Monday, 9 October 2017

Monogamy - is it possible to love someone forever?

Lovelocks on bridge at Bakewell, Derbyshire
       When it comes to relationships, there’s one line of thinking that has arguably caused more damage to the human condition than any other....that     monogamy is not only unnatural but, for the most part, impossible.
      And this belief is by no means new. Leo Tolstoy, for example, opined: “To say that you can love one person all your life is just like saying that one candle will continue to burn as long as you live.”
       Or what about this little gem from 19th century Irish poet, Thomas Moore:
       ”Romantic love is an illusion. Most of us discover this truth at the end of a love affair or else when the sweet emotions of love lead us into marriage and then turn down their flames.”
       Even women have expressed similar sentiments: According to Goldie Hawn: “Monogamy is impossible these days for both sexes. I don’t know anyone who’s faithful or wants to be.” 
       The late film actress Katherine Hepburn advised: “If you want to sacrifice the admiration of many men for the criticism of one, go ahead, get married.
      And this quote from Bette Davis takes the biscuit! An affair now and then is good for a marriage. It adds spice, stops it from getting boring… I ought to know.”
       So that’s all right then. Sorry no, it isn’t, and I challenge the assumption that men were programmed to spread their seed while women are merely seeking sound physical specimens with which to procreate. These propositions may be all very well for evolutionists but not for people who feel love and sex should be viewed as something higher. And if you accept the Bible’s account, then you’ll no doubt believe, as I do, that true romance can and should last forever.
       Whether they believe in it or not, most of us are acquainted with Genesis and the first marriage between Adam and Eve, two perfect humans who were joined together by their Creator. What you may not have realised is that their partnership was meant to last a great deal longer than your average Golden Wedding Anniversary. How do we know?
       Well, in Genesis 2:17, God warned the couple not to eat from the tree of knowledge of good and bad - for in doing so they did so, they would die. The rest is history. Adam and Eve ate the forbidden fruit, became imperfect and, sure enough, began to grow old and turn to dust.       But, let’s just  suppose they hadn’t disobeyed their Creator. Would they have died? Would they have aged? Would they still be happily married?
       The Bible, of course, encourages the highest form of love, love for God who insists on exclusive devotion. (Exodus 20:1-5). Scripture rarely touches on romantic love but, when it does, it stresses the need for loyalty, exclusivity and, yes, everlasting love. Check out Proverbs 5:18,19 which describes the ‘constant’ love of a man for his wife. And for pure romance, consider these beautiful verses from the Song of Solomon (Canticles) Chapter 8 verses 6 &7:

“Set me as a seal upon your heart,
   as a seal upon your arm;
for love is strong as death,
   passion fierce as the grave.
Its flashes are flashes of fire,
   a raging flame. 
Many waters cannot quench love,
   neither can floods drown it.
If one offered for love
   all the wealth of one’s house,
   it would be utterly scorned.”  (New Revised Standard Version)

       Why settle for anything less?

Monogamy in animals

       Incidentally, many animals enjoy lifelong relationships with their mates.  Wolves, beavers, eagles and even termites are thought to be monogamous while swans are renowned for their fidelity. But for sheer fidelity, one creature tops them all: The stork.
In Hebrew, this bird’s name is ‘chasi-dhah’, which means ‘loyal one; one of loving kindness’, signifying its enduring faithfulness to its mate and exceptionally long-lasting, tender care for its young. You’ll see it on many greeting cards for new parents, usually carrying a baby in its enormous beak.

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