueprint for Couples Dr. Larry Crabb has outlined three goals of a healthy marriage: Spirit Oneness, Soul Oneness, and Body Oneness. Each is a unique and significant level of marital strength and depth. This depth is designed naturally and logically to be between two individuals in marital intimacy. When more than two attempt that intimacy, the contrary emotion of jealousy enters and the depth is naturally corrupted.
The notion of companionate marriage (between individuals who consent to be together in some manner, as opposed to conjugal marriage between one man and one woman) can be, and is being, expanded to include polyamory, not only in this Thai triple-male marriage, but also in a Brazilian thruple (see http://regentfamilyrestoration.blogspot.com/search?q=Thruple), and in Simi valley, California with a mix of five individuals in varying forms (see the Money.com story at http://money.cnn.com/2015/01/25/technology/polyamorysiliconvalley/index.html.).
The Oneness levels that Dr. Crabb describes are lost and debased in intimacy with several others because the focus is placed on the individual self. For example, Spirit Oneness addresses a human need for relational intimacy, but rather than looking at it as personal fulfillment, seeing this oneness as oneness with the partner in Christ. 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. Secondly, Soul Oneness, which means "commit[ing] yourself to ministering to your spouse's needs, knowing that however he or she may respond can never rob you of your worth as a person." Soul Oneness means seeing marriage as an opportunity to give your entire self to your partner. It requires a dying to self and selfish desires and instead looks to the partner's needs. This type of putting the self-second to another's desires is contrary to cultural norms, and contrary to multiple partner intimacy. Dr. Crabb's last principle is Body Oneness – a complete physical intimacy that is only possible with one person of the opposite gender, when the two literally become one flesh. Sex is a gift from God meant to exist between a married couple as a showcase of their oneness. But along with the oneness principle, sex within a marriage is not about the fulfillment of an individual's desires but instead is about union of the two people. It is when any individual puts expectations on sex and uses it to fulfill his or her own individual needs and desires that our values look outside of marriage. The principles of Spirit Oneness, Soul Oneness, and Body Oneness are not possible to achieve in a multiple-party relationship. Rather, these principles are key to maintaining a strong marriage, as they are based in the Creator's design and the couple's choice to give unselfishly, rather than to benefit individually.
Family restoration begins when we protect the institution of marriage from being weakened by individualism, self-interest, and inappositeness.
- Guest post by Amy Snow Hilton, Regent Law 3L