This post began as a comment to a post on Ann Althouse’s blog which really got me thinking (via Instapundit). At first I had hesitated turning it in a post because I’m not entirely sure what to make of Andrew Sullivan’s remarks upon which Ann offers some thoughts. And while I may not have come to a definite conclusion of what Andrew means by his thoughts on monogamy and hypocrisy, they — and Ann’s thoughts — did get me thinking.
Given that I had wanted to blog regularly on gay marriage this week — but other obligations have prevented me from devoting the time that I would like to this topic — I thought I would revise my comment to Ann’s post and include it here as a post of my own. In it, I offer some thoughts on monogamy, a topic which, I believe, is essential to any serious debate on marriage, gay or otherwise.
Reading Andrew’s remarks, I was reminded of comments my rabbi once made in discussing a passage in Genesis on the relationship between Abraham and Sarah. He said that the passage indicated that it’s sometimes okay to lie in order to preserve a marriage. (I wish I could remember the passage.)
So, as I understood it, if one spouse “slips up,” by having an affair, then ending it because he (or she) realizes it could compromise the marriage, he would do well not to mention it to his (or her) significant other.
In commenting to Ann’s post, Michael Farris seems to nail it when he distinguishes between “an unplanned and regretted momentary lapse in judgement” and “conscious, calculated multiple counts of infidelity with intent to deceive.” Emphasis added.
I’m not yet sure what to make of Andrew’s remarks. At first blush, they suggest (to me at least) that Andrew is not serious about marriage because real marriage includes monogamy at its core. If one enters into a marriage, one does so expecting to remain faithful to his beloved. If a lapse occurs later, it doesn’t suggest that the “lapser” was hypocritical at the time of his betrothal, but merely proved imperfect in the execution of his intent.
That said, those of use who believe in marriage should insist that marriage means monogamy. When we enter into such relationships must strive, do everything in our power to live up to the monogamous ideal, but also recognize that we’re human and capable of failure.
I believe that those not striving for monogamy are not serious about marriage. At first reading, Andrew’s remarks suggest he’s not striving for monogamy. But, note I said “suggest.” Perhaps his ideas are not so different from my own. And closer reading and further reflection might lead me to amend my initial evaluation.
I realize this post has a flavor more like a comment than my normal essayistic posts, but put it out there in the hope that it will do what Ann’s post has done — invite a discussion of marriage and monogamy, a conversation particularly important in the week leading up to the Senate debate on the Federal Marriage Amendment (or Marriage Protection Amendment or whatever they’re calling it this week).
-Dan (AKA GayPatriotWest): GayPatriotWest@aol.com